Monday, March 24, 2008


It is midterm season, and I have elected to punish myself this year by giving short answer exams (rather than multiple choice). I have done this partially to make up for the fact that I have given them no writing assignments. Normally, I assign either two short (3-5 pages) papers or one longer paper (5-7 pages). But I just couldn't bring myself to read them this semester. It is a soul destroying, disheartening process. So I went with the short answer/essay exams.

I realized after I turned in one of my exams to be copied that there was a term leftover from a previous edition of the exam that I didn't go over specifically in class. Because I am fair, I told my students that that question would be extra credit. When I was reading through the exams, I noticed that one of my students had an extremely technical answer. In fact, it was so technical, I had to look it up to see if it was correct or not. And upon looking it up on teh interwebs, what did I find? The answer was copied from a Wikipedia article.


I am used to getting papers plagiarized almost exclusively from wikipedia entries, but this is the first time a student has done this on an exam. This student must have used a blackberry under his desk to surf the internet and look up the answers. As a professor, what am going to do about this? I mean, I know what to do with this student - he fails the midterm and will likely fail the class. But what do I do in future exams? I am not allowed to collect their cell phones prior to class because of insurance purposes. I guess I will have to have them leave their cellphones on their desks in a place where I can see them.


1 comment:

  1. That may sound harsh, but for me that's a "failed" and a report to the responsible professor.

    If you let these people get away with this kind of behaviour, they will just carry on with it.

    Next thing you know, this is one of your future presidents. It has already happened and you have seen the results of that...