Thursday, April 01, 2010

Those cheating chemistry students...

In January 2010, IPBiz ran a post titled
Chemistry plagiarism at University of Kentucky?
, which suggested chemistry students were big cheaters at the University of Kentucky. Now we have an issue at the University of Texas. From the Daily Texan:

Each semester, one UT chemistry lecturer has at least 50 students in his or her classes who are unknowingly guilty of cheating when they use old information gleaned from online sources to answer exam, textbook or homework questions.

Chemistry lecturer Conrad Fjetland said most of these students — who use Web sites like, a “social learning network” — do not understand that using these materials is considered plagiarism. Course Hero and similar sites provide students with specific course information compiled from real classes and assignments. Its Facebook page currently has 265,415 fans.

“Using these sites as study aids is one thing, but when you go there specifically to find answers, that’s when you’ve crossed the line,” he said. “Some students don’t really specifically understand what plagiarism is. That’s the most common [example of cheating] I see. I basically tell the students that if you go to these sites and you look at this report, you have officially cheated in the course.”

Recall that cheating in the area of chemistry can happen before college entrance: The "red flag" was the appearance of hundreds of applications mentioning "burning a hole in pyjamas at age eight" working with a chemistry set.


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