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  1. #21
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    The Harvard Crimson has a few more details:

    The final examination in “Introduction to Congress,” which included three multi-part short answer questions, a bonus short answer question, and an essay question

    Many of the questions were, ‘Find the answer and basically say why this is the way it is.’”

    Another student wrote that he or she joined about 15 other students at a teaching fellow’s office hours on the morning of May 3, just hours before the final take-home exam’s 5 p.m. deadline.

    “Almost all of [the students at office hours] had been awake the entire night, and none of us could figure out what an entire question (worth 20% of the grade) was asking,” the student wrote. “On top of this, one of the questions asked us about a term that had never been defined in any of our readings and had not been properly defined in class, so the TF had to give us a definition to use for the question.”


    That same student also expressed frustration that Platt had canceled his office hours the morning before the exam was due. In a brief email to the class just after 10 a.m. on May 3, Platt apologized for having to cancel his office hours on short notice that day due to an appointment.

    The instructions for the test are shown at the top of the page.

    May 3 was a Thursday; I wonder why none of the students went to see the professor on, say, Wednesday.

    http://www.thecrimson.com/article/20...esty-ad-board/

    The comments below the article are interesting--or some of them are, anyway.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    May 3 was a Thursday; I wonder why none of the students went to see the professor on, say, Wednesday.
    Creating drama!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    May 3 was a Thursday; I wonder why none of the students went to see the professor on, say, Wednesday.
    . Seriously? Because profs at Harvard usually have office hours only once a week at most. Profs are rarely in their offices otherwise, and you almost always need an appointment made at least a week in advance to see them. TF's are not that much more available. Many students rely on House tutors instead bc of the availability issue.

    Students could never just "stop by" to see a prof during exam period. If the prof cancels their hours, students are screwed.

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    the class isnt close to nanophysics, do people really need office hours and hand holding for a take home test? do they also need smiley stickers and hugs?
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    I think their defense is that they were lead to believe it was an easy class/test so they put it off tell the last minute. Then because the professor wasn't there to answer questions, they all panicked so decided to share notes, ideas and potentially actual test question answers....

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    Quote Originally Posted by tarotx View Post
    I think their defense is that they were lead to believe it was an easy class/test so they put it off tell the last minute. Then because the professor wasn't there to answer questions, they all panicked so decided to share notes, ideas and potentially actual test question answers....
    That would work for the first exam. But by the final they had to know what the prof and class were like.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    That would work for the first exam. But by the final they had to know what the prof and class were like.
    You would think but it doesn't seem like it...

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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    If the prof cancels their hours, students are screwed.
    Seriously? How did the students who AREN'T being accused of plagiarism manage? And how did they find information and use it without using language similiar enough to trigger plagiarism suspicion?

    Why weren't they screwed?

    Quote Originally Posted by tarotx View Post
    I think their defense is that they were lead to believe it was an easy class/test so they put it off tell the last minute. Then because the professor wasn't there to answer questions, they all panicked so decided to share notes, ideas and potentially actual test question answers....
    That does rather seem to to be the case according to the comments on the site, although such comments aren't exactly the most reliable. But there seems to be a pretty consistent theme of "the class was considered a gut course, people signed up accordingly, the professor had decided to make it harder, students were offended." Several people say the test was still easy.

    But I'm with jeffisjeff--if looking at a few tests triggered an examination of every test in the class, there was almost certainly evidence that more than note sharing was going on.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  9. #29
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    I took two courses at Harvard for their Harvard Summer Program back in the 80s. They ALWAYS stressed the honor code. It was ingrained in us. You cheat, you are expelled. Doesn't matter if it's a supposedly easy class or Animal Physiology. You do NOT cheat. I think there should be a zero tolerance policy. I ended up going to a private college in my home state instead of the Ivy, but even then the Honor Code was full force. It isn't high school where your parents can come in and complain and get you out of hot water. They cheated, end of story. It doesn't matter if 20% of the exam was a total WTF. In college I learned to go with the flow. If I scored the highest score with a 74, it will translate to an A usually. So many courses I took in college I never had close to a 90 or 93 average, yet being the top scorer I earned an A. These Harvard babies need to get it together. And not break the honor code. There are just some things that are bigger than an A in a bullshat course, and that is your HONOR.

