Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Enabling students to cheat

http://chronicle.com/article/The-Shadow-Scholar/125329/

Right from the horses mouth. Someone who wants to be a writer so bad they will choose to write papers deceptively. But this person asks us to overlook this minor indiscretion in favor of the bigger picture. The bigger picture is WHY students request this service:
An education system that somehow failed?
A lazy student who couldn't be bothered to do any work?
Or rather a student who did more work prepping the cheater to be successful so they could be free of this hassle?

"It is my hope that this essay will initiate such a conversation. As for me, I'm planning to retire. I'm tired of helping you make your students look competent."

Thanks. Conversation initiated. I am glad you are retiring. I also hope your business has not been passed on.

I don't believe you were ever asked by teachers to make our students look competent. Rather we expected to our students to WANT to be competent. That want is motivation. But that alone is not enough. At some point you have to DO. You have to strive to achieve that which you are not capable of doing now, or capable of doing without help.

We ask beg our students to seek help when they need it. The best professors always offer help and guidance. We have not enabled them like you have. We have demanded improvement, self motivation, commitment, and LEARNING. As I demonstrated in one class, knowledge is not served on a silver platter for the taking. It is acquired, over time, with work and practice.

You gave them an alternative. An easier alternative albeit expensive. You enabled them to be lazy.

I have no qualms with pointing fingers at our education system. Part of it is institutional involving "teaching to the test". Part of it may be the teachers (some old that don't care, some young that don't know how, some that are not passionate, and some that have no choice but to be a glorified teen-sitter). part of it may be generational (tried and true teaching methods may no longer be working in the age of internet "knowledge" ... "I can just look that up why do I need to remember that fact").

Convenient that he can not remember the clients' name. Perhaps revealing who these people are might help the "conversation" you have started. It might help to explain why some of them are in leadership roles who can't lead, bosses who are idiots, or prevent real thinkers from advancing into roles where they can be most useful.

It only gets worse when you contribute to the problem and then leave it for someone else to clean up. Thanks for the legacy. Release the names of your clients. Post it on Google. Thesis titles too please. I know those are easy to look up.

The generational divide is causing more problems than I know how to fathom. The problems are non-linear and cumbersome and difficult to divide and conquer as is. Enabling is a symptom of this. Your lack of perspective and moral consequences will be remembered. Most importantly, don't be confused. You are no scholar. A scholar would be concerned with ethics because the process and the work are important.