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Author Topic: facebook watch
Catchfire
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posted 07 March 2008 02:07 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Student faces expulsion for facebook group
quote:
Study groups may be a virtual trademark of the Ivory Tower – but a virtual study group has been slammed as cheating by Ryerson University.

First-year student Chris Avenir is fighting charges of academic misconduct for helping run an online chemistry study group via Facebook last term, where 146 classmates swapped tips on homework questions that counted for 10 per cent of their mark.

The computer engineering student has been charged with one count of academic misconduct for helping run the group – called Dungeons/Mastering Chemistry Solutions after the popular Ryerson basement study room engineering students dub The Dungeon – and another 146 counts, one for each classmate who used the site.

Avenir, 18, faces an expulsion hearing Tuesday before the engineering faculty appeals committee. If he loses that appeal, he can take his case to the university's senate.



From the Ryerson Student newspaper, The Eyeopener:

quote:
“What we did wasn’t any different than tutoring, than tri-mentoring, than having a library study group,” Avenir said. “I’m being charged with something I didn’t commit.”

This is the first strike in a new offensive by Ryerson to crack down on student conduct on the Internet and off campus. This week, the school brought a policy to Senate that would extend its Non-Academic Student Code of Conduct to incidents that happen online.

“The student code of conduct needed updating, recognizing that there are things like Facebook, YouTube, stuff like that out there,” said President Sheldon Levy. The change to the policy was partly prompted by Ryerson students who set up “white culture” groups on Facebook last year. The proposed changes would also give the school the power to punish students for infractions that happen off campus, if they’re using the Ryerson name at the time.

The policy and Avenir’s pending expulsion have ignited student opposition to the university’s bid for more authority over student behaviour.

“The university is interfering in students’ personal lives,” said Salman Omer, a third-year aerospace engineering student and Senate member. “This is an infringement of our rights.”


[ 07 March 2008: Message edited by: Catchfire ]


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
M.Gregus
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posted 10 March 2008 05:20 AM      Profile for M.Gregus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, I'm not the biggest fan of Facebook, but I have trouble understanding how Ryerson's authority extends to student activity off campus (albeit in a virtual space, but I don't see how that matters, either). Not only that, but I don't see how what the student did in this case was in any way wrong, or amounted to academic misconduct. Does this mean that study groups will now be policed? Or at that university policy will cover informal student gatherings?

I know of at least one TA at Carleton who has been experimenting with using Facebook as an extension of his tutorials this year by forming virtual groups that correspond to his assigned TA groups. They haven't taken off with the students but their existence follows the Ryerson example, in principle. Will Carleton along with other academic institutions feel compelled to develop a Facebook policy? I'll be watching for the results of the hearing tomorrow for Chris Avenir, the student in this ridiculous case. Isn't his last name the French word for "future"? Interesting.


From: capital region | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 10 March 2008 06:00 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by M.Gregus:
Well, I'm not the biggest fan of Facebook, but I have trouble understanding how Ryerson's authority extends to student activity off campus (albeit in a virtual space, but I don't see how that matters, either).

The Facebook aspect is a red herring. If you come over to my place, and I hand you my chemistry homework to copy from for 10% of the final mark, that's cheating. At least it was in my day.

quote:
Not only that, but I don't see how what the student did in this case was in any way wrong, or amounted to academic misconduct. Does this mean that study groups will now be policed? Or at that university policy will cover informal student gatherings?

I think you're missing the point. Students can study together, party together, Facebook together, whatever - but they can't share answers which are worth marks and credits.

quote:
I know of at least one TA at Carleton who has been experimenting with using Facebook as an extension of his tutorials this year by forming virtual groups that correspond to his assigned TA groups.

Is the TA posting answers to assignments that earn marks? That's all that really matters. Whether it's on Facebook or at a barbecue really is a red herring (yuck, BBQ red herring).

ETA: To make the Facebook analogy more clear, let's say I put up a bulletin board in my home and declare "open house" hours for math students to drop by and stick up "tips" for answers on current homework assignments. Let's say I don't actually post anything myself. I'm running a cheat board, and I should expect to be warned and disciplined for doing so.

[ 10 March 2008: Message edited by: unionist ]


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
M.Gregus
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posted 10 March 2008 06:29 AM      Profile for M.Gregus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
If you come over to my place, and I hand you my chemistry homework to copy from for 10% of the final mark, that's cheating.

Is this definitely what happened? I find the description of the circumstances vague.

quote:
Originally posted by unionist:
To make the Facebook analogy more clear, let's say I put up a bulletin board in my home and declare "open house" hours for math students to drop by and stick up "tips" for answers on current homework assignments. Let's say I don't actually post anything myself. I'm running a cheat board, and I should expect to be warned and disciplined for doing so.

But I don't see this as necessarily cheating. It depends on the subject that we're talking about. For areas like engineering, chemistry, math, etc. where the answers are clear-cut, it's easier to post formulas or proofs that directly correspond to assignment questions. Is that cheating? It depends on the context and circumstances - if these tips or answers were put up ahead of time and clearly gave the correct answers then that's an argument for cheating.

In "softer" disciplines like the humanities where essay-writing and language use is the norm, it's harder to draw a direct line from posted materials and assignment questions. Does posting a related article or essay constitute cheating? It's harder to say.

This student may be a victim of the subject matter (a hard science) and the Facebook format. Science students practice working through problems and sample assignments to improve their understanding and ability. That's what it sounds like this student was doing, and in the process fell prey to someone posting official assignment questions on the group wall/board that he started. It's hard to judge because the stories about this case don't describe in detail the offending material that got him in trouble. I guess I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, especially since schools still don't know what to make of Facebook and seem so inclined to exert control over students.

ETA: Fixing quote and formatting.

[ 10 March 2008: Message edited by: M.Gregus ]


From: capital region | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
M.Gregus
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posted 10 March 2008 06:33 AM      Profile for M.Gregus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Whoops, double post!

[ 10 March 2008: Message edited by: M.Gregus ]


From: capital region | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 10 March 2008 06:45 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
First of all, this is chemistry, as part of an engineering program. Nothing soft there.

Secondly, the group billed itself as "Mastering Chemistry Solutions".

Third, yeah, if Chris wasn't paying attention to his own group, and someone snuck in some actual answers unbeknownst to him, that could be part of his defence to the charges - but I didn't see that in the articles. The whole thing was about the "technology" - which is why I used the example of physical meetings and bulletin boards not being any less an example of cheating.

The comparisons in the Ryerson article to "tutorials" and "labs" are really misleading.

If the prof had said: "Hey, get together, help each other, talk over approaches to solving these problems", then it's absolutely obvious no discipline would be in order, whether it's Facebook or a list-serve or a barbecue.

But there's an equally obvious presumption that when a prof gives you a take-home test which counts for the final mark, s/he is expecting that students will do the test on their own - and if they have problems, they'll contact the prof or use other authorized mentoring procedures.

Otherwise, why not use Blackberries during exams?

Here's what I found quite revealing from the "student union's advocacy co-ordinator", quoted in The Star:

quote:
"...it's creating this culture of fear, where if I post a question about physics homework on my friend's wall (a Facebook bulletin board) and ask if anyone has any ideas how to approach this – and my prof sees this, am I cheating?" said Neale, who has used Facebook study groups herself.

Well, duh, even if the prof doesn't see it, it's cheating. Interesting twist on Bishop Berkeley...