    However these take home exams are strange. You could call up the foremost expert in the country if your family has strings to pull and get the answer, but discuss and complain amongst your fellow students is considered getting an upper hand up? Hmm.

    I graduated with a 3.99 from college, and the only B I made was total and complete bullshat. It was an impossible class and this jerk gave no A's that semester. I didn't cheat, I just went with the flow. I'm still mad about that B, it was a total A.

    So no sympathy here. You cheat, you suffer the consequences. When you lose your integrity for a freaking grade, you need to be readjusted, and if expulsion or an F is the answer, then fine. You're in Harvard, everyone is graduated with Honors there it seems. You'll be fine. Just don't cheat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Forrest View Post
    I took two courses at Harvard for their Harvard Summer Program back in the 80s. They ALWAYS stressed the honor code. It was ingrained in us.
    Harvard doesn't have an honor code .

    They are thinking about maybe adopting one.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    Seriously? I could have sworn I signed my name after every exam that I did not engage in academic dishonesty. Or maybe that's just how I was raised. My parents would have killed me (homicide, fake suicide, whatever) if I got expelled from school for cheating.

    If Harvard doesn't actually have an Honor Code, then they are falling behind. Every blue book I signed in college at the end was my word that there was no academic dishonesty. Huh. This was 25 years ago so I could be wrong.

    Hmm, Prancer, I'm running my memory and I KNOW I signed bluebooks stating that. Maybe it wasn't an official honor code, but when you sign your name, you were stating that this was your work and no one else's. Hmmph.

    I find it hard to believe Harvard of all schools has no Honor Code.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    That does rather seem to to be the case according to the comments on the site, although such comments aren't exactly the most reliable. But there seems to be a pretty consistent theme of "the class was considered a gut course, people signed up accordingly, the professor had decided to make it harder, students were offended." Several people say the test was still easy..
    If the students found the class more difficult that what they signed up for, tough toenails. When you take a course, you do what the professor has made the course to be. You are in college and I assume seeking a degree of some sort, not a non-credit summer class offered at a local community college. You have objections to how the course was structure or the degree of difficulty?, you do the course and file a grievance with the dean after completion of the course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Forrest View Post
    Seriously? I could have sworn I signed my name after every exam that I did not engage in academic dishonesty. Or maybe that's just how I was raised. My parents would have killed me (homicide, fake suicide, whatever) if I got expelled from school for cheating.

    If Harvard doesn't actually have an Honor Code, then they are falling behind. Every blue book I signed in college at the end was my word that there was no academic dishonesty. Huh. This was 25 years ago so I could be wrong.

    Hmm, Prancer, I'm running my memory and I KNOW I signed bluebooks stating that. Maybe it wasn't an official honor code, but when you sign your name, you were stating that this was your work and no one else's. Hmmph.

    I find it hard to believe Harvard of all schools has no Honor Code.
    I don't recall having to sign an actual honor code upon enrolling in undergrad (I didn't go to Harvard), but some professors made up their own honor codes that we had to sign at every test. Is it possible that that's what you're thinking of? It wasn't a university-wide thing though, it was up to the discretion of the professor and most of them chose to implement it. I remember one test where we had to sign the code on every single freaking page and I was running out of time at the end feverishly trying to scrawl my name on some fifteen pages

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    Quote Originally Posted by tarotx View Post
    I think their defense is that they were lead to believe it was an easy class/test so they put it off tell the last minute.
    If they were told that and believed it, that's not much of a defense. They made the choice to put off doing the exam until the last minute.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Forrest View Post
    Seriously? I could have sworn I signed my name after every exam that I did not engage in academic dishonesty.
    You may have, but.....

    Harvard University, whose motto "Veritas" means "truth," has never had a student honor code in its nearly 400-year history

    There are a lot of articles about this floating around right now because of this scandal.

    However....

    Quote Originally Posted by mkats View Post
    some professors made up their own honor codes that we had to sign at every test. Is it possible that that's what you're thinking of? It wasn't a university-wide thing though, it was up to the discretion of the professor and most of them chose to implement it. I remember one test where we had to sign the code on every single freaking page and I was running out of time at the end feverishly trying to scrawl my name on some fifteen pages
    Things like that are common, even in schools with honor codes.

