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Emmy1234's avatar

Should I report these cheaters?

Asked by Emmy1234 (878 points ) December 9th, 2013

I am an adult first time college student in school with some extremely immature kids. I have a computer class that has been a joke most of the semester. The professor 1.doesn’t actually grade our work she just makes sure it is done and gives full credit 2.doesn’t show up to class half the time 3.doesn’t alert us when we aren’t having class 4.is a coach for the softball team, and really doesn’t give a crap about anything. We have discussion questions weekly that we submit on a discussion board and can be viewed and commented about by our classmates. I did my discussion question the other day and submitted and when I checked back and read other’s discussions 2 students had almost verbatim copied what I wrote. I am torn if I should just leave it alone or say something. I work hard on everything I submit and it irritates me that someone would put such little effort into something and steal my work. I don’t think the teacher would see it because I don’t think she reads our responses and if she did see I doubt she would report it because the 2 girls that copied are athletes. Plus I’m going into computer studies if I report it will it potentially cause problems for me in the future? What if this teacher and other students I have to work with on a regular basis in the future. Maybe I should comment of the 2 girls submissions “Wow that looks a lot like my work!” If this happened to you….What would you do?

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23 Answers

Emmy1234's avatar

Oh and I should say my submission has the time I submitted on it as do their’s so it is obvious that my submission was the one they copied.

After_dinner_trivia's avatar

I reckon you should report them, or at least bring it up with the 2 girls. If nothing comes of it, then It’s their loss, they will learn that when they are in a controlled exam or a job and can’t come up with any work. If the Teacher is really as bad as you have described, it may be worth reporting the teacher to her boss/head.

Emmy1234's avatar

I’m not going to see them anymore this semester because that class just finished Friday. @After_dinner_trivia. Should I call them out on the discussion board for everyone to see?

DWW25921's avatar

What a bummer of a class… That sounds awful! If the teacher isn’t teaching what do you do? Talk to the dean, administration or something? There’s probably protocol in the student handbook. I would use that first just to make sure your complaint goes through proper channels. Yes, I would complain. This is your education and it’s being messed with!

After_dinner_trivia's avatar

That’s not a bad idea, some other students who may have noticed or had similar problems might back you up or speak up too. Definitly follow @DWW25921 ‘s advice about administration and the student handbook, ensure someone above your tutor is aware.

gorillapaws's avatar

I wouldn’t address the students directly. I would first approach the teacher, and then someone like the dean if the professor seems indifferent regarding the plagiarism (reference the specific violation in your school’s code of conduct). When the girls get in trouble (and they should), they won’t know it was you that complained (since either the teacher or another student could just have easily spotted it).

Emmy1234's avatar

I’d post it for you all to see but not sure how to attach on here

livelaughlove21's avatar

The semester is over. Not only that, but you said yourself that the teacher doesn’t even look at your work. So does it really matter? You can call them out on the discussion board, but I wouldn’t go any further than that.

In my Developmental Psychology course this semester, I sat next to a girl that was blatantly cheating on a quiz we were taking by copying off of an index card on her lap. It pissed me off because, really? It was a 10-point quiz on two pages of notes and she’d rather cheat than spend ten minutes looking over it beforehand? But I didn’t say anything to anyone. I guess the whole “don’t be a tattle-tale” lesson from childhood really stuck with me. I go to class, do my work, and go home. What everyone else does is their business.

Since they were cheating off of you, it became your business. However, I’d leave it alone with this particular class. If you worked hard on something in a class in which the professor actually gave a shit, it might be worth addressing. That’s obviously not the case.

gorillapaws's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Fuck that. If someone is cheating, it’s your duty to report them. When people get ahead, it should be because they’re the best, not because they feel like they’re above the rules and better than everyone else.

After_dinner_trivia's avatar

@gorillapaws has a good point actually, if the students are immature enough to copy your work they will probably take it personally and think you are out to get them or something. I think you should inform the Tutor and if nothing is done, go straight to the Dean.

Emmy1234's avatar

Lots of different opinions on here! The only thing I’m worried about with reporting is the repercussions I might receive because the college is all about their sports players. I’m torn…I think its BS that they cheated but no I don’t want to be a “tattle tale” as @livelaughlove21 put it. Why can’t they just do their own stuff and leave me alone! I see the future of our nation at this college and it quite frankly scares me!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

When cheaters hurt only themselves, I leave it alone.

When cheaters hurt others, I call them out.

Either way, it seems you have learned something about human nature that wasn’t necessarily on the curriculum. Good for you.

glacial's avatar

I’m with @livelaughlove21. You have nothing to gain by reporting it, and you have nothing to lose by not reporting it. It’s clear because of the date stamps that you are the first person to have posted the answer. So, the options are (1) the prof didn’t notice, or (2) the prof noticed and is choosing not to act, or (3) the prof noticed and is choosing to act, just not that you’re aware of.

My own experience being a teaching assistant for several years is that my attitude towards cheating shifts over time. I detest the thought that my students might cheat, partly because it’s a waste of my time, but mostly because it’s an insult to the students who are working hard to get a good grade. But catching cheaters is a huge problem. Depending on the institution, there may be very little support for a teacher who reports cheating. Some institutions are more afraid of lawsuits from students than they are of having their academic reputations sullied.