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 10 March 2008 06:45 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You're right, unionist, facebook isn't the point. But it's not Avenir(and the students) who are making it one. When your friends traded homework back in the day, it was cheating--but was the provost hiding in your lazy susan while they did it? Cheating at a college exam is not a criminal offence, yet the academic administration feels they can police it like one.

The fact that they are targeting Avenir and not the cheaters should signal to us that the administration is less interested in stopping plagiarism than they are in foreclosing a medium they do not understand. They are beguiled by the internet; they are alien to it. It's like water to fish for the students, and this fluency terrifies the administration. Blindsided, whitewash justice like this--thinking that a facebook "admin" has power over the group he creates--is archaic, even laughable. And we should denounce it as such.


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 10 March 2008 06:50 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Catchfire:
When your friends traded homework back in the day, it was cheating--but was the provost hiding in your lazy susan while they did it?

It's easier to catch cheaters when it's done in public (Facebook) - but I'm not clear how that changes its nature.

quote:
Cheating at a college exam is not a criminal offence, yet the academic administration feels they can police it like one.

I don't understand. Cheating has always been subject to discipline, up to expulsion. Those aren't criminal penalties.

quote:
The fact that they are targeting Avenir and not the cheaters should signal to us that the administration is less interested in stopping plagiarism than they are in foreclosing a medium they do not understand.

Seems to me they understand the medium perfectly. The internet (Facebook and any of a million other social networking media) make it painfully simple to share information, compared to the old manual methods. They figured that out and they want to stop it. One can disagree with competitive educational methodologies, or particular circumstances. But if the understanding is, "don't cooperate - do this homework strictly on your own", then failure to comply is cheating.

[ 10 March 2008: Message edited by: unionist ]


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 10 March 2008 07:41 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The fact is that spatial metaphors (bulletin boards, households) simply don't apply when speaking about the internet. The expansion of the internet mean that the lines between the public and the private are being radically redrawn. If anything, the disconnect in expectations between the administration and the students should demonstrate that old forms of social and scholarly interactions no longer apply in the same way.

The administration wants to bypass this redesignation by slamming the door shut on the internet. A hopeless endeavour. Rather than examine the implications of cybercommunities in the University, it opted for the giant stick approach: symbolic expulsion of the easiest target. As "admin" of the Louis Riel group, would you like to be held accountable for any hate speech that should appear on the "wall" in that group? (I should also point out that the government has jurisdiction over the internet--kind of--whereas the University has no such capacity.)

Ultimately, I'm not interested in what happens to those who evidently cheated on Avenir's group. My general opinion is that they should be punished. But what's at stake here is who gets jurisdiction over academic cyberspace. Who gets to redraw the lines? The administration says they do, and they have the power to back it up. That does not make it just.


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 10 March 2008 07:47 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Catchfire:
As "admin" of the Louis Riel group, would you like to be held accountable for any hate speech that should appear on the "wall" in that group?

Of course not, though I'd obviously remove it if and when I spotted it. But I already dealt with that point. If Chris Avenir's defence is, "I don't condone this, I never intended this, I never noticed this" - then he may well get a reduced or no penalty. But that's not what we're debating here, is it?

quote:
Who gets to redraw the lines? The administration says they do, and they have the power to back it up. That does not make it just.

I'm repeating myself, but they're not redrawing the lines at all.

If Chris Avenir invited classmates to a barbecue and said on the invitation, "Come share answers to the chem assignment due tomorrow" - he merits warning, discipline, etc. What exactly do you see as the difference if he does the same thing in cyberspace?


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 11 March 2008 03:49 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Bit by bit, the facts come out:

quote:
Kim Neale, who has taken up Mr. Avenir's fight, says students are afraid to use Facebook to talk about schoolwork and argues it's no different than any study group working together on homework.

She admits the professor stipulated the online homework questions were to be done independently, but points out students have traditionally done homework in groups.



From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 11 March 2008 04:16 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Is anyone arguing that the students were cheating? Do you think, ten years ago, if students were given a take-home exam that no one would have organized a group study session? There's an easy way to avoid this difficulty, incidentally: make the exam in-class. Such "facts" are spurious to the issue here.

The issue, unionist, is that the University now has admission into areas of the student life that it did not previously. Cyberspace offers surreptitious entry into the students' social space. The University feels that this admission permits them to police that space. To survey it, to coerce behaviour and to hold court over it. Why should the students accept this?

Your analogies fail because no one would have distributed BBQ invitations ten years ago, announcing that they would work together on problems they were expressly told not to. The professor, if he or she had even heard about it, would only have hearsay as evidence. Now, the internet offers tangible "proof" of something that has always gone on. Why should the University gain jurisdiction over this space at the expense of the students?


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 11 March 2008 04:41 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Catchfire:
Is anyone arguing that the students were cheating?

You mean, anyone apart from Chris Avenir, Kim Neale, half the news media in the world, and M. Gregus ("But I don't see this as necessarily cheating.") upthread?

quote:
Do you think, ten years ago, if students were given a take-home exam that no one would have organized a group study session?

Strange question. Had they done so, it would be cheating. Perhaps they were smarter and wouldn't have got caught?

quote:
There's an easy way to avoid this difficulty, incidentally: make the exam in-class.

Doesn't seem to have been much "difficulty". The prof apparently said, "do this on your own", and the offenders were caught just by looking online. Perhaps they should be charged with naiveté rather than cheating?

quote:
The issue, unionist, is that the University now has admission into areas of the student life that it did not previously. Cyberspace offers surreptitious entry into the students' social space.

How long have you been around the internet, Catchfire? Do you know that I can set up a secure password-protected by-invitation-only chat room in TWO SECONDS FLAT?? "Surreptitious entry" my derrière!

quote:
The University feels that this admission permits them to police that space. To survey it, to coerce behaviour and to hold court over it. Why should the students accept this?

Seems to me they two choices:

1. Follow the rules; or
2. Don't follow the rules and practise "safe cheating" (as per my instructions above - step-by-step guide available on request).

When all the techno-rhetoric is stripped away, you have two possible scenarios here:

1. Chris flagrantly ignored his prof's instructions and decided to show his defiance publicly and accessibly on the internet; OR

2. Chris innocently set up a public group and it got subverted to outright cheating by some.

A proper disciplinary investigation will determine the facts, the intent, etc. and whether he should be expelled (seems harsh if it's a first offence, if there was no warning, etc., even if his intent was to defy the rules), or he (and students generally) should simply be told that sharing answers in future will be subject to stern penalties - unless they go see the prof and confirm that this method of work is ok.

In the latter scenario, educational gurus may well learn something from young people finding new ways to learn cooperatively.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
bigcitygal
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posted 11 March 2008 04:51 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Catchfire, I agree with your points, but I have a different conclusion.

Some people who've grown up with email/internet (which means most people who are under 25 years old in this part of the world) don't understand the truly public aspect of the internet, and sites like Facebook. These particular students might not feel that they were actively cheating, which I don't feel they were either; they were simply doing study groups in ways that students always have, only in a more public domain. That to me is the difference.

So if they had started a Facebook group that was called "The Ryerson Cookie Monster Fan Club" but those in the know knew that it really was an engineering/chemistry study group, and if they told everyone who joined to not post anything publicly, nothing on walls, nothing that any outsider could read, slam all possible privacy modes to ON, or even make it a closed group, we wouldn't be having this conversation. This Cookie Monster group would then look much more like they knew something was not kosher about the study group (which they clearly didn't in this case) and would certainly look more like they were trying to get away with something. And, if they did it this way, they would certainly get away with it. I hope that other student groups learn from this and do exactly this, by the way.

