The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Cheating cheaters and their cheating ways

Jeremy has mentioned the kerfuffle about cheating at Canterbury in a footnote, and it seems to me that's about all it deserves - oblique mentions on ex-student politician blogs, like I'm about to do.

I sat on a university disciplinary committee for about two years. Most of the cases we dealt with were cheating, but almost all were on assignments rather than exams, and in fact I always had the impression that a lot of departments dealt with assignment cheating in-house so we probably saw a small proportion. Exam cheating went straight to the committee and I can only recall two cases, although I'm sure there were a few more. Not a big problem then, imho.

Some of the efforts cheaters would go to was extraordinary. I remember one very careful woman who managed to write out a whole lot of info on a piece of tissue - the labour involved was significant, even if she managed not to wreck it first time, and maybe she should have just spent the time studying.

The best case I ever sat on was for an auditing paper - a group of students had got together to cheat on an assignment worth 1% of the total internal assessment. The auditing lecturers were outraged and wanted these students expelled, but that wasn't exactly commensurate with the crime. I think they thought there ought to be some kind of strict liability for auditing students who cheat - one strike and you are out.

All up it looks like the Canta article was a joke, pure and simple, and that Canterbury University wasn't so much responding to it as putting in place precautions already in use elsewhere. The UCSA president (Belinda?) dealt with it well on Checkpoint, clearly showing it was a media beat-up without falling into the Winston Peters trap of abusing the media.

And that ought to be the end of that.

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