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View Full Version : Academic Dishonesty? WWYD? (long post)


Hildegard_von_Knittin
08-16-2008, 11:26 AM
I'm having an out of town guest next week, so being the responsible doctoral candidate that I am, I decided to get a jump on next week's assignments, even though they're not due until Sunday the 24th. I posted this in my class forum yesterday at noon-thirty:

Hatch (2002) provides a clear description of the different types of unobtrusive data that may inform a qualitative research study. For this assignment, I thought it would be easiest and most direct to make a list:
1. Teacher Lesson Plans: Plans from *before* the noted increase in achievement may be compared with plans from the time of improvement (and after?) to see how changes in instructional techniques, the use of classroom materials, and desired learning outcomes affected student achievement
2. Minutes from Department Meetings: May lead to insight on a new instructional series, new teaching technique, classroom activities to try, and other suggestions from colleagues.
3. Student Work: When compared with lesson plans, may give a clearer understanding of when students had a “lightbulb moment” and understood concepts.
4. Class Rosters/Seating charts: Perhaps where a student was sitting in class before the improvement was hindering his or her achievement (too far from the board, sitting next to a bully).
5. IEP: A change in the plan, which surely the teacher followed, can have an effect on the student’s learning, even if the change was to a goal for another class.
6. Letters/Emails/Communications from Parents: May lead to insight on a situation at home that affected a student’s performance at school. *Note: Hatch (2002) lists communication as a separate type of unobtrusive data (p.118), so maybe this doesn’t count as a document.
7. Minutes from IEP or Student Assistance Team Meetings: Discussions on what works and doesn’t work with this student or the student’s strengths and weaknesses may have informed changes in instructional technique or activities.

Hatch, J. A. (2002). Doing qualitative research in education settings. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

:yay: me for being thorough!

This morning, I discover that a classmate has posted this:

1. Teacher Lesson Plans
2. Minutes from Department Meetings
3. Student Work
4. Class Rosters/Seating charts
5. IEP
6. Letters/Emails/Communications from Parents
7. Minutes from IEP or Student Assistance Team Meetings
The student work compared over time would show the gains and the teacher should be able to see when the student began showing improvement. Student Assistance team meetings usually give suggestions and have the teacher keep data on how any of the suggestions worked so this would be another excellent way to view the progress.


And then, 1 minute later (our forum posts times next to our responses) responsed to my post, saying "good job, well answered". :grrr:

WTF! Didn't she just copy my answers?????????????????? She didn't even bother to rename them or change the freaking ORDER of them! I looked back at all the other discussion postings, and she's never posted prior to 3 days before the week's discussion is due... but her post for (next) week was 9 days early. FURTHER, she responded to this week's discussion (due this sunday) at 7:44pm... and her (copied) response to next week's assignment was posted at 7:51. Sure didn't take her long to write, did it?

I want to email the professor because I'm ticked off.... so I didn't, because I'm ticked off.

Points:
#1... Each week's discussions is only 2.18% of our grade (yes, I figured it out, because I'm anal).
B... She didn't copy my dissertation.

So will saying anything *really* make a difference, since it's only 2.18%? And is it REALLY a big deal, since it's just a discussion response?

Some of you might not think it's worth fretting over, but I'm really really torn. The distinction of "Dr." is a huge deal, and I'd hate to be held in company with people who I know are cheaters. Further, if she's cheating now, isn't that a good indicator that she's cheating on the dissertation as well? OTOH, I know they're cheaters out there, and that's how life is. I don't want to make enemies (in academia, that's professional suicide), and I still have to work with this woman for the rest of class, about 2 more months. I don't think the professor is on top of things enough to notice on his own, unfortunately, but I don't want to professor to think I'm telling him how to do his job. I don't want her kicked out of the program, which could be a likely consequence, but I *do* think a reprimand is in order.

Sorry this is so long. I need opinions on what to say, how to say it, and if I should say anything at all and to whom.

Jan in CA
08-16-2008, 11:52 AM
Wow. :shock: And IMO that is pretty dumb. It's obvious by time stamp that yours was first and she copied it unlike a paper that might be tough to figure out who was the cheater.

