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S L Forsburg forsburg at nospamsalk.edu
Mon Nov 17 13:42:42 EST 1997

Karen Allendoerfer (ravena at cco.caltech.edu) writes
> And that professors also play a role in creating an "us against them"
> atmosphere in the classroom, that I see as playing a role in
> encouraging
> cheating.

Is there any justification--EVER--for cheating?  

>  Out and out copying is of course wrong, but working together
> is something that happens in science all the time. It seems rather
> artificial to force everyone to work alone and penalize them for
> plagarism
> if they work together. 

I agree, working together is productive and I'm all in favor.
  But a student who copies a colleague's paper without 
contributing anything to the work is not
the same as two students working together on a problem.  And, yes,
I can usually tell the difference.  The problem can be figuring
out which one was the cheater and which the cheatee. 

 And a student who cheats, cheats the faculty, and
cheats him or herself.  The only thing that student cares about
is the grade, not about learning.  I don't want such students
in my classes. 

Karen is right about defining  expectations, and complains about
some examples of rather petty professors.  But I think that's a 
different issue from the one of cheating.  I maintain that there
is never, ever, any justification or excuse for a student to

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S L Forsburg, PhD  forsburg at salk.edu
Molecular Biology and Virology Lab          
The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA 
"These are my opinions.  I don't have  
time to speak for anyone else."

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