Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cheating, Investment, and Technogogy

We are in the middle of a reassessment of our honor code and have been thinking about ways to make it more visible in our daily lives on campus.  With that in mind, I just read through this NYT article on cheating at Stuyvesant HS, and a few things struck me.  One of the students who admitted to cheating, blamed his academic dishonesty on his lack of respect for his French teacher; he asks, “When it came to French class, where the teacher had literally taught me nothing all year, and during the final the students around me were openly discussing the answers, should I not listen?”
I hate to admit this, but he has a point, at least in part.  This goes back to the issue of personal investment in an academic courses that I brought up a few days ago.  I think I undervalued the importance in student investment for preventing academic dishonesty:  to my mind, students are less likely to cheat in a course, if they have respect for the course, namely, for the instructor, the material, and especially their role as a student.  I can't help but think that if this student really enjoyed his French class and was personally interested in the material, he would have acted differently.  But I wonder if this is a naive view on my part, given the "make or break" attitudes toward college these days...?

Additionally, I found it stunning that the interim principal of Stuyvesant has banned the use of laptops and iPads on campus during the day, which goes directly against the "1:1" movement that many schools, including ours, are pushing.  I think I've undervalued the concern for cheating in pushing for more "technogogy" in schools and it's a concern I indeed want to address with faculty but I don't see how electronic prohibition will help to prevent cheating and facilitate us moving forward with technology.  Many of the methods outlined in the article had nothing to do with electronic devices, and students who are intent on cheating will always find a way.  So, the issue of academic dishonesty is something to keep an eye on, as we push forward with our 1:1 movement and curricula redesigns.