Q: One of the instructors of a required freshman seminar gives out the exact content of the coursewide final exam in advance. A “study guide” rapidly spreads to hundreds of students, who use it to ace the exam — except for the one question subbed out at the last minute. This is:
E) Not Cheating
Welcome to Columbia University, where students are circling (E). Or they are on Bwog, at least, where we should admit upfront we’re getting 90 percent of our information on this four-alarm Ivy cheating scandal. (Spec has some more details and confirmations here.) Let’s back up and let Dr. Deborah Martinsen, a dean of the Core Curriculum, explain:
There has been an unfortunate breach in Lit Hum final exam security.
Notes identifying the quotations and sketching out the essay questions circulated among students prior to the exam. (We have one copy of these notes.)
THE TELL-TALE SIGN: Crime and Punishment – the students did not know of the last-minute quotation substitution.
SO, if any of your students identified the passage from Crime and Punishment as occuring in the Epilogue, chances are they had access to these notes. If the student correctly identified all of the other passages, chances are even greater. If they identified the exact Canto in Dante, they are very high indeed.
… WE WILL REQUIRE THAT ALL INSTRUCTORS SUBMIT ALL BLUE BOOKS TO THE CORE OFFICE.
It is, to quote another email from department chair Patricia Grieve, a “complicated situation.” Namely, the situation that hundreds of students may have cheated on the single-most important exam at Columbia College. But in the raging id of the Bwog comments section, the few students pointing that out are being shouted down by students who blame the professor, Martinsen, the course itself — basically, anyone and anything but themselves.
Posted by sophomore: I think it’s more wrong of the professor to put her students in such a situation: on one hand, they might have realized (but we can’t be sure of that) that they had an unfair advantage, but on the other hand, what were they supposed to do? Speak up and get their teacher in trouble right before a final?
Martinsen, get your fucking act together. Blame the PROF not the students. Understand the precedent you’re setting here. If you put the blame on the students and not on the professor, you have created a system where the teachers can now “trick” students into cheating.
Posted by obviously: just to get it straight, i don’t view any of this as cheating on behalf of the students.Posted by fy who never saw it: NO WAY. NONE OF THIS IS CHEATING.
Posted by lit hum bullshit: this is such bullshit. just because some teacher is incompetent and gives out the answers doesn’t mean that the rest of us should suffer.
That’s selective, of course, but go read the desperate screeds (there are a few particularly nasty ones) and see if you come up with a different take. In closing, we’ll turn the mike over to one last commenter.
Posted by word: For those of you who want to deny it, let me clarify for you: IT WAS CHEATING.