Kenneth R Wright
On Mon, 5 Aug 1996, Mick Doherty wrote:
> ... every other damn thing we talk about on this list all came to a head
> for me today. I have had a fascinating thing happen in my Writing to the
> WWW class, and I would appreciate feedback on it.
> Last week I gave a "quiz" -- "open-web," as it were -- in which students
> were essentially responsible for showing that they knew how to code. The
> "content" of the quiz was all available one or two links from our class
> syllaweb -- and if they'd done the reading (and this class has kept up)
> they knew that. Providing definitions for terms meant going to find them
> elsewhere, and building an unnumbered list, or a table, or whatever ...
> get the idea?
> And, because I am vehemently anti-grading, I give them a re-write
> do the quiz over after you get the initial score. This is where the problem
> came in. One of my more affable students, who had done okay on the initial
> quiz, just sort of hung out and watched his classmates re-write theirs for
> a week; then right before the "final deadline" (ugh) for the re-write he
> threw up a page where he linked to various answers his *classmates* had
> come up with -- essentially picking the bext answer to each of the ten
> coding-response tasks.
> Given that we've spent a great deal of time wokring through ownership issues
> (we read Lunford, Rickly, Salvo and West -- etc.) I have to admit I was
> somewhat nonplussed at first, and ended up thinking he was quite clever.
> I know he knows how to do the coding tasks; he knows I know it; he put up
> a site that challenged everything we think about academia.
> Some of his classmates, one in particular, are not happy, though others
> simply said "Oh! Wish I'd thought of that!" or were eager to find out if
> *they8d* written anything good enough to be linked to. ;-) I will include
> one negative response and ask you all -- how, if at all, should I respond?
> Class ends in three days -- and the "final exam" (structured similarly to
> this quiz) is on Thursday ...
> I think what [name] did was deplorable. This was a quiz not a regular web
> assignment. No I do not think it was approriate for him to do what he did. I
> think he sould get a zero for the quiz and be set to the J-board. Some might
> consider this a creative attempt at doing the quiz, but I say it is worong.
> If I understand this correctly he didn ot even ask the permission of the
> people he was copying from. I don't care if the links into the page, after
> the quizes have been graded especially, but it is wrong in this situattion
> for the simple fact that [name] was taking the quiz along with us. This fact
> changes everything. I and a lot of people spent a lot of time on the quiz.
> What [name] and any one else for that matter did, was tantamount to sitting
> together in a traditional classroom and discussing a traditional test among
> themselves and then handing individual papers is and saying the worked on it
> THIS IS CHEATING
> I worked dammed hard for the grade that I got and I would like to see [name]
> punished for what he did instead of being made a celerbity.
> Yes it boils down to grades. If we were not being graded I mostl likely would
> not care, or at least not be this harsh. But grades are important. We as a
> societ put a high stock in them. To get into a graduate school depends on
> grades. To get a good job after graduation depends on grades, yes Experience
> is a big factor as well as the school that you go to, but the bottom line is
> grades. I have heard plenty recruters for companys say that given a chonce
> between a MIT C and an RPI A they would most likely take the MIT C. I think
> grades suck and should not be used to evealuate a student, but the rest of
> society does not think so. If they did there woudl not be a big infasis
> placed on the Class Validictoraian or the Salutatorian .....
> We go to RPI becasue we want to get a good job. We are competing with a world
> economy now. The future is going to be tougher than it ever was with
> lagitimate competition. In such a sitauation cheating should not be
> sanctioned as it is being in this situation. [name] shoudl pay for cheating,
> like so many BETTER students have had to in the past for doing a lot less.
> [student name]
> And yes that last line was ment as an insult because I am pissed off like no
> one woudl imagine.