As you say, in the whole scheme of things it probably doesn't matter, BUT it's probably not the first time if they are that blatant about it and it means she thinks she can get away with it. :doh:

I'd probably be inclined to say something to the professor then letting it go. Something so that he is aware of the situation since it seems he might not be. I wouldn't go about it like I'm tattling, but just saying something about how you work hard on your assignments and don't appreciate people taking your work as their own. :shrug:

tarrentella
08-16-2008, 12:18 PM
I would also mention it to your tutor. Unfortunately if she thinks she can get away with cheatin ghten she will cheat not just on the discussions but on bigger assignments too.

Now your tutor isn't dumb, he may well have already noticed, but if he hasn't or is giving the benefit of a doubt then having a student complain (or at least raise a concern could force him to take a closer look. You may find you are not the only one who has concerns about her.

There is no need to be been or OTT about it (although you don't strike me one bit as the sort of person who would be) just a polite breif note to the tutor saying 'i noticed this the other day and it struck me as not quite right.'

Postgrad academics are difficult (or bloody well should be) which is why people with those qualifications, particularly the doctorate are often held in esteem in those fields. People who work hard for their qualifications should not have them undermined by people who slack and cheat (i say as i sit reading knitting forums instead of writing my MSc dissertation ...).

Debbie
08-16-2008, 12:18 PM
Since this is a "discussion" forum, do you think maybe she was reiterating what you said ....

1. Teacher Lesson Plans
2. Minutes from Department Meetings
3. Student Work
4. Class Rosters/Seating charts
5. IEP
6. Letters/Emails/Communications from Parents
7. Minutes from IEP or Student Assistance Team Meetings

... then adding her "two cents" ....

The student work compared over time would show the gains and the teacher should be able to see when the student began showing improvement. Student Assistance team meetings usually give suggestions and have the teacher keep data on how any of the suggestions worked so this would be another excellent way to view the progress

If that is not the case, I don't think I would say anything to anyone. A group of people who are going to be "Dr." can surely figure out that the second post is not original research :)

Hildegard_von_Knittin
08-16-2008, 12:29 PM
Debbie, that's a good point. We don't have a "quote" feature on the forum likethere is on KH.

Honestly, I don't think she was just adding her 2 cents, HOWEVER, maybe that's a way to bring up the topic to my professor without saying "hey she's a cheater!" I can say, well, it looks like she may have ust been adding on to my comments...maybe she just didn't post it correctly.

Shophie, looking at KH and knitting isn't slacking... it's takinga mental rest! :teehee:

Jan, you're right... once I mention it to the professor, I'll just let it go.

Debbie
08-16-2008, 12:33 PM
well, it looks like she may have ust been adding on to my comments...maybe she just didn't post it correctly.

ohhhhhhhhhh .... that is VERY GOOD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

iza
08-16-2008, 12:38 PM
DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD, and I am known to have very harsh views on the subject of academic integrity.

MY ANSWER: WHAT???? So, your doctorate is in education? And she cheats??? Cheaters shouldn't be allowed to teach children, and cheaters shouldn't be getting a doctorate in the subject, either. But well, that's my opinion, which often is not shared by people running doctoral programs. Tuition fees seem to speak more than academic integrity sometimes. :roll:

Academia is just like any other field: most people are honest, but some aren't. The only thing you can do is tell the prof and let it go. The way your prof and university deals with it will tell you how serious they are on their policies. Whatever happens, keep your motivation and your integrity. It doesn't always pay off, but it's still important. :shrug:

Sorry for the rant. :oops:

Hildegard_von_Knittin
08-16-2008, 12:50 PM
Whatever happens, keep your motivation and your integrity. It doesn't always pay off, but it's still important.
Iza, I agree! And I don't think your view is harsh or rant-ish at all, that's how I feel too :)

