Wednesday, September 23, 2009

dishonest clicking.

I have been asked what I mean by my word of honor. I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls-- ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground - there is a possibility that in some way or another I will escape; but stand me on a floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of the Circle? No. Never! I would die first.
-Karl G. Maeser

for those reading that are unfamiliar with byu's ways and practices, this story will take a little bit of explanation. basically, when you sign apply to byu, and each year you continue, you agree to the byu honor code. it consists of a few basic groups of rules and standards you agree to uphold during your attendance at byu. some included are following church standards of dress and grooming, the word of wisdom (see link for explanation), and of course, academic honesty. it's nice because although i'd imagine you agree to something similar in regard to academic honesty no matter where you attend, at byu so much emphasis is placed on the students having agreed to follow the honor code that the professors are willing to trust the students with a lot more. and to be fair, i've rarely seen students abuse that trust.

on that note, i've a story to relate. if ever i have been tempted to cheat here at byu, i am no longer after this experience. in my biology class, we use iclickers throughout the lesson. they're basically little remotes that every student brings to class in order to answer multiple choice questions posed by the professor. each has an indavidual frequency making it possible for students to recieve credit for answering the question correctly, or answering at all. in this class, something like one point is given for a correct response and two points is given for just showing up to lecture and even being able to answer. well, twas a sad day for karl to look down upon, and a remarkably uncomfortable one for everyone else present. after one such question was posed by the professor, he asked for someone to explain his or her chosen answer. one eager student a few rows ahead of me raised his hand, and the professor called on him as he walked up the isle toward the student. the conversation between the teacher and student proceeded as follows, the professor speaking first.

"alright, go ahead and tell us why you chose c."
"well, i just saw..."
"wait. why do you have three iclickers sitting on your desk?"
"are you clicking in for students who aren't here?"
(mumbling) "um... no, i..."
"i think you are. that's academic dishonesty."

(a few second pause)

"well, i, i mean..."
"no, it is. you and i both know it."

(ten second pause. the entire class of around 150 students is dead quiet.)

"um... well... i..."
"alright. fine. well then. what was your answer?"
"um... it was... uh... i think..."
"fine. somebody else."

at this point, the entire class is so uncomfortable that we're all just scrambling to move on. thankfully some kid blurted out an answer vaguely connected to the given question and completely incorrect. everone was grateful for it as it made the professor correct him and move on. the kid, though, was able to have his crew of friends surrounding him pat him on the back and whisper (i'm assuming) assurances to him that the teacher was an idiot anyway.

yes, this was probably the most uncomfortable i've ever been in an academic situation. i felt bad for the kid, but at the end of the day, what was he thinking? honestly. you want to cheat, that's you're own choice. but to then be drawing attention to yourself, and then to be showing off the tools of your mischief, seriously. have a little tact.

as a follow up, after class the professor came up to the student and said, "i have the right to flunk you right now, take those i clickers and find their owners and flunk them all as well unless you did it without their permission." at this point i was too uncomfortable to stay and left before i found out if it was just a threat or something more. either way, that really must have ruined that kid's day.

so anyway, for as uncomfortable as i was simply being in the presence of this taking place, i can only imagine how i would feel being responsible. not like cheating was a huge temptation before, but it certainly isn't now. maybe professors should stage something like that at the beginning of each semester... use it as a learning tool.

anyway, there's the story. outside of this delightful experience, things are going well. nothing too exciting to report on, really, but things are going well. hope the same for all of you. so long.

1 comment:

  1. I think the only thing that will save us is that people stupid enought to cheat are, well, stupid. There are people in my program posting links to their "for sale" essays on the college community board. Brillance strike again!