So, my approach is to make it very difficult for students to cheat. This makes the grade meaningful, and it reduces (not eliminates) the risk that I’ll catch someone cheating. But that’s just me. I have known other TAs and profs as well who simply ignore cheating, because they know the student will not be punished, and it’s a waste of time and emotion trying to get it dealt with. For a lot of these people, their attitude is, “The only person the student is cheating is themselves.” This is a valid point – in higher education, each student is there to acquire knowledge and skill. And whether or not they get a degree, if they don’t have the knowledge, they are the ones who are cheated. The other attitude I encounter is, “The cheating student can’t cheat their way to a pass, because there are different types of assignments in the course. So what if they cheat on an assignment – they can’t pass a final.” Sometimes this is true, sometimes not. On average, it’s probably true. I haven’t adopted either of these attitudes yet, but I grow increasingly aware that I don’t have the kind of time that I need to put into these teaching jobs that is required to catch cheaters. I need to invest my time in prevention, and then spend less time watching for it to occur. So, I think it is inevitable that my thoughts on the matter will eventually change.

My point is that a lot goes on that students are not aware of. There is a lot of cheating. More than you can guess. We get tired of it, and we get tired of not being able to make a difference in it. You’ve made some accusations here about your teacher – she doesn’t seem to care about the course or her students. If that’s really true, I don’t see what reporting these students is going to gain anyone. If it’s not true, then you’ve created an antagonistic situation with your prof over nothing. A complaint to the dean will probably result in nothing. It is the prof’s responsibility to deal with the problem, and the chain of command will have to be followed. Report it, or don’t report it – but it is futile to spend your energy worrying about what will happen to these students, or about your prof’s lack of attentiveness or outrage.

Emmy1234's avatar

All of my accusations about my professor are true with an exception of “really doesn’t give a crap about anything” that’s my personal opinion derived from 1–4. We’ve had as many cancelled classes as ones that we have attended and many of those cancellations without notice. If the teacher can submit a grade within 3 seconds after I submit the work then she is not actually checking the work. This also was not a questionable instance of cheating its obvious and written in black and white. People like this do coast through and end up getting degrees. Yes, I agree that I may be wasting time even worrying about it because nothing will probably be done if I do report it because the teacher is worthless (my opinion). I pay for my education out of my bank account without grants or scholarships unlike these 2 athletes which get their college paid for and cheat their way through it. I expect to be taught by my teacher because I paid her to teach me and expect other classmates do their own work! @glacial
Whatever my decision may be I will take into account the opinions offered.

tedibear's avatar

I have a couple of questions:

1. Does your college have an honor code? (You would know because you would have signed it at some point.) If it does, it is likely that you are required to report the cheating. You should be able to check that with the Dean of Students.

2. Do you get to do a teacher & class evaluation at the end of the course? If so, this is where I would start with any comments and complaints.

3. Will you have this teacher again? If so, I might wait to see if the next class is handled the same way. If you get a couple of weeks into the semester and she is still handling the class in the same matter, I would arrange a private meeting with the department chairperson and/or the appropriate dean.

Her behavior is ridiculous! She needs to be called out, as do the other students. You just need to be careful in how you do that.

bolwerk's avatar

Reporting cheaters could be a bad idea depending on the school, but you should probably mention you suspect someone cheated off you so you don’t get in trouble too. If the prof doesn’t give a shit, wash your hands of it.

Emmy1234's avatar

@tedibear
1. Yes, signed the honor code but it doesn’t say anything about if I discovered someone copied my work and what my obligation is. It mainly just covers not cheating as an individual person.
2. I did the class eval but didn’t write anything to elaborate because I was suspicious of who would see it and if they would recognize my hand writing. It was a color in the bubbles eval.
3. I don’t know if I will have her again. That’s why I’m questioning what I should do!

deni's avatar

I’d report them, for sure. Why not? Probably if the teacher is as big a ditz as you say she is, she might not even do much about it. But if she does, good, those kids need to learn a lesson sooner or later anyhow.

yankeetooter's avatar

Yes, as @tedibear says, but I would honestly never take that teacher again. Discussion board questions are well and good, and if well done, may successfully gauge your understanding of programming concepts, but actually applying the learned material is much more important. If she was grading your “real” assignments that way, I would be much more concerned. As others have said, if these girls cannot even handle a Discussion Board question without copying someone else’s work, they’re not going to get very far.

LilCosmo's avatar

I would probably not report the students, but I would be very specific in my review of the teacher. I know that in all of my college courses I was given the opportunity to give feedback on the course and the instructor. If you have the same opportunity be honest. Share what you have shared here about her constant cancellations, tacitly allowing cheating, etc. I know our professors and department heads see these reviews and take them quite seriously. If you aren’t given a survey, you might take the time to share you experience in and disappointment with this teacher/class with the department head.

hearkat's avatar

I would also report the teacher… you didn’t really get your money’s worth on that one; and by clearly not giving a crap, the teacher sets the stage for easy cheating by the students. Bad professors can ruin the reputation of a school – bad students are gone within a few years.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

You are paying for the class aren’t you? I want my money’s worth in all things, goods or services. I would expect the person teaching me to actually teach. If your books were misssing several pages, would you just let it be? Let her know your belief about those other papers, and never again let a whole semester go by with a prof who isn’t taking their job seriously.

rojo's avatar

Acceptance of this kind of crap is an ongoing negative for society. They should not receive credit for work they have not done. Turn them in.

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