The onus, from my perspective, is that the students need to know that anyone, including university administrators, can access their Facebook information, and to prevent any info that they don't want out there to be accessible.

And I'm not blaming the students, since this is the first time that I know of, in Canada, that any university students have been caught doing this kind of thing. The targeting of the one poor guy who was the administrator of the group is beyond ridiculous. They should all be punished, or none should. (I'm in the "none" camp, btw.) They have learned, the hard way, that there is no privacy on Facebook, unless one puts it there. What they've done is the cyberspace equivalent of putting a big sign up sheet in Jorgenson Hall with all their names and emails on it.

I'm going to close with, there are so many issues of real plagiarism/cheating in university: essay writing places, and other truly awful examples of academic misconduct. The fact that so much effort has gone into this Facebook shakedown makes me think that this was simply an easy target for the administration to go after.


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
writer
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posted 11 March 2008 04:52 AM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This is being discussed on The Current right now.

Chris didn't create the group. Someone else did. The university hasn't been able to figure out who that person is, so Chris has been singled out.

He joined the group after it was started. He was made an admin. According to what I just heard, he did not actively participate. He made no posts.


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 11 March 2008 05:36 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by writer:

He joined the group after it was started. He was made an admin. According to what I just heard, he did not actively participate. He made no posts.

That's what I mean about facts being important. If he did nothing wrong, or at worst, was a tiny bit negligent for not monitoring a group that he had agreed to administer - he should not be victimized here.

quote:
Originally posted by bigcitygal
They have learned, the hard way, that there is no privacy on Facebook, unless one puts it there. What they've done is the cyberspace equivalent of putting a big sign up sheet in Jorgenson Hall with all their names and emails on it.

Exactly!

Conclusion: It is the students that don't fully understand the new internet technology, including the risks that come from inadvertent public exposure.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
bigcitygal
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posted 11 March 2008 05:41 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
unionist: That's what I mean about facts being important.

Facts? What, now you want facts? Jeez, such a stickler. Can't we all just say our fabulous opinions and argue forever?

From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 11 March 2008 05:42 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by bigcitygal:
Can't we all just say our fabulous opinions and argue forever?

I'll second that!!!


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
bigcitygal
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posted 11 March 2008 06:32 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:

I'll second that!!!


No you won't. You're wrong. Shut up.


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 11 March 2008 06:37 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yeah, you're right, I was wrong, I agree with you.

[giving head a shake] What the hell am I saying??


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
bigcitygal
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posted 11 March 2008 06:42 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
If I don't know what I'm saying, there's no way I know what you're saying.

Have we drifted this thread enough?


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 11 March 2008 06:45 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Ok, back to the topic. I think things are slowly becoming clearer.

Let me pose a different sort of question.

If the prof assigns work and specifically states that students must work on it individually (or approach her for assistance if need be), is it proper for students to discuss it on Facebook, or in the study hall, or the cafeteria?


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Summer
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posted 11 March 2008 07:00 AM      Profile for Summer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Joining the discussion a little late…here’s what I take as the key part from the article posted in the OP:

quote:

While Neale admits the professor stipulated the online homework questions were to be done independently, she said it has long been a tradition for students to brainstorm homework in groups, particularly in heavy programs such as law, engineering and medicine.
Each student in the course received slightly different questions to prevent cheating, she said, and she did not see evidence of students doing complete solutions for each other. Instead, she said, they would brainstorm about techniques.
"They'd say to each other stuff like ... `Remember what to do when you have positive cations (a type of positively charged ion)' and that sort of thing," she said.
But Neale admitted the invitation to the Facebook group may have been what landed them in trouble. It read: "If you request to join, please use the forms to discuss/post solutions to the chemistry assignments. Please input your solutions if they are not already posted."
Still, said Neale, "no one did post a full final solution. It was more the back and forth that you get in any study group."


Seems to me that the Group was more about process than the actual answer. I’ve been in similar study groups, including one on a listserv back before the facebook days. IMO, there’s nothing wrong with students working together on trying to figure out a homework problem. It’s not the same at collaborating on an exam.

With respect to this particular student, I would hope that the university requires evidence of actual posting and/or copying of solutions by him before they expel him. I don’t think being a participant or an “admin” of a facebook group where others might be cheating is grounds for an expulsion. In effect, it seems that he would be charged with the facilitating of cheating, when he didn’t benefit it any way.


From: Ottawa | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 11 March 2008 07:51 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Summer:
In effect, it seems that he would be charged with the facilitating of cheating, when he didn’t benefit it any way.

1. If I give you my answers to copy from, can I be charged with cheating (even though I didn't "benefit in any way")?

2. If I circulate a paper copy of the assignment to classmates with a sticky on it saying:

"Please provide your answer and pass it on."

... should I be subject to discipline, even if I don't fill in or use any of the answers?

3. If the prof says, "don't discuss this assignment with anyone but me - do it on your own", and I work together with other students "on trying to figure out a homework problem", should I be subject to discipline?

4. Explain to me again the difference between a homework assignment that counts 10% toward the final grade, and an exam?


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
kropotkin1951
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posted 11 March 2008 08:10 AM      Profile for kropotkin1951   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
What I don't get is why when every academic faculty knows that cheating is rampant this kind of assignment is still used. Its almost entrapment in my opinion. If you don't want people to cheat don't give them take home assignments that are worth points. Facebook or just your best buddy and you doing your work together might be cheating but its a whole lot like a posted speed on a highway.
From: North of Manifest Destiny | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 11 March 2008 08:16 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by kropotkin1951:
Facebook or just your best buddy and you doing your work together might be cheating but its a whole lot like a posted speed on a highway.

Good analogy. The only speeders who are punished are the ones that get caught. It's so unfair.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 11 March 2008 08:22 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
What they've done is the cyberspace equivalent of putting a big sign up sheet in Jorgenson Hall with all their names and emails on it.

No. This is what the University says they have done. This statement assumes two things: 1. That facebook is within the University's political boundaries (i.e. like Jorgenson Hall) and 2. That the University has a right to look there.

While it is easy (and inviting!) to call the students "naive," etc., I suggest looking at the problem differently. Young people are usually better equipped to understand cybercommunities--the internet is natively understood by them as a social tool, like a telephone or a locker room. They clearly had different expectations as to what role the group played in their social sphere. I argue that we should respect their view at least as much as we respect the administration's view, even though the administration's view is based on older, archaic techno-cultural assumptions.

Consider too that facebook belonged to students long before it belonged to everyone else. Users were groomed to think of it as their space, and were given no reason not to. But more than this, they consider it private. Public and private are not objective spheres, they are illusory. But we are to take the University's opinion that they have a right to this space. They have entered it without the students' consent--hence "surreptitious."

Here's an analogy: on September 15, 1861, five days after its inaugural trip, the Younge Street streetcar killed a 70-some-odd year old woman. The driver saw the woman crossing the street, yelled at her to move, but the 10 km/hr or so streetcar couldn't stop in time, struck and killed the woman. She was standing in the middle of the street, staring at the car. At issue is the two contrasting ways the woman and the tram driver had at reading the city, reading technology. The woman expected that she could cross the street in plenty of time, based on her 70 years of experience in it. The tramcar had different ideas.

Mostly I just love that story, but it is instructive in that the old woman (bless her) didn't feel that new technology impacted her landscape. The University administration are similarly misinformed. The only difference is that the old woman now enjoys the power to tear up the tramway tracks.


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
unionist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11323

posted 11 March 2008 08:26 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Catchfire, I didn't understand a single thing you said there.

