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At Least 1,500 Students in Ireland Cited for Misconduct
Plus, Course Hero and me. Plus, Indian engineering exams hacked. Plus, Maitland Jones Jr.
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At Least 1,500 Students in Ireland Cited for Cheating
The Irish Mirror has a good summary of academic misconduct cases in the Emerald Isle - at least 1,500 in the past two or three academic years. They report:
Trinity College Dublin and TU Dublin reported the highest numbers of cases with more than 1,000 instances of students trying to cheat at exams or in assignments at the two universities.
Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) said it expelled two students for cheating since 2019. Meanwhile, in over just two years Trinity College had:
445 cases of suspected cheating in the academic years between 2019 and 2021
They expelled none.
The University of Galway reported “more than 110 cases of academic cheating over the past three years” while Maynooth University said it had “just over 200 cases of academic cheating over the past three years.” Dublin City University (DCU) said they “had 99 cases of plagiarism, exam regulations breaches, or other suspected cheating” over two years and the University of Limerick said it had “dealt with 65 cases of cheating by various means” over three years.
My favorite bit from the Mirror story is this quote from officials at the University of Galway who said plagiarism cases were referred for action only when - and this is a quote:
“the level of cheating is so substantial in volume as to have a serious impact on the academic integrity of the work”.
So, I guess a non-substantial volume of cheating doesn’t have a serious impact on the academic integrity of the work. Good to know.
Ubiquity of Misconduct and Maitland Jones Jr.
The story of NYU organic chemistry professor Maitland Jones Jr. has received quite a bit of attention in the last few weeks. It’s replete with contemporary education storylines and emotions - most of which are relevant and important.
I won’t retell the story or splash around in the headline issues. At least not here.
I will though point out that in the initial New York Times story linked above is this passage:
Many students were having other problems. Kent Kirshenbaum, another chemistry professor at N.Y.U., said he discovered cheating during online tests.
When he pushed students’ grades down, noting the egregious misconduct, he said they protested that “they were not given grades that would allow them to get into medical school.”
Cheating is happening wherever anyone wants to look for it. This story was not about academic misconduct but there it is anyway - cheating during online tests. And, to underline the frightening and obvious, cheating in medical school track courses.
Indian Engineering Exams Hacked, Cheated
There are several news reports of yet another a high profile cheating scandal in India - this one of the JEE, the college entrance exam in engineering. Authorities have made an arrest.
Basically, the test fraud involved taking remote control of an examinee’s computer and, with the aid of an advance copy of test questions, filling in the answers. So far, the hacked exams appear to have been completed at a private test center, where employees participated in the fraud. The company and conspirator who sold the cheating were reportedly paid about $18,000 for a favorable school admissions outcome.
And an obvious question - if these students need to cheat to get into an engineering program, what do we think they will do once they’re in? But at least Indian officials caught the fraud and took action - at least that’s something.
Course Hero and Me
As industrial cheating companies go, Course Hero is especially pernicious. Even in a room of notoriously unethical actors, Course Hero’s shamelessness and deceptive marketing stand out.
In addition to selling on-demand answers to test and exam and homework questions - even during the exam (see Issue 97) - the company allows anyone to upload copyrighted course and exam and instructional materials to their website, items the company in turn “licenses” to others for profit. All someone has to do is literally check a box saying they have the rights to whatever they are uploading, even though they nearly never do.
Usually, the cost of their business model falls on instructors who write their syllabi, tests and other course materials. Though the cost is also shared by the schools who pay those teachers to develop and deliver unique academic programs. But occasionally, having Course Hero sell your work for their profit falls on others outside the academic academy - in this case, me.
In a cursory review, I’ve found that Course Hero has, and is licensing for profit, a handful of articles I’ve written for newspapers and magazines - articles for which I unquestionably own the rights and did not authorize anyone, especially Course Hero, to use.
The company is selling rights to use this article by me, published in Forbes, from 2018. They are selling the rights to this piece, by me, published in the Washington Post in 2020. And this one, also in Forbes. All in, there are probably five.
Couse Hero has a way for people whose copyrighted material is being misused to get it removed, though it’s long and complicated. And I don’t know if they’ve already profited from my work. I am sure they won’t tell me or send me the proceeds.
It is, of course, much, much harder to get something removed from Course Hero than it is to add it - which is clearly by design. Nonetheless, I will wade in and try to get Course Hero to stop rewarding their investors by selling my work. I will let you know how that goes.
If you’d like to know how to see how much of your work is inappropriately being “licensed” by Course Hero, whether specifically to facilitate cheating or in general, see Issue 92.
ICAI Calls for Conference Submissions
The International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) has put out a call for submissions and presentations for their upcoming conference, in March in Indianapolis.
Details are in the link.