Cheaters abuse flexibility of new Blackboard interface


    By Shawna Moake

    Blackboard has been a great information tool for professors at BYU, but it also has made it easier for students to cheat on quizzes and homework.

    “Cheating was not a huge concern, but it was a concern enough that I preferred to do the quizzes [that were on Blackboard] in class,” said Joel Campbell, a professor in the department of communications at BYU.

    Last Fall Semester in News Writing 211, the reading and current events quizzes were on Blackboard and some students were caught cheating. The students automatically failed and the quizzes were given in class from then on, Campbell said.

    “If a student has a quiz online, then they are going to have access to outside sources or the reading assignment itself,” said Allen Palmer, communications professor.

    “We had a couple of students who chose to have the newspaper open during a current event quiz or their textbook open, so I stopped doing that,” Campbell said.

    The student must decide for him or herself if he or she is going to cheat. If a student has integrity, then he or she is not going to cheat on a paper or quiz, Palmer said.

    “Cheating is anything that betrays what you know to be right,” said Mary Nicholls, 22, a senior majoring in art history. “If you are going against what you know was the intent of the teacher or anything that was said by a teacher in your class, in essence, you”re cheating.”

    People have taken Blackboard quizzes for fellow students in the class, plagiarized other”s work and fabricated assignments, Campbell said.

    “I have a zero-tolerance policy [on cheating] because I want to teach students right now that plagiarism or fabrication of information is not acceptable in journalism and not acceptable at BYU either,” he said.

    Almost everyone in college has known or suspected someone of cheating and each student has their own choice if they are going to cheat or not, Nicholls said.

    “I don”t want to aid someone in cheating,” Nicholls said. “If it comes that I see someone blatantly cheating, yes I would feel obligated to do something, but in the same return I would feel like a tattletale,”

    There are some things considered borderline cheating and it is up to each student to monitor him or herself in keeping the Honor Code, Nicholls said.

    “I shouldn”t have to be a police for everyone around me,” Nicholls said.

    BYU doesn”t put up with cheating in any form, Campbell said.

    As stated in the Honor Code: “BYU students should seek to be totally honest in their dealings with others. They should complete their own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic dishonesty and misconduct in all its forms, including but not limited to plagiarism, fabrication or falsification, cheating and other academic misconduct.”

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