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'Cheating' Scandal at Harvard

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by overedge, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. Alex Forrest

    Alex Forrest Banned Member

    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.
  2. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. mkats

    mkats Well-Known Member

    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 :lol:
  4. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    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.
  5. Prancer

    Prancer Cursed for all time Staff Member

    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.


    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/2006/5/3/bok-backs-honor-code-but-will/ that goes into some of the reasons they do not have a code
  6. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    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 :saint:.
    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?
  7. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. Prancer

    Prancer Cursed for all time Staff Member

    There were 125 students in one study group who all went to see the same TF in an office at the same time? :eek: 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 :saint: sharing study guides before the test.
  9. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    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?
    Who said anything about plagiarism :huh:?

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

    Again--how difficult is that to comprehend?
    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
  10. Alex Forrest

    Alex Forrest Banned Member

    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: Sep 3, 2012
  11. Prancer

    Prancer Cursed for all time Staff Member

    Just about every newspaper covering this?

    Plagiarism doesn't just mean copying. But you know that.

    From the Harvard Crimson:

    Harvard College’s disciplinary board is investigating nearly half of the 279 students who enrolled in Government 1310: “Introduction to Congress” last spring for allegedly plagiarizing answers or inappropriately collaborating on the class’ final take-home exam.


    the Ad Board conducted a review of all final exams submitted for the course and found about 125 of them to be suspicious.

    So I believe the problem was just the final exam and not multiple exams, although more information will undoubtedly come out.

    I guess I am stupid.

    But a student's own account says:

    “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,”

    And another of the students admits discussing test questions with other students and says it was commonplace......

    then I kind of suspect that the students were working together on the test questions and not just sharing :saint: study guides before the exam.

    Call me crazy. Or dense. But that's how my blind eyes see it.
  12. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    For some of these Harvard kids, being faced with a bad grade can come as a shock. I coasted through high school with straight A's (aside from PE since I hated running :lol: ) but in college, it seemed that everyone was smarter than I was. It came as a huge shock.

    I had a few crying sessions after doing badly on tests, sucked it up, graduated with a B+ average, got a job thanks to my degree, and moved on. Straight A's don't really matter unless you're applying to med school, and if you're freaking out in undergrad, med school may not be for you in the first place. :lol: But a lot of these kids could have a superiority complex and literally can't handle anything less than an A. And that is when they start to cheat.
  13. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    It didn't say the students were up studying together. All the students I knew taking their general exams were up for most of the nights prior to the exam, but we weren't studying together.

    A few have admitted to collaborating, but most deny this. The fact that several students were up all night working on the exam doesn't necessarily mean there were working together on it. The fact that they all had issues with a particular problem also doesn't entail they collaborated. It could have been just a poorly done problem--profs are sometimes known for that you know ;).
  14. jeffisjeff

    jeffisjeff Well-Known Member

    I am confused about the focus on these "study guides" as an excuse explanation for the cheating. Are the accused students actually claiming that as an explanation? Or is this coming from others seeking to excuse the cheating? I've read several (but certainly far from all) news articles about this, and I don't think I've seen any of the anonymously-quoted students give the "study guide" excuse. Rather in almost all articles, there is a student who admits discussing exam questions with other students, and then provides an excuse explanation for doing so. So where is this coming from? I do see that it comes up in some of the comments on the news articles (e.g., on the Crimson article Prancer linked to), but I haven't seen this coming from the actual students involved. :confused:
  15. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    Sounds like there are a lot of clueless people at Harvard. :shuffle:
    numbers123 and (deleted member) like this.
  16. rfisher

    rfisher Will you rise like a phoenix or be a burnt chicken

    I was begged by the Dean of the Ohio Southern Ironton's campus to teach a cultural anthropology class several years ago. I didn't want to bother, but she was persistant. They had no one to teach the class, but it was a mandatory class. Go figure. I relented to my regret. You should have heard the complaints because I made them actually read the textbook and write several very short papers. Turns out, all I was really supposed to do was show up for class and tell the students stories. They were outraged when that's not what happened because that's how it had been done before when the Dean managed to find somebody willing to drive down from Columbus to teach the class. It's so sad when somebody turns those pieces of cake into lead. :lol:
  17. jeffisjeff

    jeffisjeff Well-Known Member

    An update:

    Prancer and (deleted member) like this.