Plantgoddess+
08-16-2008, 04:01 PM
It does look suspicious doesn't it. Unfortunately it also happens in the real world of business as well. My husband has been put on projects that require a written report to higher ups. The man on the projects with him would do none of the research or writing of the report. When he and hubby would get together to go over the info he would take the report and go pass it off to superiors as his work. He also would suck up outside of work hoping I'm sure to get a promotion. After the company came out of bankruptcy that man was gone I my husband is still there, so it can catch up with people like that in your lifetime. Then again I wouldn't hold my breath and would consider other options as suggested above.

auburnchick
08-16-2008, 04:54 PM
Hilde, I would be mad as well. When I took my classes, I noticed some of the same stuff going on. It's tough when your class format is online where others can more easily copy your work. I tended to turn in my assignments early to avoid any insinuation that I might be copying others (sometimes research turns up the same answers).

I probably wouldn't say anything. I would not comment on that other person's own discussions either...wouldn't legitimize her work one bit.

1knittychick
08-16-2008, 04:58 PM
IMO, go to the professor and say something. When I was working on my master's, I had a professor to give me a "C" and I was very upset for several reasons (that I won't go into because the post would be too long). The one reason I will tell is that she gave me an "F" on an OPINION paper. I couldn't let it go, so I went above her and the Provost ruled in my favor--so my grade was changed to a "B". I know my situation is different, but if you don't say something, you never know.

Doublereeder2
08-16-2008, 09:12 PM
Many years ago in college, we were taking a music theory final. My professor called me in afterwards and said someone else had the exact same answer (not likely when writing 4-part harmony) as mine. I said I would be happy to write it again. He just smiled and said there was no need - he knew who had cheated by my response. I think he knew all along....

So hopefully your professor will know too. If not, as others said, there should be a time stamp - you might be armed with that if you need to plead your case.

Good luck with it. And remember - that cheater's karma will come back to her.

scout52
08-16-2008, 09:41 PM
I agree exactly with Iza.

Definitely say something to the professor and the time stamp will back you up.

Cheating has harsh consequences when I was in grade school through grad school, and she is not a good example for children if she thinks its ok.

saracidaltendencies
08-16-2008, 10:13 PM
I think I'd say something as well. Not a blatant "SHE CHEATED!" but at least let your instructor know her answers are too similar to be a coincidence.

I'm not currently going to school, but, I've had to deal with enough people who supposedly have "higher education" yet I'm baffled as to how they got a job. Well, not totally, most likely they got their job because of a degree, but, a degree isn't always a guarantee someone is fit for a particular job. Instances such as this, I think, are what's wrong with so many people in various industries. They have a degree suggesting they are qualified, but, when it comes down to it, they don't have a much better grasp than your average person, and, if an instructor is blind to the situation, it will continue.

School shouldn't be easy; it should be difficult to force people to learn their trade, but too many times too many people take the easy way out, and get away with it.

Hubby and I were talking just last night about his school. He said that if there is a student who repeatedly fails a class, often the instructor will pass them just because they are tired of teaching that same student over and over again. And I actually wonder why so many people are so incompetent?? :teehee:

rachael72knitter
08-16-2008, 11:18 PM
She was probably cheating. . .but I wouldn't say anything. You be the cream and let her be the curdles stuff beneath you.

More than likely, she will get caught. Its usually pretty obvious.

I know that is so frustrating. I had a class where we were each assigned our own topic that we had to do a presentation on with handouts. She wasn't sure what to do and I gave her lots of suggestions. She asked me lots of questions about mine and always seemed very interested.

Lo and behold- day of the presentation, she volunteered to go before me, and hers was on the exact same topic as mine, and sounded a lot like mine. Then I got to stand up and present thinking, "great, they are really going to be bored hearing this a second time (which is why our instructor gave us our topic)."

Then, she had the nerve to talk and laugh throughout my entire presentation. I didn't tell the prof. b/c it was obvious, but I also never spoke to that girl again.

