Student faces Facebook consequences

Toronto Star:

Avenir said he joined the Facebook group last fall to get help with
some of the questions the professor would give students to do online.
As the network grew, he took over as its administrator, which is why he
believes he alone has been charged.

“So we each would be given
chemistry questions and if we were having trouble, we’d post the
question and say: `Does anyone get how to do this one? I didn’t get it
right and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.’ Exactly what we would say
to each other if we were sitting in the Dungeon,” said Avenir
yesterday.

He is still attending classes pending his hearing
but admits the stress of the accusations is affecting his midterm exam
results.

“But if this kind of help is cheating, then so is
tutoring and all the mentoring programs the university runs and the
discussions we do in tutorials,” he said.

This is silly. The university should instead invest its resources on educating faculty about the collaborative learning strategies of today’s students, who live in a a very different environment and have different strengths and weaknesses than undergraduates of previous generations. Does Avenir’s university have an online tutoring center staffed by grad students who are available to answer questions on weekends and evenings, when undergraduates are likely to be doing their work?

I am regularly amazed at the hive culture students create for themselves, but I’ve been impressed at the extent to which students will slug away at an exercise if they clearly understand how it will benefit them.