Thursday, 13 March 2008

Is it cheating if it's on Facebook?

A story was published on Monday in the Montreal Gazette concerning a first year computer engineering student at Ryerson University in Toronto. He was the administrator of a virtual study group on Facebook, where 146 of his classmates discussed solutions to homework problems. The student has been accused of academic misconduct and could be expelled from the University. His hearing was yesterday, as reported in the Global and Mail, and he will be informed of his fate within five days.

The story prompted many commentaries, including one on Stephen Downes' blog and another on Emma Duke-Williams' blog, about whether a virtual study group is any different from the usual collaboration that takes place in the canteen. Was it naive of the lecturer to expect that the homework problems he set (which were individualised for each student in an effort to prevent cheating) would not be discussed?

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