Duke It Out: Cheating – Round Two!

[It’s pretty obvious that the average CollegeCandy reader has some very strong opinions. Opinions that she likes to share with everyone on the site. We love a strong woman, so we thought we’d give her a real forum to discuss her thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. Every Friday I’ll be featuring a hot topic (like what is cheating!) and leaving it up to you, the readers, to duke it out. So, read it and get your debate on in the comments section below!]

Alright, since we spent last week debating what it means to cheat in a relationship, it only seems right to figure out what the other kind of cheating means – the kind that involves teachers. Everybody thinking dirty things about teachers, get your mind out of the gutter (for now). Seriously though, we’ve all read the school policies about cheating and plagarism, but at the same time, most of us have done something that we wouldn’t really want the school to know about. How guilty should we really feel? It’s time to duke it out!

There are some things we can pretty much all agree are cheating – copying a paper word for word (or Wikipedia *cough cough*), sneaking a peek at someone else’s test answers. But what if you take someone else’s info and reword it? Or if you take the ideas from another work and write it out your own way. Afterall, most scholars read other papers on their topics and get ideas from them that they craft into thier own work and that’s not considered cheating. True, scholars add things to the information they borrow, but if you do the same thing, then is it ok? And what if you don’t borrow much? What if it’s just one sentence? Or just a quote that you forgot to mark? According to most school regulations that could qualify as cheating – and get you kicked out.

You also get into an inky area when it comes to “study groups”. On the one hand, it can be helpful and legit to get a bunch of people together to work on something tough, but if you’re coming up with the same answers and ideas, then it’s not very different than mental plagiarism. And with math and science classes, the problem only gets more complex because one person almost always comes up with the answer first, leaving everyone else to basically copy it down.

Oh and let’s not forget the other side of this equation – what if aren’t the person using someone else’s work, but someone selling work to be used by others? All of those term paper sites and test answer keys floating around come from somewhere. Someone out there is selling the work; does that count as cheating?

Ok, what do you think? How seriously would you take the word “cheating” and how far would you push it? Put it to a vote in the comments!

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