What is Cheating?
A Cell Biology professor in the core course assigns a problem set. It is not clear to the class whether the assignment will be graded, but it is clearly required. Three first year students share an apartment in the student residence hall. Two of those students work together on the problem set. The third student, Miss Conscience, feel uncomfortable about their joint effort and works alone. On the next class day, Conscience notices two other students copying the problem answers from yet another student just as the class is beginning. Miss Conscience is furious about all this behavior, but says nothing. Later in the year, during a meeting with her Advisory Committee, she complains that there is much cheating.
- Are the students who worked together at home wrong?
- Are the students who copied the problem in class wrong?
- Is Conscience wrong in her delay in confronting/reporting?
- What about the professor's responsibility?
- What is an "honor system"? Would one work here? If the answer is "no" then how can we trust research conduct?
Ten graduate students are enrolled in a course in neuroendocrinology that is also open to other students in the Consortium, and many of the latter group have taken the course in recent years. They have heard from their friends at their colleges that the professor gives the same test questions year after year. Indeed, there is a file of old exams at ABC College. Two of the students from ABC use that file, unbeknownst to the XYZ students. Finally, after the end of the course, one of the XYZ students finds out.
- What should the student do?
Cite this page:
"What is Cheating?"
Online Ethics Center for Engineering
National Academy of Engineering
Accessed: Sunday, May 19, 2013