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Manual for Cheaters What to do if you are caught cheating in my classes.

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Presentation on theme: "Manual for Cheaters What to do if you are caught cheating in my classes."— Presentation transcript:

1 Manual for Cheaters What to do if you are caught cheating in my classes

2 Introduction I love to teach. The best part of teaching is when I can help people to develop skills that will give them a better life. The only part of my job that I really hate is dealing with the people that I catch cheating. Unfortunately, I catch cheaters every semester.

3 Definitions of Cheating Any thing you do that tries to take credit for work done by someone else. Reusing the same work for more than one class. Using any resource not permitted by the instructor during an exam. Any communication with an another person during a test. Multiple persons turning in the same assignment on an individual assignment.

4 NJIT Policy New Jersey Institute of Technology has an honor code, available on their web site at Note that the honor code indicates four levels of severity for offenses. I support the honor code, and attempt to follow it, sometimes at great personal expense. In one case, I had to delay summer employment for three weeks to gather evidence and cooperate with the honor court.

5 My Policy I will always refer serious cases of premeditated cheating to the honor court. Serious cases (level 1 and 2) include bringing notes into an exam that are intended to be disguised. For lesser severity cheating, I will apply the same sanctions that are in the honor code, usually the least severe sanction, getting a zero grade on the exam or assignment. Any time I do this the student may ask to be judged by the honor court instead, and I will grant that request.

6 What I will not do. I will not condone or excuse cheating, or let the student make up the exam or assignment. I cannot excuse cheating without becoming a cheat myself, because that would cheat the University, honest students and alumni.

7 Cheating the University The most precious asset of any school is its reputation. Students want to attend schools with a good reputation and employers want to hire graduates of those schools. Any toleration of cheating harms the school. NJIT hired me to provide a good education for its students, not to damage the reputation of the University. Do not ask me to betray the school by condoning cheating.

8 Cheating other students It is not fair to honest students to give dishonest students the same grade that they get. The job market is competitive, and employers want to hire the best qualified employees. I will not make it difficult for potential employers to identify well prepared students by tolerating people who cheat.

9 Cheating alumni You only attend school for a few years, but for the rest of your life you are associated with a school from which you have received a degree. The reputation of that school will either create or destroy many opportunities for you. I am a graduate of NJIT, and the reputation of the school has given me much. I intend to protect that reputation.

10 Cheating Yourself Actually, the person harmed most by cheating is the person doing the cheating. If you get credit for knowing something you do not know, you are setting yourself up for greater failure later on when that knowledge is required for a later course or on the job. It is far better to have to repeat a course or even change majors or professions than it is to devote a substantial part of your life preparing for something at which you can only fail because you do not have the background to succeed.

11 Risky behavior Cheating in my classes is very risky. I have had far more experience than most professors, over 100 courses at fourteen different colleges and universities in two countries in eight different degree programs. I have seen a lot of cheating by fellow students. Also, I have taught long enough to see a lot of cheating. I catch cheaters every semester. I often have honest students complain about people in the class cheating, so I learn about new ways to cheat, and am aware when cheating occurs.

12 Dead Giveaways There are items in tests that tell me immediately that students have cheated: Isolated facts: “… 31 percent of…” Identical unusual words or phrases on more than one exam. Writing in a style that is not appropriate for an exam or for a person not writing in their native language.

13 Futility of Cheating I have seen many cases in which students who had a good idea of the right answer put down the wrong answer because they were cheating. Two special categories of especially dangerous cheating are bringing “crib sheets” into the exam and copying from someone else.

14 Dangers of copying People tend to cheat because they think they don’t know the answers. Often that means they don’t recognize a bad answer. School is competitive, and good students don’t like cheating because it reduces their advantage. So you are usually copying from someone who doesn’t know anymore than you do. I had one case where three people who shared answers during a test got over half of the questions wrong. Not only were the answers wrong, they were obviously the same!

15 The “Cheating Zone” People who plan to cheat often try to sit as far from the professor as possible. That means they tend to sit together. You should assume that your fellow cheaters are sitting where they are because they don’t know any more than you do. So it is dangerous to rely on them! Note: People who sit in the front of a class tend to get better grades. They see better, hear better, and tend to be less distracted by talking neighbors and people checking their or doing other things during class.

16 Drunk under the lamp post A man was walking down the street when he saw a drunk crawling on his hands and knees under a lamp post. Trying to be helpful, he asked; “What are you doing?” “Looking for my house key,” was the answer. He also looked but couldn’t find the key. He asked; “Are you sure you lost it here?” The reply was; “No, I lost it over there, but the light is better here.” That is one problem with crib sheets—you tend to choose the answer you have instead of the right one.

17 Test design I deliberately design my tests to catch cheating. While I use many methods, I will give one example. I ask students for their own opinions on a piece of a topic. When students answer such a question with a detailed amount of related material that is not directly relevant to the question, I usually suspect a “crib sheet” of hidden answers and grade harshly. That is why I tell students to answer only the question asked.

18 Using the Internet On both take home exams and homework, I know that students use the Internet regularly. I actually think this is a good thing. But I use Google to check any suspicious material. So remember, if you use someone else’s work, reference it and give credit, or you are cheating. Also, include your own opinions and understanding. I am grading your thinking and work, not your ability to use a search engine.

19 Open Book Test Rule If you look at it during the test and use any part of it, even summarized, cite it! I will accept short form citations such as these on a test: text, p 97 Java Security lecture, slides Web links in cut and paste format: (trim off any unnecessary part.) Tanenbaum and Van Steen, Distributed Systems, page ( if more than 2 authors : Tanenbaum et al)

20 What never to do. Best answer: Never Cheat! Do not ask me for an appointment or call me on the phone to ask me to mitigate your punishment for cheating or give you another chance. It only humiliates you and is unfair to both of us. I will not tolerate cheating, or respond to it by becoming a cheat myself.

21 Arguing Innocence The majority of students I catch cheating give a flat denial that they were cheating. Some continue that denial and never admit cheating. Most usually accept the evidence after trying to invent theories to convince me they didn’t cheat. In all cases I am always willing to turn the case over to the honor court. So, if you disagree with my assessment that you were cheating, present your evidence by . If I reject it, ask to go before the honor court. I will abide by the decision of the court.

22 After You Are Caught What do you do next? Deal with it the same way you should deal with any failure in life, by reexamining your goals. Start by asking yourself why you had to cheat. If you had to cheat because you really did not understand the material, ask yourself if that course or that material are important to your future plans. If not, find an alternative. If it is, you may have to change your plans for the future.

23 Avoid A Dead End Life If you cannot understand material, you may be studying in the wrong field. In that case, getting caught cheating or failing a course can be one of the best things to happen to you. You can find something else for which you are better suited. It is far better to waste a few years than it is to waste an entire life. It is often only in times of depression (after failure) that many people are able to force themselves to make significant changes in their lives.


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