Karma- one of these days she will do that same thing, and it will bite her in the ***. There comes a time and a day when unoriginal thinkers don't have someone around to suck the creative juices out of- and then. . .they fall flat. Karma.

vaknitter
08-17-2008, 10:28 AM
HMM - While I totally get your frustration, I don't think I would say anything. If your professor looks at the page he/she is likely to notice the time stamp showing that your more complete answer was written first. Also, if it is only 2% of your grade then the poster is not going to go from an "F" to an "A" by this one post and her getting a good grade is not going to lower your grade.
Ultimately you know your professor and how they will respond to you bringing up that your post was copied. In college I think more of my professors where of the variety that didn't want to know about such things and just figured the truth would come out on the tests where they were on their own.

newamy
08-17-2008, 10:41 AM
I'd say something.
It's tough to do so but I would.
I caught someone totally plagiarizing my work in college. A student a year behind me copied a paper I wrote for a class the year before and then tried to use it when she took the class her year. I think the prof didn't notice because she had a different instructor than I did. (of note it was a small school, small enough that had the same instructor read the paper she probably would have recalled reading the same paper before even if she couldn't recall who exactly wrote it) At any rate--I accidentally ran across "her" final graded copy and after debating it with my friends took it to one of the professors. This was before all this high tech computer stuff too.

In the end there was disciplinary action for her. She left the school and never spoke to me or my friends again. :( I know she had others pressures in her life that might have made cheating seem like a good option at the time but it still wasn't right.

GinnyG
08-18-2008, 05:12 AM
The time stamp pretty much clears up WHO the originial author was so I think I would go directly to her ans ask her what her post ment. It may have been clear to her when she "quoted" you that she was responding to your statement and she didn't make that clear to others.

I've taken internet discussion classes before and don't like them, I really think much is lost in the "writing".

If she did intend it as a quote she can clear up the misunderstanding, if she was in fact usining your idea she will know she has been busted. Either way, you come out on top!

SunshineGurrrl
08-18-2008, 11:20 AM
Have you noticed her posting messages similar to other students before or was this a first time thing (or first time post)? If it was the first time maybe it was a mistake but if she has a trend of doing this i would definitely bring it up to the teacher.
Regardless, people take shortcuts like that are really lame (for lack of a better word! haha). I know how you feel, when I was getting my masters I had someone in class who always wanted to "compare notes", after I caught on to her though I started giving her bad notes....mean of me i know but she never got the hint!

Cynamar
08-18-2008, 11:41 AM
I would be ticked, too! I don't have an answer for you, but she shouldn't just be allowed to cheat like that.

CountryKitty
08-18-2008, 12:28 PM
Personally, I would go to the instructor for advice, not to accuse. Make it clear that it seemed suspicious, but you're not sure whether the other person was simply attempting to quote your answers and add a response; that you would like to ask the instructor's opinion, given his/her greater experience, and that you don't want to say anything to the other person without being sure of her intent.

That will bring the matter to the instructor's attention as well as allowing you to gain the instructor's perspective.

Jeremy
08-19-2008, 09:51 PM
I'd discuss it with the professor. Its not an automatic that he or she will notice. I do think if you go you must also raise the possibility that she was merely quoting you. (Although that seems unlikely in the context). I actually knew someone who was accused of cheating in law school. He passed the bar exam but the examining committee wouldn't let him be admitted for a whole year while it sorted things out.

Hildegard_von_Knittin
08-21-2008, 10:23 PM
Thanks for all the responses everyone. I emailed the prof, and explained that I was curious; this was further compacted by the fact that no one else responded to *my* posting (she got several though). Anyway, giving it several days to settle made it easier... i'm certainly less fired up about it than I was.

nephthys8
08-22-2008, 10:12 AM
Thanks for all the responses everyone. I emailed the prof, and explained that I was curious; this was further compacted by the fact that no one else responded to *my* posting (she got several though). Anyway, giving it several days to settle made it easier... i'm certainly less fired up about it than I was.

I think you did all of the right things. I know it was a very small percentage of your grade, but cheating is cheating and that situation reeked of it. It seems like it is possible that she wasn't trying to cheat, but it is probable that she was. Cheaters really irk me... small percentage or no, I would have at least pointed it out to the professor.