Cheating (unintentionally and intentionally)

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    Cheating appears to be an epidemic, from some of the stuff I've been seeing and reading lately. It's going on in my program too. Some people don't even realize they're doing it while others are very aware, but are doing it anyway. A lot of this is hearsay, so it may or may not be happening. Here are the situations I'd like thoughts on--

    I was reading an article about 19 students getting kicked out of their program (out of a class of 31!) for taking an online quiz together. These students said they didn't realize what they were doing was cheating, as the assignment was two-fold and the first part of it was a simulation done in groups. A few of the students even said that their clinical instructor told them to do the quiz in their group in the school library. The students have filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit about the way the school handled the situation (apparently not even telling them for months why they were kicked out)...

    This struck a cord with me, because this very thing happened with my cohort on a midterm this semester, for one of our online classes. I took the exam at home alone, so I wasn't actually on campus but the next day I was told that all the student study rooms were full, as well as some of the floors where students study, with students taking the exam together. The exam was set up where it opened for two hours at the same time and you had to take it during that time. That told me that they were trying to curb cheating, because it's so easy for students to take an online exam and give the answers to others after the fact. Apparently most of the students in my class didn't interpret it that way, as they took the exam in large groups, ON CAMPUS.

    My question to you all about this scenario is, while it probably IS cheating, do you hold people to the strictest standards (kicked out with no opportunity to get back into any nursing program) when they truly don't realize what they're doing is cheating?? Cheating is a character flaw, no doubt, but if someone is doing something they don't realize is cheating, and would be horrified they were doing it, do you judge them based on their ignorance? I guess what I'm wondering is, do you think intent is something to take into consideration?

    In the instance of the students in Arizona, I think if 2/3rds of a class misinterprets an assignment, the instructors/program dropped the ball, but apparently the school didn't see it that way.

    The situation in my program-- I don't know-- I wouldn't have done it, and I believe some of the students had to have at least wondered if what they were doing was unacceptable, I don't know. I think it's pretty damn blatant to do it right on campus.

    On to the intentional stuff. Several students cheated on an exam in one of our classes a couple of weeks ago.. students saw it happening (I didn't as I was in the 'zone' paying attention to my exam and not to what was happening around me) and from what I gather, the teachers knew it was happening too.. I suspected something was up when the class filled up all the seats in the back few rows. Some students say they saw people using notes.

    The teachers confronted us as a class the next week and were upset about the utter disrespect. However, NOBODY got called out. Some students DID go to the teachers about what they saw, but I guess the teachers didn't feel they could prove it so the instructors couldn't (or just didn't) do anything about it. It was very upsetting- What is more, is a LOT of students completely bombed this exam. Those who cheated, likely did much better. They get to keep their good grade. For those who failed, they are giving an essay assignment to help bring the grade to passing. Those who cheated and passed- get a free pass.. It's unfair, but isn't life?

    I have heard through the grapevine (so this may not be true) that students are getting help from upper class-men. Not verbatim test questions, but round about what to expect a question to cover, as they highlighted things their notes directly after exams-- and have passed on these things to students in our class. These are obviously being held secret, as this has apparently been going on since last semester, and this is the first I've heard about it. Would you consider this cheating? I've heard some people call this, "using resources" or "using all tools available"..

    Anyway, it's all very frustrating. I am not a competitive person so people getting better grades than me doesn't bother me-- but the fact that if I fail a class, the school wont hesitate to kick me out-- and those who cheat are rewarded with good grades and a degree in the end, bothers the hell out of me..
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    If you're collaborating with others on an exam, then yes, that it cheating. And I don't buy unintentional. How can they even say they "didn't realize it was cheating" with a straight face? If you can't get through nursing school (or any advanced degree) with morals and ethics intact, I seriously question someone's ability to function in the role of RN (or pharmacist, or engineer, etc) with morals and ethics.
    I absolutely believe that students like this should be removed from the program. I'd be willing to bet that they all were given a copy of, read (hopefully), signed and returned a copy of expectations and rules that are demanded of a professional student. To claim "oh, I didn't realize" or "but everyone else was doing it" is a lame cop out, IMO.
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    Quote from ColleenRN2B
    If you're collaborating with others on an exam, then yes, that it cheating. And I don't buy unintentional. How can they even say they "didn't realize it was cheating" with a straight face? If you can't get through nursing school (or any advanced degree) with morals and ethics intact, I seriously question someone's ability to function in the role of RN (or pharmacist, or engineer, etc) with morals and ethics.
    I absolutely believe that students like this should be removed from the program. I'd be willing to bet that they all were given a copy of, read (hopefully), signed and returned a copy of expectations and rules that are demanded of a professional student. To claim "oh, I didn't realize" or "but everyone else was doing it" is a lame cop out, IMO.
    I don't completely disagree with you, especially when it comes to the midterm at my school. With the students in Arizona, I can see where some confusion may have come in, especially since one of the group's instructors told them to take it as a group in the library.