Any Facebook user knows you can protect all your information from prying eyes - you just go into "settings" and check a few boxes.

And forget about Facebook, will you? I was setting up private password-protected chats on IRC in 1996 and on pre-internet electronic bulletin boards in the late 1980s. Rocket science, this ain't.

Even if these students pass their chemistry, I'd flunk them on Life Skills 2008.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 11 March 2008 08:54 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You'd flunk all of them? All 176 of them? What buoyant confidence you must have that you understand fb (a space created for them, not for you) so much better...
From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
unionist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11323

posted 11 March 2008 08:59 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Catchfire:
You'd flunk all of them? All 176 of them? What buoyant confidence you must have that you understand fb (a space created for them, not for you) so much better...

There were only 146 of them. Yes, I think they need to understand the meaning of:

1. Following instructions (they didn't); and

2. Practising safe chemistry (they didn't).

And Facebook may once have been "a space created for them", but it was freed up for maximum commercial use and profit in September 2006, and its "worth" is now valued anywhere between $8 billion and $15 billion (Google is your friend).


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Summer
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posted 11 March 2008 09:24 AM      Profile for Summer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
1. If I give you my answers to copy from, can I be charged with cheating (even though I didn't "benefit in any way")?

Yes, but that’s not the situation here. In your example, you would intend me for to benefit and to cheat and you would likely benefit in the future through me giving you my answers. In this facebook situation, it appears that the student only intended that students discuss process, not copy answers.

2. If I circulate a paper copy of the assignment to classmates with a sticky on it saying:
"Please provide your answer and pass it on."
... should I be subject to discipline, even if I don't fill in or use any of the answers?

Ditto

3. If the prof says, "don't discuss this assignment with anyone but me - do it on your own", and I work together with other students "on trying to figure out a homework problem", should I be subject to discipline?

If a prof doesn’t want students to discuss an assignment, he or she should give it as an in-class assignment or pop quiz. Students collaborate on work. This is a reality of university/college and is one of the nice things about university. You can give me “rules are rules”, but it doesn’t change what is happening every day at schools across the country.

4. Explain to me again the difference between a homework assignment that counts 10% toward the final grade, and an exam?

The point of homework in the science and engineering disciplines is to have students learn the work by doing. I think a big part of learning is to discuss with your peers (see my response to your point 3, above). I’m skeptical actually as to whether this one homework is worth 10%, usually the total homework grade is 10% but this is made up of 5 – 10 assignments over the course of the semester.

The point of an exam is to test students on what they know. A student who copies every answer on a homework assignment will likely get 8 to 10 out of 10 percent for their homewark mark, but will be screwed on the exam/midterm because they didn’t learn how to do the work. Exams often have similar questions to the homeworks but with different numbers, for example.


From: Ottawa | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged
unionist
rabble-rouser
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posted 11 March 2008 09:37 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Summer:
In this facebook situation, it appears that the student only intended that students discuss process, not copy answers.

But didn't you just quote what the Facebook group said:

quote:
... please use the forms to discuss/post solutions to the chemistry assignments. Please input your solutions if they are not already posted.[/qb]

Seems pretty clear to me, no?

quote:
2. If I circulate a paper copy of the assignment to classmates with a sticky on it saying:
"Please provide your answer and pass it on."
... should I be subject to discipline, even if I don't fill in or use any of the answers?

Ditto


So I guess we're agreed, because that's exactly what the Facebook group did, in non-paper form.

quote:
If a prof doesn’t want students to discuss an assignment, he or she should give it as an in-class assignment or pop quiz.

If they use their blackberries to "discuss process" during an in-class assignment, is that cheating? Do profs just have to recognize "reality" and say nothing when the rules they lay down are violated?

quote:
The point of homework in the science and engineering disciplines is to have students learn the work by doing.

Agreed - that's why it is particularly counterproductive when someone sets up an online group saying, "please input your solutions"! That encourages students to learn the work by doing... nothing.

quote:
I think a big part of learning is to discuss with your peers (see my response to your point 3, above).

What do you think pissed off the university here - that students were having good collaborative interaction about how to approach problem-solving... or that they were posting answers to questions?


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Summer
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posted 11 March 2008 09:45 AM      Profile for Summer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
What do you think pissed off the university here - that students were having good collaborative interaction about how to approach problem-solving... or that they were posting answers to questions?

But that’s my point. According to the media, this guy is the only one at risk of expulsion and he did not create the group, or post or rely on solutions (according to the reports I’ve read). This is what I said in my first post on this thread:

quote:
With respect to this particular student, I would hope that the university requires evidence of actual posting and/or copying of solutions by him before they expel him. I don’t think being a participant or an “admin” of a facebook group where others might be cheating is grounds for an expulsion.

This student was made an admin by the group's creator presumably. I’ve created a group and I can make anyone an admin that I want. IIRC, you don’t have to do anything to get that designation other than join the group.

So essentially, you can summarize my position as follows:

1. with respect to this one kid, being a member of a group or an admin of a group without actual evidence of cheating by that one kid, is not sufficient grounds for expulsion.

2. with respect to the broader issue of facebook groups and other online ways to study, universities should roll with the times. If they don’t want students to work together and share their work, then stick to quizzes and exams.


From: Ottawa | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 11 March 2008 10:01 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Summer:

1. with respect to this one kid, being a member of a group or an admin of a group without actual evidence of cheating by that one kid, is not sufficient grounds for expulsion.

I've said from the start - if the kid claims "I'm innocent, I didn't know, it wasn't my intent, others did it" - then of course he's guilty of nothing more serious than failing to be careful. But this thread and the debate really isn't about him.

quote:
2. with respect to the broader issue of facebook groups and other online ways to study, universities should roll with the times. If they don’t want students to work together and share their work, then stick to quizzes and exams.

And should they allow blackberries during exams?

I really don't get your point. This was about particular assignment where the prof apparently said, "do it yourself". If s/he said that, students should abide by that - same as they should if they're sitting in an exam room. I really don't get any message from the reports that Ryerson wants to clamp down on students working together to improve their learning experience.

In short, I think this is a big sexy case, but it doesn't succeed in really getting at the issue that a lot of people would like to get at. Too many individual facts are getting in the way.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
RosaL
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posted 11 March 2008 10:25 AM      Profile for RosaL     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I worked for awhile as a "marker". Based on that experience, I would say that cheating is rampant - and that very little is done about it. There are reasons for that, but if you are a student, and you don't cheat, there are certainly some negative consequences.
From: the underclass | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 11 March 2008 12:08 PM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Let's see if we can find some common ground. For me, unionist, the interesting issue in this thread is policing. Policing, surveillance and coercion. You are arguing that the University administration, because they can access Facebook and the Internet, should be permitted to use whatever they find there in cases of student discipline. I am questioning that assumption.

Society has designated, arbitrarily, certain aspects of our life public and certain aspects private. As new technologies appear and as social conventions develop, these arbitrary boundaries become redrawn. The mass-produced automobile, for example, turned individual travel from a public into a private affair for the masses. Historically, those with power control how this redesignation happens.

Do you believe that it is ethical for the state to put up a network of surveillance cameras to observe the largely law-abiding masses? Should shopping mall owners be permitted to put cameras in change rooms? Or, in a more accurate analogy, should these mall owners be allowed to observe you in your own home to ensure you didn't take any merchandise home with you?

The shift towards a totally surveillance-based law enforcement remains unsettling to me. And I believe the University is the kind of institution that should resist this shift. So when it instead capitulates to and reproduces this system, I object.