    ETA: Here's an older article from the Harvard Crimson about Harvard and honor codes: http://www.thecrimson.com/article/20...code-but-will/ that goes into some of the reasons they do not have a code
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Seriously? How did the students who AREN'T being accused of plagiarism manage? And how did they find information and use it without using language similiar enough to trigger plagiarism suspicion?

    Why weren't they screwed?
    Because some students may not have cared what grade they got? Because their TF scheduled an extra study time to make-up for the prof canceling his? Because their House tutor was familiar with the class and could help them? Because a lot of reasons?

    The profs at Harvard don't have the expectation of being accessible to students, and thus frequently aren't. So students compensate for that by other means--like putting together their own study guides and such .
    But I'm with jeffisjeff--if looking at a few tests triggered an examination of every test in the class, there was almost certainly evidence that more than note sharing was going on.
    I think there were different issues with different tests. One issue that keeps coming up is that a TF defined a term for a study group, and now apparently everyone who attended that study group is being charged with cheating because they all defined that term exactly the same. But that's because that was how it was defined for them, so they all quoted that. Is that cheating?

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    Oh, and Harvard summer classes have no relation to regular Harvard courses. Summer courses are basically a community outreach effort. No class taken there can count for credit at Harvard. So however they are run wouldn't speak to how things are done at Harvard proper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    One issue that keeps coming up is that a TF defined a term for a study group, and now apparently everyone who attended that study group is being charged with cheating because they all defined that term exactly the same. But that's because that was how it was defined for them, so they all quoted that. Is that cheating?
    There were 125 students in one study group who all went to see the same TF in an office at the same time? I thought it was only 15 of them.

    And the students are being investigated for plagiarism because of the single definition of a single term? A shame that they didn't cite the definition, since they all quoted it. Are they not aware that such things prevent charges of plagiarism?

    In their own telling of this, they met with the TF AFTER they had the test because they were struggling. How did they all get together and see the TF because they are all confused? Pure chance? They were unquestionably discussing test questions with each other AND the TF, not just sharing study guides before the test.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    There were 125 students in one study group who all went to see the same TF in an office at the same time? I thought it was only 15 of them.
    Did I say that?

    I said there were different issues with different exams. This was one issue with one set of exams. How difficult is that to comprehend?
    And the students are being investigated for plagiarism because of the single definition of a single term?
    Who said anything about plagiarism ?

    They're being accused of cheating because of similarity in one of their answers.

    Again--how difficult is that to comprehend?
    In their own telling of this, they met with the TF AFTER they had the test because they were struggling. How did they all get together and see the TF because they are all confused? Pure chance?
    Um, because some of these TF's live in the same House as the students?

    Because TF's will schedule a study time for their group in case there are questions re: the exam?

    Seriously, this is commonplace

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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    Oh, and Harvard summer classes have no relation to regular Harvard courses. Summer courses are basically a community outreach effort. No class taken there can count for credit at Harvard. So however they are run wouldn't speak to how things are done at Harvard proper.
    Really? They were 'real' classes and sufficed for pre-med requirements when I applied to med school. I wasn't just auditing them. Calculus at Harvard counted for med school and I wasn't just some schlep off the street in the community who decided to audit a calculus class. You sure about that Agal? If that summer program wasn't legit with all the other brainy HS students taking the same classes, then I don't even understand the purpose. My credits (A in Calculus, B in IntoPsych) certainly counted to my GPA when applying to med school. And good luck anyone trying to get an A in IntroPsych especially at Harvard. My study partner was a total brain whose life goal was psychology, and even she couldn't get an A. I think I might have gotten a B-, though it's been so long I don't know if schools give minus grades. I'm not sure you are correct Agal on this one.

    Also, Agal, there were 'real' Harvard students taking these classes with me. Were they just wasting their time and daddy's money? Doubtful. Yes, there are Harvard community classes, but I can assure you this wasn't it. Or they were just auditing.
    Last edited by Alex Forrest; 09-03-2012 at 04:24 AM.
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