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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Ind. Gov't. - "Purdue tackles cheating dilemma"

The Lafayette Journal-Courier had this interesting story this weekend, reported by Meghan Holden. A few quotes from the long story:

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — During a final exam, a Purdue University student watched as a peer was caught cheating, then got away with it.

The course syllabus stated students would fail the course if they cheated, but the professor simply told the student to sit in a different seat. When the student who saw the dismissal went to the head of the department to report the situation, the student was accused of being a "snitch" and getting involved in other people's business.

"It is hard to put academic integrity in high regards when situations like this occur," the student wrote in a 2015 survey about academic integrity and dishonesty sent to Purdue students and faculty.

Several other students commented that they had witnessed professors ignore obvious cases of cheating, as well as some faculty members who said administrators fail to follow up on the cases or penalize the students when they do report them.

Ultimately, many students and faculty were left feeling disillusioned, and sometimes apathetic, with what they perceived as a culture of academic dishonesty at Purdue. One student even wrote, "Purdue does not really enforce any academic integrity policies, so why not just cheat?"

The notion that the campus community viewed cheating as commonplace was a cause for alarm among university leaders and sparked action to curb the trend. * * *

Purdue had 184 cases of academic dishonesty last semester, according to Stefancic. The number of cases was nearly double that last spring, at 335. Since fall 2014, the amount of cases each semester has averaged around 250.

The most common case of academic dishonesty is unauthorized collaboration, or when students work too closely together, he said.

About 40 percent of the 450 faculty who completed the academic integrity survey said inappropriate group collaboration occurs often or very often. These cases are more prevalent in colleges such as engineering in which group work regularly occurs as part of the curriculum, Stefancic said, and some students simply don't know when collaborating crosses the line. * * *

But one of the more complicated issues at Purdue is plagiarism. Some students just don't know what it means to plagiarize, Stefancic said, and they haven't learned how to properly cite or reference other documents.

Although it's a problem for many domestic students, he said, a portion of international students tend to have difficulties with the concept. About 35 percent of academic dishonesty cases involve international students, he said.

Yumin Gao, an engineering senior, said, "Back in China, we don’t necessarily need to cite any references."

In China, it's often acceptable to copy and paste part of someone else's work into your own paper without quoting the original author. The country's education system doesn't focus on ownership of ideas because information is viewed as belonging to the society as a whole.

Chinese students grew up in a collective culture, Gao said, so working with their classmates on assignments is also the norm.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 14, 2017 09:34 AM
Posted to Indiana Government