Furthermore, I believe that the 146 (sorry) classmates who clearly held a conception radically different--oppositionally different, in fact--from the administration of their relationship with the University, should not be dismissed as "naive." Rather, I believe that their worldview should be respected and considered in light of the new technology that caused this divide in perception. I do not believe that we should uncritically swallow the administration's viewpoint simply because it is the one we are accustomed to. To quote Bill Cosby, it's a different world.


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 11 March 2008 12:18 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Catchfire:

1. I am against surveillance, whether surreptitious or open. It is abhorrent. I fully agree with you.

2. There's no evidence whatsoever in this case that there was any such surveillance. Apparently one prof noticed the group and blew the whistle.

3. None of that changes the fact (on which you haven't commented) that the chemistry prof said, "do this assignment on your own", or something to that effect. If Chris or the original founder of the group or any of the others disagreed, they should have approached her and engaged her in discussion on the merits of collaborative learning. Who knows - they may have reached an amicable agreement on the parameters of cooperation in this instance, and clarified that that should stop short of actually copying someone else's solutions. But that never happened.

4. I happen to believe strongly that individual exams - "testing students' knowledge" - is vastly overrated and overutilized in all levels of our educational system, from K to PhD. It is connected with a highly competitive climate where some must survive and others must fail. It provides a shortcut for prospective employers to select candidates for scarce positions without profoundly assessing individual ability and suitability. I believe that all learning should be collaborative. I would rather give high marks (if I must give marks at all) to a student who excels at learning from others and helping others to learn, than one who excels on an exam.

Having said all that, I still think "Facebook" is a total red herring in this discussion. The internet facilitates cheating on a massive scale. It can also facilitate collaborative learning on a massive scale. The real discussion should be twofold:

1. Should students violate instructions with impunity - or should they voice their disagreement and seek a modus vivendi?

2. Is education too competitive and too exam-based? My answer, obviously, is a loud yes. But that problem should be tackled through direct and open discussion - not by "self-help" and then complaining when caught.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11323

posted 11 March 2008 02:40 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Facebook cheating charge raises new questions

quote:
Ryerson University student Chris Avenir was greeted by a chorus of cheers from supporters as he emerged from a hearing where he faced charges of cheating that could lead to his expulsion. [...]

Officials accused Mr. Avenir, 18, of going too far with the exhortation to “input solutions” to assignment problems in his Facebook study group.

Ryerson Unversity is not attempting to prevent the use of Facebook for appropriate learning,” said Prof. James Norrie, who was speaking on behalf of the university.

“The question is, do we want to hold people accountable for their online behaviour?” [/qb]



From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
rabble-rouser
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posted 11 March 2008 03:10 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post
I've been following this with interest.

FWIW, I expect and encourage students to collaborate when I give out problem sets; in the real world, people work together to solve problems.

OTH, this exercise looks to be one of those finger-exercises in which students are expected to work on their technical skills. There is simply no other way of learning those skills than by practising them.

Moreover, the prof went to the trouble of making sure that everyone had different questions, and then told them to work independently. If I were in her place, I would have gone ballistic as well.


From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Ward
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posted 11 March 2008 03:39 PM      Profile for Ward     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The universities are just protecting their intellectual property.

[ 11 March 2008: Message edited by: Ward ]


From: Scarborough | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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Babbler # 4019

posted 15 March 2008 02:18 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The university — understandably enough — seems to have read this as an incitement toward the swapping of answers. Avenir's advocates say that no such thing took place on the site, and that the Facebook group was merely a virtual study hall.

Not having seen the page, I couldn't say which is closer to the truth (though, in my limited experience, a study group that didn't involve some swapping of answers isn't much of a study group). But I can say that the question is entirely moot: The damage has been done. In its zeal to uphold academic standards, Ryerson has instead managed to portray itself as an institution afraid of technology and the change it brings.

As I write, the jury is out on Avenir's avenir, but even if the school backs down, the news is already everywhere. The media, with its bottomless appetite for sentences featuring the word Facebook, pounced. The Internet, entirely predictably, caught fire. Reaction from all corners has amounted to a good old-fashioned pile-on: How could Ryerson's administrators be so dumb?


Look, technology ... hide!


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 15 March 2008 05:03 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It's a foolish article. It inextricably mixes up two remote and separate issues:

1. Learning by sharing; and
2. Following instructions.

I have already said, and I fully agree, that exams - where you have to supply "answers" - are a useless way of learning. In real life, you can look up "answers". What you need to learn is how to learn.

In that regard, maximum collaboration, on and off the internet, should be encouraged, and "answer"-based learning and evaluation should be minimized.

So, those who violated the professors instructions in this case should be disciplined - if they did so recklessly rather than innocently - even if the discipline is merely a warning, depending on the seriousness of the actual facts.

Then, serious discussion should be initiated throughout the university about teaching and learning methods. It may take time to eliminate "answer"-based testing in some of the faculties, but it's a worthy goal.

As long as some tests must be "answer"-based, however, and as long as instructors insist that certain assignments be completed entirely independently, it is ridiculous to advocate that students should be free to defy those instructions with impunity.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 15 March 2008 05:16 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This is an interesting case.

Personally, I think there are deeper implications to this than whether or not the kid was cheating or not. I think it's clear that he wasn't since he didn't post anything on this group, and that he is being scapegoated because he's the only one out of all of the kids on the group that are getting in trouble over this. They should expel all of them (which of course they won't do - can you imagine the uproar if they expelled 147 students from the same program?) or none of them.

This is a clear example of the way universities need to adapt to technology and the new ways people are learning.

Quite frankly, it's STUPID to give students take-home assignments and not expect them to collaborate with each other. Academia is full of a very patriarchal "rugged individualist" view of learning, where each student is an island.

In the real world, when people in science, engineering, humanities, philosophy, activism - anywhere - need to get stuff done, they collaborate. They consult colleagues and try to get things done the most efficient way possible.

In the age of information from around the world at everyone's fingertips, universities are going to have to get out of the stone age and figure out how to teach students in ways that they will learn using all the new technology and new ways of socializing with each other and helping each other solve problems.

Does that mean plagiarizing and passing off other people's work as your own is okay? No. It means accepting the fact that students WILL work together and help each other understand difficult assignments, and that this is not only not a bad thing but a very good thing if you structure your assignments well.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
unionist
rabble-rouser
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posted 15 March 2008 05:34 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
Personally, I think there are deeper implications to this than whether or not the kid was cheating or not. I think it's clear that he wasn't since he didn't post anything on this group, and that he is being scapegoated because he's the only one out of all of the kids on the group that are getting in trouble over this.

Well, he's actually alleged to have written this:

"If you request to join, please use the forms to discuss/post solutions to the chemistry assignments. Please input your solutions if they are not already posted."

... and to have provided the means for students to follow that instruction. If he did, then maybe the proper charge is "incitement to and facilitating cheating". But surely no one can deny that if the instructor said "do this assignment independently", then such an act was a deliberate defiance of the instructor. As to which are good methods of learning, that's totally separate and I've already commented on that.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 15 March 2008 07:30 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Speaking of Facebook, I'm thoroughly pissed off with it. I can hardly access it anymore, although I can access every other chat group and website just fine, even with my dialup ISP. Since my ISP is slow, all that advertising on Facebook makes it that much slower to download. Unfortunately, all my friends, and this community, are all on Facebook, so I don't have much in alternatives. I'm getting a Linux box soon, hope I can access Facebook from Linux okay.
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Doug
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Babbler # 44

posted 17 March 2008 03:24 PM      Profile for Doug   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Now they're in trouble for telling the truth about geography. Oops - some people couldn't have that.

quote:
Facebook users living in Maale Adumim, Ariel and other large Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank protested when the site automatically listed their hometowns as being in "Palestine". A group of settlers accused the California-based company of having a political agenda.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/internetNews/idUKL1738303920080317?rpc=92


From: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
jrose
babble intern
Babbler # 13401

posted 18 March 2008 05:30 AM      Profile for jrose     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Online study group offers anonymity

From the Toronto Star:

quote:
Louise Brown
Education Reporter

He swears it is not meant to promote cheating, but a Thornhill high school graduate is setting up a province-wide "study group" website where students at 18 universities can swap homework tips on courses they share, sometimes anonymously, so they needn't worry about school scrutiny.

