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philosophy and religion » Ethics in Education

nny's avatar
10 years ago
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nny
M̮͈̣̙̰̝̃̿̎̍ͬa͉̭̥͓ț̘ͯ̈́t̬̻͖̰̞͎ͤ̇ ̈̚J̹͎̿̾ȏ̞̫͈y̭̺ͭc̦̹̟̦̭̫͊̿ͩeͥ̌̾̓ͨ
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newsvideo/wei … -rant.html

An interesting viewing.

When I was in college way back in the day, I remember a large number of people did in fact cheat. In fact, one time a professor actually thanked me for being the only person in a programming class to turn in a program with any real variation from the program every one submitted. He actually showed me people who had submitted projects with the exact same code comments. One guy didn't even change his name in the comment field.

That being said, 600 students? 200 admitted? Jesus.

Also... way to use a test bank. Jesus. That's not education, that's a load of bullshit.

I dunno who I am angrier at. The students or the school. They are both morally bankrupt.
nny's avatar
10 years ago
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nny
M̮͈̣̙̰̝̃̿̎̍ͬa͉̭̥͓ț̘ͯ̈́t̬̻͖̰̞͎ͤ̇ ̈̚J̹͎̿̾ȏ̞̫͈y̭̺ͭc̦̹̟̦̭̫͊̿ͩeͥ̌̾̓ͨ
Jesus is this lovely fellow who delivers my pizza. He was knocking at my door. Nice guy really. He got me a bag of potato chips for free. Good people that guy.
bsdlite's avatar
10 years ago
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bsdlite
thinks darkness is his ally
i keep seeing similar comments about how vile test banks are.

what is so wrong about using a test bank? how is writing new questions for every exam "moral"?
nny's avatar
10 years ago
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nny
M̮͈̣̙̰̝̃̿̎̍ͬa͉̭̥͓ț̘ͯ̈́t̬̻͖̰̞͎ͤ̇ ̈̚J̹͎̿̾ȏ̞̫͈y̭̺ͭc̦̹̟̦̭̫͊̿ͩeͥ̌̾̓ͨ
This is largely editorial.

Basically test banks may as well be considered public access. students CAN get access to a test bank. And this isn't the first time its happened. So very very far from the first.

Now you may argue the onus is on the students to be ethical. But as you can see from this guys class, and a million and one psychological experiments groups tend to do stupid shit when presented with the option to do so and an incentive to do so. So, assuming you aren't the alert professor that this guy was who was actually checking for a statistical norm in his grade curves, you know, the sort of professor that might use a test bank rather than come up with their own exam questions? Assuming this occurs and you don't catch it... or you only catch it one in 10 times. Then, you have corrupted grading data sets repeatedly. What's worse is students that do not cheat end up facing a higher grade curve, and suffering as a result. The way I see it, the victims here are not professors who use test banks. They are the students who do the right thing. The professor is just enabling the cheaters by being lazy.

And I get that it's hard to come up with good questions. I get it that teachers do get a bit overworked when attempting to teach 600 students ( just for a single class and probably teaching several such groups ). Personally I think that's a horrendous problem and a breach of ethics mind you, but that's just my opinion. The fundamental issue I have with the use of the test bank here, is this wasn't a quiz. This wasn't some weekly or bi-weekly test. This was a midterm, and apparently the test bank that was compromised was used to build their final exam as well. That's not cool. You can come up with at least one unique exam per semester. That's your job as a professor. If you can't do that, then you need to offload some work, offload some students, or close down the class.

Simple fact is the goal of education is not to process kids as they read a text book. That's not education. That's a complete waste of everyone's time and money. Teaching means providing instruction to your students and grading them on what they have learned from you. Not here's the text book I'll go autogen you a test to make sure you read it. Hell this is why MIT only does pass fail in their first year. Because truthfully, the grades don't even matter that much. It's a matter of whether or not you know the material well enough to use it. And that's the only goal.

It's because of classes structured like this that the value of a degree has been steadily dropping over the past 20 years.
lucas's avatar
10 years ago
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lucas
i ❤ demo
yeah, i'll always work hard to ensure that my ethical and hard-working students are never at a disadvantage due to cheating or lazy enrollees.

test banks from publishers do sound like a bad idea. but a professor who has a bank of personally written question and answer pairs is fine. no one in my economics department uses anything from the text book in such a manner.
nny's avatar
10 years ago
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nny
M̮͈̣̙̰̝̃̿̎̍ͬa͉̭̥͓ț̘ͯ̈́t̬̻͖̰̞͎ͤ̇ ̈̚J̹͎̿̾ȏ̞̫͈y̭̺ͭc̦̹̟̦̭̫͊̿ͩeͥ̌̾̓ͨ
Hell my signals and systems teacher used the same notes and a variation of quiz / test questions for close to 50 years without a problem. No one is gonna compromise a private test bank.
nny's avatar
10 years ago
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nny
M̮͈̣̙̰̝̃̿̎̍ͬa͉̭̥͓ț̘ͯ̈́t̬̻͖̰̞͎ͤ̇ ̈̚J̹͎̿̾ȏ̞̫͈y̭̺ͭc̦̹̟̦̭̫͊̿ͩeͥ̌̾̓ͨ
This post is a response to the post from chicken in hate thread:

https://www.thinktankforums.com/thread.php?th … post-42364

Semi-relevant personal post I made in past:

http://www.music-piracy.com/?p=136

Reference to Interesting Harvard Magazine piece about PHD granting in touch economic climates:

http://harvardmagazine.com/2009/11/profession … in-academy


I guess I'll start with the blog post. I wrote a piece about a thought, concerning academia, I had after reading the Harvard Magazine piece. In technology, particularly you see a lot of degreeless folks reach high levels of success. There are a lot of diverse reasons for this. But the primary reason is that IT / advanced infosec fields are results driven, and easily measured against a logical metric. Either it works, or it doesn't. Experience trumps paperwork in every situation. When someone interviews for a role in one of these fields they expect to be grilled on their knowledge and prodded for past experience stories that might be relevant to their future work. In many cases people are recruited for a specific skillset they possess. Example: I could have a job literally tomorrow if I exploited my past HP skillsets. It's a highly specialized field, and knowledge is guarded as a trade secret.

So Chicken, at least in regards to the topics you are studying, I can say that hard work generally is rewarded, not on grading but at least a loose adherence to a functional industry wide meritocracy.

In reality, no role is immune to merit defeating tactics that have since the dawn of time have been employed by the morally bankrupt among us to corrupt the process by which people achieve wealth / power, and consequently responsibility. There is no simple solution to this. No rule set that can be universally applied without causing other problems that may very well be far worse. And so one is faced with a decision every now and again, that is very personal to them. Is it all right to do something you know to be "wrong", if it will advance your pursuit of happiness.

I was standing at a bar a few weekends ago in Berkeley, and this guy basically went out of his way to be a complete jerk to everyone around him... just so that the bar tender would serve him first if only to make him leave before he started a fight. I very much wanted to step on his neck and informed him of this desire. ( being six foot three has the advantage of making people think twice about fighting you ). I felt pretty good about the look of fear in his eyes when he stopped mid sentence when responding with some never to be completed insult. I have to date never gotten in a fight. =)

The thing that infuriates me about that though, is that people like that guy will never understand that what they are doing is wrong. They believe that it is absolutely normal and right and good to forsake other people they don't know so long as it serves their goals. They believe that anyone would gladly stab them in the back. The world they live in is a dark and twisted place. And nothing I say or do will ever change that. And those people, if they are smart enough, are destined to achieve a measure of success. Usually leaving a wake of bad karma in their wake.

It's at times when I consider that, that I regret not believing in god. If god existed for me, a hell would exist for them. I know that feeling this way is not in any way constructive. I know that logically concerning myself with it is an utter waste of time. But I still get headaches just thinking about people like that. I still have to deal with the fallout of these people's actions. And at the end of the day, occasionally I have to console someone ( sometimes myself ) when people act like fucking people.

I could tell you that being a better person will reward you in life. I'd be lying. It's just not the case. But, I can also tell you, that I have no choice but to be me. I know I have my failings in the eyes of others. And I do my best to limit the occasions those failings do impact others. But I am not about to seek some sort of justice when I know that it will have no functional impact on anything. I will just keep my head down. Do what I think needs to be done. And if anyone gets in my way, I'll do whatever I can to get back to what I was doing. Fuck them. They are not worth the effort.

Is that a solution? Not really. Competition is good. And sometimes necessary. But to participate, you need to deal with people that cheat. If you avoid them, you end up avoiding the competition or rendering yourself a huge disadvantage. And because of that, you miss out on a lot.

I suppose at the end of the day, it comes down to how much damage you are willing to tolerate in the hope of something. Act accordingly. Try not to lose a piece of yourself. And don't get disheartened by other people's failings. Most of the time, they really are pretty inconsequential. And occasionally... people do get what they deserve.

I follow a rule: Make the best decision I can with the information I have available. Don't regret making that choice, because you know you made the best choice you could. The rule has worked pretty well for me in the past concerning a number of choices ethical or not.

There is a defensive measure that works though. And that's called community. You surround yourself with people who are not of the nature of the people that cheat in life, and you will soon find yourself competing as a block instead of as a single person. And that... has power. People who would stab each other in the back rarely operate well in tandem.

So... that's an approach that may work for you. It has worked for me in the past.
dannyp's avatar
10 years ago
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dannyp
dʎuuɐp
great writeup :)
dannyp's avatar
10 years ago
r1, link
dannyp
dʎuuɐp
One of my professors has a pretty strong stance on cheating, which is a good thing in my mind, but one thing was ridiculous about it. This professor teaches a senior seminar and she does two sections per semester. Over the last few years she has tracked the test score data and shown improved marks on the second section repeatedly. As a result she decides to always curve against the entire first class section in comparison to these higher marks, punishing the earlier class as a whole because of this observed behavior. We were told this three fourths the way through the class.

This might not be a big deal from the perspective of the professor for stopping the incidence of cheating, but it's entirely unfair for individuals. Maybe this is supposed to be a self-regulating measure where we are supposed to report other individuals who we suspect are notifying students in the next class, but what the hell, how do we know who it is?

Sometimes the good intentioned are only good at intention instead of propagating good.