Field of Science

Crap! Student finds a way to ruin my day.

Grading exams has always been TPP's least favorite academic activity, unless you can use it as an excuse to get out of a faculty meeting, and then you had to grade them anyways, but at least that way you're using your time well.  The thing that TPP dreads most is cheating; it's so disappointing, it's such a hassle, it's so foolish, and if not for a feeling of obligation to protect the efforts of honest students, TPP might avoid dealing with cheaters altogether.  Perhaps the most annoying aspect of this is that the cheater is basically treating TPP as a dummy.  With most students you can spot a change in their writing style in nanoseconds, after all it basically goes from basic undergrad semi-illiterate to well written suddenly.  And so it was.  It took 5 words, a short phrase, and it was immediately obvious that the student did not author those words, and since this was an in-class exam, perhaps they were memorable and thus memorized, but the entire series of terminological definitions all read just like a dictionary.  So you Google the term, and sure enough, the 1st or 2nd item to pop up had the verbatim definition in each and every case.  And nobody is that good at memorization; a word here or there "or in some manner" changes.  The lack of errors, the lack of changes, is almost irrefutable proof that they were copied directly (a simple test can confirm or refute the "I memorized it hypothesis").  TPP is famous for testing the identical twin "we look alike, we dress alike, we think alike, we study together, so naturally our work is alike" hypothesis (they failed completely to create any alikeness under controlled conditions).  Smartphone technology and wifi reception throughout our buildings makes such cheating totally possible.  This isn't a big class and the students are upper class and graduate students, and at a certain on point you think you shouldn't have to wander around and peak over their shoulders as if it was junior high.  So much for that assumption, but in decades of teaching this course, this is the first time cheating has been detected, and probably it's partly because TPP doesn't necessarily see or use this technology the way his students do. Now comes the forms, the meetings, the hassle of seeing this thing through all the channels. This is necessary because if this student is a serial cheater, this is the only way the institution can know and deal with them appropriately.  And to show that there are no hard feelings TPP will help them pack their bags.   

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The same copy/paste plague is spreading on the other side of the pond... A cold confort, I know.