Evgeny Kalashnikov, 18, says he is speeding up creation of the site, www.thestudygroups.com, as a show of support for Ryerson student Chris Avenir, who could be expelled for helping run a Facebook website that invited students to post solutions to engineering assignments.

Ryerson's engineering faculty appeals committee is expected to release its decision today on whether Avenir, a first-year engineering student, fostered cheating among the site's 147 users on homework questions worth 10 per cent of their mark – which the professor had stipulated were to be done independently.

SNIP

While Kalashnikov said he will limit people to one anonymous posting per day to provide some transparency, he said the anonymity is important, given the new campus chill about the online study groups.




From: Ottawa | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
unionist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11323

posted 18 March 2008 06:02 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Here's a corrected version of jrose's thestudygroup link.

jrose, you gotta watch your p's and q's and commas.

[ 18 March 2008: Message edited by: unionist ]


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
jrose
babble intern
Babbler # 13401

posted 18 March 2008 06:11 AM      Profile for jrose     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
jrose, you gotta watch your p's and q's and commas.

Hey ... I didn't format that link. Babble did that automatically! And even if I did, it's the morning after St. Patrick's Day, so I'm sleep deprived!


From: Ottawa | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 18 March 2008 06:13 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm sorry, but that's not a good enough reason. You're fired.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
unionist
rabble-rouser
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posted 18 March 2008 06:22 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Geez Michelle, it's the day after St. Paddy's and you're in a fIrish mood!
From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
jrose
babble intern
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posted 18 March 2008 06:44 AM      Profile for jrose     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post

Unionist, that was probably the cheesiest joke I’ve heard in quite awhile, but I must say I enjoyed!


From: Ottawa | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 18 March 2008 07:43 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Boom Boom:
I'm getting a Linux box soon, hope I can access Facebook from Linux okay.

Did you know that Facebook was given a poor Site Performance Index of 6629 in January? It sounds like Facebook may not be adding enough new servers to keep up with a growing number of users. I think there is not a lot you can do to speed things up at your end, Boom Boom. Parts of the web have bottlenecks that surfers like us just can't overcome.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 18 March 2008 07:47 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oops - that reminds me: A friend sent me the link for Crap Cleaner; I downloaded it, ran it, and removed over 100 mb of crap!

My computer runs just fine, Facebook included, since I started using CC last week.


From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Noise
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Babbler # 12603

posted 18 March 2008 07:51 AM      Profile for Noise     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
It sounds like Facebook may not be adding enough new servers to keep up with a growing number of users.

Hard to say if it's growing number of users or growing number of applications taking up more and more resources.... Same end result though


From: Protest is Patriotism | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 18 March 2008 07:59 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You may notice that sites lije FB are more or less accessible at different times of the day ie. peak internet usage times versus otherwise, like 3 o'clock coffee breaks versus drive home rush hours or weekends.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
unionist
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11323

posted 18 March 2008 08:12 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Boom Boom:
Oops - that reminds me: A friend sent me the link for Crap Cleaner; I downloaded it, ran it, and removed over 100 mb of crap!

Don't you dare run that thing on babble. Who knows what will remain.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7791

posted 18 March 2008 09:17 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
unionist:
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Doug
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 44

posted 18 March 2008 09:46 AM      Profile for Doug   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Boom Boom:
Oops - that reminds me: A friend sent me the link for Crap Cleaner; I downloaded it, ran it, and removed over 100 mb of crap!

My computer runs just fine, Facebook included, since I started using CC last week.


Is that all? It found 2.9 GB on my system. The crap clearly expands to fill the space available!


From: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7791

posted 18 March 2008 10:19 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Doug:
Is that all? It found 2.9 GB on my system.

Holy cow! That's a lot of crap. In my case, though, that 200 MB of crap that has been detected so far seems to have slowed down my system - and I'm on a slow dialup ISP. Since removing all that crap, my computer is running almost like new.


From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 18 March 2008 10:50 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've found that high speed DSL here in Ottawa(Nepean) is a about 200 kilobits/second faster on average(download) than the same home connection I was paying Bell for in N. Ontario. If you're on dialup, a faster machine isn't going to improve your connection a great deal. And crap is just crap. How often do you sweep your floors? I mean c'mon!
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 18 March 2008 11:21 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Fidel, up until last Friday I was seriously considering junking this machine and getting a Linux. I'm still getting a new Linux-based machine, but I'm keeping this as a spare, because, since using CC, it's running like new.
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 18 March 2008 11:25 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
If you liked Crap Cleaner then Ad-Aware may be for you as well. Check it out.
From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 18 March 2008 11:33 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I used to use Ad-Aware, but a techie reccomended SUPERAntispyware, so I have that running instead. And my AV is avast!
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
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posted 18 March 2008 11:45 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes, spyware and adware are different issues than crap, although I'm not familiar with CC or what it does. Spyware and adware are actual programs installed on your machine without permission from you and load themselves into memory automagically without your permission. And they tend to run in the background and occupy valuable memory space and steal CPU cycles which should be available to legit programs/processes only. They could be anything from benign rabble cookies to cookies that track your surfing habits for purposes of marketing manufactured plastic crap, or they could be logging your keystrokes in search of PIN numbers, banking info and credit card numbers.

It's good to get rid of crap, and it's even better to get rid of spyware and sneakware if it's installed and robbing your PC of resources.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 18 March 2008 12:06 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hey, I just downloaded and ran CC. It's fabulous! I'm going to use it at home too, I think.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Le Téléspectateur
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posted 18 March 2008 03:42 PM      Profile for Le Téléspectateur     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Back on topic...

If anything this just shows you that universities are in need of a Crap Cleaner too.

Why is it that some shmo can get 100 000/year and can teach a class where you can copy the answers?

Industrialized education, chickens coming home to roost.

And Unionist, you think that people should be learning to "follow instructions"? You need some de-schooling my friend.


From: More here than there | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 18 March 2008 03:54 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
Hey, I just downloaded and ran CC. It's fabulous! I'm going to use it at home too, I think.

Be sure to do the registry scan as well, which is done through another button on the left.

For those who wonder what we're talking about, CC is ccleaner (formerly Crap Cleaner). It has two scan levels: one ferrets out files left behind from uninstalled applications, old log files, and the like; the other scans the
registry for useless bits left behind, and then you can choose which to fix (I have it fix everything). It's free and is updated often.

Link: www.ccleaner.com


From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 18 March 2008 08:17 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Le Téléspectateur:
And Unionist, you think that people should be learning to "follow instructions"?

No, I think they should write answers on their arms when they go in to sit for exams. Really, why should low-tech methods be discriminated against??

Anyway, Chris Avenir will not be expelled, but he did get a zero in his assignment and will have discipline recorded against him.

quote:
James Norrie, director of the university's school of information technology management, said the buzz surrounding the case has distracted from the real issue at hand.

