Man, this is giving me a headache…
Professor Richard Quinn of the University of Central Florida was so disgusted by evidence that many of his students had cheated in their midterm exam that he gave them a lecture that he hoped would teach them a life-long lesson. In the lecture, Quinn told the class he had enough evidence from statistical analysis and other investigatory techniques to identify most cheats, but instead of handing the list over to the university authorities for discipling, he proposed a deal.
Quinn declared “I don’t want to have to explain to your parents why you didn’t graduate, so I went to the Dean and I made a deal. The deal is you can either wait it out and hope that we don’t identify you, or you can identify yourself to your lab instructor and you can complete the rest of the course and the grade you get in the course is the grade you earned in the course.” He also added a requirement for those who came forward complete a four hour course in ethics. In return, there would be no permanent record of the cheating. So far more than 200 students have admitted to cheating (there are over 600 enrolled in the course).
Quinn has described the reaction and support he has received from the University, the community, and from around the world as “overwhelming”, but added he was “looking forward to moving past this incident and focusing on the rest of the semester.”
So, what are we doing at LVR to discussing academic integrity with out students…
While I hold the students completely responsible for the situation at UCF, I can’t help but feel that we, as teachers in secondary schools, have also failed them and the system. As a teacher-librarian, this blantant and overt disregard for academic integrity makes me wonder why we continue to turn a blind eye to what we know is going on.
Research has shown that the sources of academic cheating include ignorance, a lack of respect, laziness, and even just plain foolhardiness when it comes to academic dishonesty. Whether it be an essay or an inclass test or examination, I think that at some level our inactivity to collectively address these issues is at the root of what surely is an epidemic in most post-secondary institutions.
Am I putting too much on our teachers? Do I not expect enough from our students? Where’s the balance in this? Whose role(s) is it to ensure our students understand what exactly academic integrity? Is there even a place or a need in the new digital media for such a discussion? Would it be an act of futility?