Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Holding out for a (course) hero

For those of you hoping for some awesome 1980s music, please amuse yourself with the video below (yes, a tractor duel between Justin Trudeau and Kevin Bacon was high-quality entertainment in the 1980s…).

Now for the rest of you, let’s talk about Course Hero. Course Hero is a website that allow students to upload assignments, quizzes, exams and other materials. If you upload enough of your stuff (or just send the cash), you can then access the material (so-called “study aids”) uploaded by others.  

Reviewing the work of others can certainly seem like a quick way to complete assignments. Alas, it is also an easy way to run afoul of the university’s Student Academic Misconduct Policy, which requires you to do your own course work.

But it is not just downloaders who are in peril: uploading materials is also likely a violation of Section 2.5 which prohibits the distribution of assignments and other course material.

One of my jobs right now is academic integrity officer for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (basically I’m the plagiarism guy). Over the past few months, my workload has risen dramatically because faculty are complaining about uploaders. Year-long suspensions and notations of misconduct on transcripts are pretty common for first-time offenders.

Course Hero is not the only such website, but its recent popularity has pushed the university to speak out against all websitesthat offer “study aids”. You’d be wise to heed the university’s advice about these websites and remove any of your materials from them.

-- Bob Barnetson

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