"As soon as you put the word Facebook onto an issue it seems to change the dynamic of the issue in terms of people's reading of it and interest in it," he said.


That is so obvious and so true.

If Chris had been caught in a room with 100 other students writing the answers on a whiteboard, they all would have been charged with cheating, and no online petitions, screams, T-shirts, campaigns, etc.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 18 March 2008 10:00 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
What will they do in a couple of decades or sooner when kids go to school with artificial intelligence devices(supersmall supercomputers sewn into clothing or perhaps computerized zippers and buttons for appearance sake? Or perhaps they will have had genetic engineering procedures of some kind done to enhance learning abilities, memory, or even physical performance? Or maybe they will interface mind and machine giving them the ability to regurgitate all knowledge of chemistry that was ever digitized and acing every exam they'd ever write by today's standards.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 19 March 2008 12:59 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
If Avenir was caught writing answers on a whiteboard with 146 other students in the room, would he have been charged with 147 counts of academic misconduct?

Obviously, facebook does change the dynamic of the situation, for both parties. The reactionary, panicked response from the university is nothing short of a land grab.

As for the teacher, I sympathize with her feelings of betrayal, but I believe this result issues from her failure as an educator. She had certain expectations as a teacher and came up with a strategy she thought would ensure those expectations were enforced. The students had other ideas and came up with a way to solve the assignment she did not anticipate. It's what happens in life, isn't it? If she wanted the students to get something particular out of the assignment, she should have found a better way.

Of course, it's not surprising that University professors come up short in education from time to time. They aren't given any training. This is not a criticism of professors, incidentally, because often the number of roles they have to play and the intensity with which they have to play them makes their job impossible. This is just another indication as to why.


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Le Téléspectateur
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posted 19 March 2008 06:03 AM      Profile for Le Téléspectateur     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Of course, it's not surprising that University professors come up short in education from time to time. They aren't given any training. This is not a criticism of professors, incidentally, because often the number of roles they have to play and the intensity with which they have to play them makes their job impossible. This is just another indication as to why.

I would say that they come up short more often than not. Schools also provide teaching development, which is optional, which most profs don't do.

I find it hard to sympathise with profs when they get paid so much, have job security that just doesn't exist anywhere else and increasingly have under-paid (like less than $8/hour!) people doing the same teaching job beside them and say nothing about it.

If you can't figure out a way to evaluate students that goes beyond asking them to puke up facts that can be copied off other students than you aren't teaching.

I comend these students for playing the system.


From: More here than there | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 19 March 2008 09:42 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Training sessions, if offered, are generally offered to new hires at the beginning of the term. They are insubstantial. I don't see why professors should take them seriously if the institution does not. Furthermore, teaching is only one third (at most) of a professor's job. They are also intensely pressured to publish, as well as to take part in faculty administration and organization. As for their salary, I can't expect much less for a position that requires at least ten to fifteen years of training.

Why should you begrudge academics' job security when everyone should have it? Where are these academics withholding security from everyone else? And as one final point, what makes you think that professors pay their research assistants out of their own pocket? It is occasionally from grant money, but professors certainly do not set the standards for their wages. It is done through administration.

I also shouldn't need to point out that education in this country (particularly in the arts and humanities) is chronically underfunded. Will you blame the professors for that too?


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 21 March 2008 07:03 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
From Rabble's own columnist, Heather Mallick:

Facebook group teaches students how to fail

quote:
What scares me about the first-year Ryerson University engineering student who ran a cheating site on Facebook for himself and his fellow students is not his revolutionary defence of his right to intellectually shortchange himself. ...

Avenir's position is essentially that online is different. It's cool and the old fogeys don't get that.

True, many old fogeys don't understand the glory of life online, but when it comes to research that has to be done alone to train the brain, cheating via typing is no different from cheating via meeting in person.

It's troubling that Avenir doesn't understand fine distinctions. He's hoping to be an engineer, a field where fine distinctions determine whether a bridge stands or collapses. But he also doesn't grasp that no engineering firm intent upon avoiding lawsuits would want an employee who isn't meticulous about methods, as opposed to results.



From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 21 March 2008 07:12 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Um, so Mallick's position is that cheating is wrong? That if you don't do the work honestly you are really just cheating yourself?

I wouldn't exactly characterize that as significant critical engagement. Particularly this:

quote:
But he also doesn't grasp that no engineering firm intent upon avoiding lawsuits would want an employee who isn't meticulous about methods, as opposed to results.

It's simply untrue. Engineering firms hire precisely on results. Not on moral courage, methodology or ethics. In fact, I'm even inclined to argue that Avenir (and the other students') method of maximizing results would be cheered if used in the context of "real world" working environment. Get the job done, and get the job done cheaply.

From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 21 March 2008 07:32 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Catchfire:
It's simply untrue. Engineering firms hire precisely on results. Not on moral courage, methodology or ethics. In fact, I'm even inclined to argue that Avenir (and the other students') method of maximizing results would be cheered if used in the context of "real world" working environment. Get the job done, and get the job done cheaply.

I disagree with both you and Mallick.

If an engineering firm ended up with a full cadre of engineers all of whom had achieved their degrees by copying answers from others, they wouldn't be getting any job done - cheaply or otherwise. That's what Mallick meant by "methods", I think. A good firm wants to hire people that know how to solve problems.

But Mallick's pragmatic approach is wrong, too. As I have stated, I'd like to see an almost complete rupture with teaching methods based on individual exams and individual assignments. That will take work, but I believe it will be worth it. Then Facebook and study groups and other collaborative methods will be embraced by both faculty and students and meaningful - not just a method of mass distribution of "answers" and "solutions".

Meanwhile, I do tend to agree with Mallick that Avenir is "full of himself", though not for the reasons she gives. Instead of trying to argue for a new educational methodology, he tried to wash his hands of responsibility for defying the course instructor's directives. That's not very encouraging from a character point of view.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 21 March 2008 07:40 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
If an engineering firm ended up with a full cadre of engineers all of whom had achieved their degrees by copying answers from others, they wouldn't be getting any job done - cheaply or otherwise. That's what Mallick meant by "methods", I think. A good firm wants to hire people that know how to solve problems.

This is a slippery slope argument. There is no indication that because Avenir cheated, every graduating engineer student (with top marks) cheated. Ideally, a firm would want to hire a mix of people with a mix of problem-solving abilities (I use that term only half facetiously) : some with good independent work ethic, some with good consulting and collaboration skills (like a study group w/o direct solutions) and some who do what it takes to get the job done cheaply and quickly. T'aint ethical or morally pleasant, but it's the truth.

Also, the "this situation is no different just because it's online" argument is rubbish. Even if you don't buy my arguments above, a run-of-the-mill cheater wouldn't get 147 counts of cheating. Both sides tacitly agree that cyberspace changes the ground rules. This, of course, should be self-evident.

ETA: I should also add that I hold no illusions that Avenir is out for anything more than his own self-interest. I just don't think that's the point.

[ 21 March 2008: Message edited by: Catchfire ]


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 21 March 2008 10:41 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
But what engineer takes on a real world problem without the use of calculators, computers, internet access, a small library of textbooks and proven formulas which are generally always accessible anyway? Sooner than filling their heads with 200 year old math formulas and tensile strengths for metric bolts, why not reserve the time, energy, and sanity for things that matter? The real world doesn't work like a classroom, and things will be very different two decades from now. It should be next to impossible not to cheat considering the range of complex problems dealt with by engineers.

eta: memorization and regurgitation of facts on the spot is for medical doctors and wherever necessary

[ 21 March 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 27 March 2008 02:34 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Vancouver man cracks Facebook to access private photos
quote:
A security breach on Facebook allowed a Vancouver computer technician to find photos of a partying Paris Hilton and ones of her younger brother in private online albums intended to be accessible only to their friends.