    If I am being honest though, I do think intent is a consideration. Sometimes the rules are a little blurry. For example, there was an assignment in one of the online classes where everyone was given a topic to write a paper on. One student sent another student their paper to show how they configured it. Neither student was cheating or doing anything designed to give the other an unfair advantage. One student was confused at how it should be formatted and the other gave it to her to show her how they did it. The student accidentally uploaded the other student's paper, notified the teacher what happened the teacher called both students in front of the board and they were both reprimanded for 'collaborating on an assignment meant to be done separately'. Both papers were on completely different topics and written completely different and the students honestly didn't realize this would be an issue. Fortunately, neither student was dismissed as they are both great, honest people. I would never have thought twice about showing another student my work to proof read or to get opinions on the formatting, etc. Would you consider this also a no-tolerance issue? I'm genuinely curious.
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    I did a significant portion of my RN degree online. If ever I was "confused" about an assignment, I asked my instructor---NOT a fellow student. That's why the instructors are there. If your example is spelled out in the honesty policy signed by the student, then I absolutely feel its a no-tolerance issue. What if your fellow student gives you absolute crap advice about formatting or proofreading? This is why you get help from the instructor. THEY know exactly what it is they are looking for on an assignment.

    Quote from moonchild86
    I don't completely disagree with you, especially when it comes to the midterm at my school. With the students in Arizona, I can see where some confusion may have come in, especially since one of the group's instructors told them to take it as a group in the library.

    If I am being honest though, I do think intent is a consideration. Sometimes the rules are a little blurry. For example, there was an assignment in one of the online classes where everyone was given a topic to write a paper on. One student sent another student their paper to show how they configured it. Neither student was cheating or doing anything designed to give the other an unfair advantage. One student was confused at how it should be formatted and the other gave it to her to show her how they did it. The student accidentally uploaded the other student's paper, notified the teacher what happened the teacher called both students in front of the board and they were both reprimanded for 'collaborating on an assignment meant to be done separately'. Both papers were on completely different topics and written completely different and the students honestly didn't realize this would be an issue. Fortunately, neither student was dismissed as they are both great, honest people. I would never have thought twice about showing another student my work to proof read or to get opinions on the formatting, etc. Would you consider this also a no-tolerance issue? I'm genuinely curious.
    Meriwhen likes this.
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    Maybe I'm naive, but I believe my classmate (student in question) 100% about that particular situation. I don't believe that is spelled out in our rules, either, I've reread them and while some are indisputable, there is wording that seems to allow interpretation. "Collaborating on an assignment meant to be done individually" is the umbrella it fell under, but still, I wouldn't have thought twice about asking a friend to take a look at my paper (or taking a look at a friends) before that happened. And why destroy someone's future when you can't prove that they aren't telling the truth?? :/
    NICU:) likes this.
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    In some ways I agree. They should not be taking a test together. But writing a paper can be confusing. Especially when, like me, you write MLA for so long and then switch to APA. I do not think looking at another's formatting is cheating. If the teacher told me to take the test together then I would have probably taken the test together. I tend to do a lot of communicating with teachers. Many of them are still vague with their vague directions. It gets frustrating and confusing. I do not think its morals. I think it is what the teachers say it is. Personally, at my school, we would have had a proctored test. If they DO NOT want people taking it together than they would have had it proctored. Just my opinion.
    newhospicern likes this.
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    I agree.,
    newhospicern likes this.
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    Quote from NICU:)
    In some ways I agree. They should not be taking a test together. But writing a paper can be confusing. Especially when, like me, you write MLA for so long and then switch to APA. I do not think looking at another's formatting is cheating. If the teacher told me to take the test together then I would have probably taken the test together. I tend to do a lot of communicating with teachers. Many of them are still vague with their vague directions. It gets frustrating and confusing. I do not think its morals. I think it is what the teachers say it is. Personally, at my school, we would have had a proctored test. If they DO NOT want people taking it together than they would have had it proctored. Just my opinion.
    I agree with you.. I think that when it comes to online classes, they need to SPELL out what is considered unacceptable. I've taken online classes in the past where teachers have explicitly said that books aren't to be used for exams-- I've had other teachers say that it is a 'given' that all online classes are open book. So which is it? I have no problem with the rules being the same for online/in person exams-- but there does seem to be a misconception that online=open book. (I'm just using open book as an example).
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    Quote from moonchild86
    I have heard through the grapevine (so this may not be true) that students are getting help from upper class-men. Not verbatim test questions, but round about what to expect a question to cover, as they highlighted things their notes directly after exams-- and have passed on these things to students in our class. These are obviously being held secret, as this has apparently been going on since last semester, and this is the first I've heard about it. Would you consider this cheating? I've heard some people call this, "using resources" or "using all tools available"..

    Anyway, it's all very frustrating. I am not a competitive person so people getting better grades than me doesn't bother me-- but the fact that if I fail a class, the school wont hesitate to kick me out-- and those who cheat are rewarded with good grades and a degree in the end, bothers the hell out of me..

    This is so wrong! I have been beating myself up over my test grades (wondering what was wrong with me etc.) and it turns out that others in my class have "tools" available to them that I don't have access to. In other words, notes and study reviews from students in a previous class.

    Heck yes I think it's cheating but I can't prove it - I just overheard it.

    Sigh...
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    I had an A& P class in which the professor had been teaching the same class for 20 yrs. He would have 3 copies of each test. At the top of the test it had which version (A,B,C) and the date he created it (20 yrs old). The fraternities had all three copies of the test to study for the exam. After he graded the test he told the class that it apparent that many of the students had a copy of the test. So he threw out those scores and made us retake the test. Obviously having a PHD does not make you smart because he gave us another version of the 20 yr old test. Was he seriously expecting no one to have a copy of that test?
    nguyency77 likes this.


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