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Crimson With Shame

Posted on: September 5th, 2012 by Larry

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that there would be cheating in a course called “Introduction to Congress.” There are people bending and breaking the rules all over the place on Capitol Hill. But cheating at Harvard? The school is investigating more than a hundred students for working together on a take home final exam when they were explicitly told to work alone.

Obviously, cheating is wrong. But this incident raises more questions.

1. What if the investigation determines exam similarities that suggest cheating, but someone suspected of cheating really did the work alone and was just unfortunate enough to have chosen some similar words or phrases. What should that person do?

2. Was working together really that wrong? After all, the students may have learned more from each other about the subject matter, and learning is the real objective.

3. Did you ever work with someone on an assignment when you weren’t supposed to? How do you feel about that?

4. Why do you think so many students may have been involved in this?

5. If you were asked to participate in a cheating collaboration such as this and chose not to join, would you tell the professor?