And while the networking giant says it has closed the breach that allowed outsiders to view the Hilton photos and other private albums, the photos remain available for viewing to anyone who knows the precise URL (uniform resource locator) linking to them on the Web.

Byron Ng, who last July cracked the security behind the then-unreleased novel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, discovered the security hole when he was checking out an earlier breach that had been fixed by Facebook.



From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 27 March 2008 03:38 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I never post anything on Facebook that is so personal that I'd be freaked if someone found it.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Wilf Day
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posted 27 March 2008 05:49 AM      Profile for Wilf Day     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
I never post anything on Facebook that is so personal that I'd be freaked if someone found it.

You're not as bad as nine of your Facebook Friends who won't even show their faces. (Hint: it's called Facebook.) And I have one friend who joined under her infant son's name, until she finally got tired of all her real life friends asking "who are you?" when she asked them to be her Facebook Friend.

From: Port Hope, Ontario | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 27 March 2008 05:53 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
For the longest time, I refused to post my picture too. I just posted images and slogans and logos for social activist campaigns I felt strongly about instead.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 07 May 2008 07:27 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Facebook Applications: Back door for Law Enforcement?
quote:
Via Google News I hear of a new Facebook Application: GMP Updates. The application, also known as “The Greater Manchester Police Updates,” gives you a feed of crime updates and links to a form for reporting crimes, according to the article. It’s the first time I’ve seen a law enforcement based Facebook application.

[...]

Law enforcement use of applications will significantly expand the reach of what law enforcement can see, and also provide a more surreptitious viewing ability. It’s been noted that some 90% of popular applications have access to more information than they need, but this seems like a significant first — giving law enforcement more access than it needs. Why the expansion? Because application providers get access to just about all of your Facebook information, as described in the “Platform Application Terms of Use“

[...]

That’s not all that is happening. When you add an application, by default it can see what you can see on Facebook. So you’re also sharing your friends’ information with law enforcement. Your friends may opt-out of this sharing, but until they do you’ll be the eyes and ears of law enforcement by adding a law enforcement-based Facebook app.


Once again, the Internet is not public space. It is land up for grabs, and like the administration of Ryerson University above, the Manchester Police force are making their move. Yet the stakes have got a bit higher in the interim, it seems...


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 07 May 2008 12:00 PM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It IS the internet, after all...

Anybody can use it anyway they like...

I wouldn't put my credit card or SIN number in the thing, but aside from that...


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Accidental Altruist
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posted 07 May 2008 12:53 PM      Profile for Accidental Altruist   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've heard it said that you shouldn't post anything on the internet that you wouldn't wear on a tee shirt. I guess my tee shirt slogan parameters are pretty broad!
From: i'm directly under the sun ... ... right .. . . . ... now! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 07 May 2008 12:58 PM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
So it's that simple, is it?

First of all, anybody can't put online anything they like. In fact, if you do and the GMP object, you could find your self in jail. Not a virtual one, by the way.

Secondly, shrugging off the kind of cybernetic land grab authorities like Ryerson and the GMP are enacting obscures the power dynamic at play here: it's policed, even militarized space dressed up as public commons. And that's a very dangerous situation.


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
torontoprofessor
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posted 08 May 2008 11:37 AM      Profile for torontoprofessor     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It strikes me that the university has no jurisdiction over facebook, my backyard barbecue, or my living room study session. The university does, however, have jurisdiction over how it deals with material that has been handed into a class for a grade.

Suppose that student X meets student Y in a pub, or online or anywhere else. And suppose that X tells Y all the answers to a take-home assignment in Chemistry 235. So far, the university has no jurisdiction.

But now suppose that Y hands those answers in. At that point, Y has turned in work that is not her/his own, and X has aided Y in so doing. The moment that Y has turned the work in for grades, both X and Y are guilty of academic offences.

Does that make sense?


From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 08 May 2008 02:05 PM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes, tp, it does make sense, but you are confusing the law for policing. What is illegal is often not policed (marijuana usage, for example) and vice-versa (political dissent).

My point of contention with the Ryerson case, and with what the case with the GMP emphatically underlines, is that what used to not be policed (i.e. the pub visit between classmates) is now presumed to be fair game for surveillance because it is online.

Arguments that insist that because cheating has become easier (an assumption, incidentally, of which I have not seen proof) authorities are justified in increasing their policing (not legal) jurisdiction, are synonymous with odious governmental actions like the wire-tap case in the United States that justify the infringement of civil liberties by forwarding lame duck arguments about increased security risks and terrorism. As such, these arguments should not be allowed to stand.


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 08 May 2008 02:35 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post
How do you feel about turnitin.com?
From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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Babbler # 4019

posted 08 May 2008 11:38 PM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
There were a number of babble and enmasse threads on turnitin, but I think it's a very different case than the one I've tried to outline here. My main concern in this thread is that we conceive of cyberspace as public only because that benefits authority at our expense. It's the opposite of public, in fact: it's corporate, even militarized space. The Ryerson cheating case is a symptom of this larger cultural movement.

Turnitin.com is more exclusively an academic problem. I've struggled with this one, because the disciplines who use it (I've never heard of it used in mine, but I'm sure someone does) claim text-matching software makes an impossible job easier. I sympathize with that. I object to the mentality such tactics contribute to, however, that presume guilt in the student and undermine what I believe to be the spirit of the University as a place of growth. There is a niggling issue of copyright, but that doesn't overly concern me.

I mostly object to the spawning of a mercenary industry where the disciplinary part of an instructor's job is outsourced to a group whose only motive is profit (although there are apparently free alternatives--is there anything open source can't do?). And this is clearly a symptom of Western governments' attitudes towards University's generally: their slow evolution towards a corporate model, the chronic underfunding and understaffing, and the pressures placed on (particularly new) professors and lecturers. So while I object to turnintin.com, it's simply a natural development with the way things seem to be going.

Incidentally, does anyone know of any studies that suggest it is easier to cheat now than fifty years ago, or that kids try to cheat more? I'm inclined to believe it is, as are most people, but even if it is true, I find it interesting that these statements are never interrogated, and left up to "common sense." Common sense usually subs for ideology, and it should also indicate the power dynamics in these cases when the students' explanations are dismissed out of hand but statements like this one are left unquestioned and unsupported.


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 11 May 2008 04:50 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I was searching for this thread to post something to it, but it's long, so I'll close it instead and start a new one.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 11 May 2008 05:16 AM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Catchfire...

quote:
My point of contention with the Ryerson case, and with what the case with the GMP emphatically underlines, is that what used to not be policed (i.e. the pub visit between classmates) is now presumed to be fair game for surveillance because it is online.

I understand your concern.

But, let's take computers out of the equation and suppose that 'cheating meetings' were being organized in computer labs on campus and that this was commonly known. Let's also suppose that those computer labs were the only place that students could gather to cheat.

It would make sense for the university to respond to this challenge by instituting rules to restrict the ability for students to cheat in this way.

Now, move the meetings to an on-campus pub, or an off-campus pub and the situation gets more murky. If the meetings are held in a private residence then there is nothing the university can do about it.

If they can't police semi-public spaces such as facebook, how should they respond if there are more opportunities out there to cheat ?


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged

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