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University of Florida students caught cheating on computer science projects

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Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 12:54 am

Eighty-one students sat silently in the Florida Gym on Monday night as their professor presented evidence of 97 students cheating in his computer course.

Manuel Bermudez, an associate professor in the College of Engineering’s department of computer and information science and engineering, said there were 242 instances of cheating on the first exam of his CGS2531 class.

Students were required to turn in six projects online from Feb. 21 to Feb. 22 as their exam. An instructor and a teaching assistant caught the issue.

Bermudez said project files turned in for the exam contained hidden markers that helped identify documents used in old exams. If markers from one or more documents appeared on more than one student’s file, that is proof of cheating.

“The evidence is 100 percent irrefutable,” he said.

In an email sent Friday, Bermudez gave suspected students their options: Students could accept responsibility, accept responsibility but challenge the penalty, deny responsibility or do nothing.

Students who accept responsibility will receive zeroes on the exam, suffer 5 percent grade deductions and will not be able to drop the class.

The highest possible grade students can receive if they accept responsibility is 75 percent.

If students do not accept responsibility, they will be referred to the Dean of Students and the Student Conduct Committee.

Computer science and engineering students Nuri Yeralan, 28, and Jason Chi, 29, compiled the data. Yeralan teaches 250 students in his class.

“I took it a little personal,” he said. “I even begged my students not to cheat. It kind of sucks.”

Yeralan said he warned students one week before the exam about the project markers through in-class announcements and on the course website.

Julie Rothe, an 18-year-old finance and information systems freshman, said she plans to accept responsibility. But she will challenge the penalty, she said, because students cheated in years past.

“I’m really angry at the fact that students got away with this in earlier semesters,” she said. “We are taking the hit, and I believe that is unfair.”

Welcome to the discussion.

45 comments:

  • GlissonL posted at 4:07 pm on Tue, May 8, 2012.

    GlissonL Posts: 42

    whoops... I posted the first comment, got a '505 Server Error', posted the second one, then gave up.

     
  • GlissonL posted at 3:17 am on Fri, May 4, 2012.

    GlissonL Posts: 42

    Actually the majority of the course covers Excel, and some people do seem to have trouble with its finer points and more advanced spreadsheets. Used to its full capabilities, Excel is practically a high-level language. I would be willing to bet that the projects that were cheated on involve Excel. And people who didn't want to rack their brains for hours and hours because they lack the attention span/focus. I doubt they said "This is so easy, let's just all cheat on it! Ha Ha!" (I don't think so.)

     
  • GlissonL posted at 3:10 am on Fri, May 4, 2012.

    GlissonL Posts: 42

    Actually, "computerdude", the course covers Excel first and foremost, including some of its finer points and more advanced aspects, and Excel is practically a high-level language when used to its full potential. More advanced spreadsheets require a certain level of abstract thinking, and not everyone can easily do that. I would be willing to bet that they were copying Excel spreadsheets that they would have had to rack their brains over and spend hours and hours on otherwise. I seriously doubt it was Word. Word is covered in the first few weeks or so. Btw, Computer General Studies is what CGS stands for. It's not a reason to cheat, but several people in our section had to drop the course, and the most common grade was probably C or C+, followed by B's, and with probably more D's than A's (not many of either.) I have taken 'easier' CIS (with a CIS prefix) courses. I would say they cheated because some of them had to or they would have been clueless. Talking about how easy you "think" the course is does not serve any purpose including deciding whether it is any lesser or worse of an offense.

     
  • ebgator posted at 3:54 pm on Wed, Apr 25, 2012.

    ebgator Posts: 1

    Cheating in CGS2531? You have got to be kidding me. This is the easiest course at University of Florida. If these students can't be bothered to figure out something as simple as Microsoft Office, what are they going to do in a tougher course?

    Dr. Bermudez should uphold the honor code and turn in all of these cheaters to the Dean of Students instead of giving them a way out.

     
  • hotgazpacho posted at 9:48 pm on Sun, Apr 15, 2012.

    hotgazpacho Posts: 1

    The sense of entitlement shown by Ms. Rothe, as well as some of you in the comments here is particularly galling. Shame on you. Your actions not only speak volumes about your own character, but also reflect poorly on the entire Gator Nation.

    I'm a UF alumni, and I am a professional software developer. You will face far tougher challenges in your career and your life than a computer science exam. You will face far harsher penalties than a C- in a college course. Consider yourselves lucky that you are even getting the option not to face a student ethics code violation; in the business world, you'd be fired.

    Time to grow up, ladies and gentlemen.

     
  • hoppinglark posted at 11:00 am on Thu, Apr 12, 2012.

    hoppinglark Posts: 15

    As someone who will likely be expelled under the new "C-" policy.
    I am enraged to see students cheating on such easy work
    I am working as hard as I can to pass.
    These lazy bums want the easy way out.
    I wish the University would just dismiss them all from their colleges.

     
  • computerdude posted at 2:06 pm on Mon, Apr 9, 2012.

    computerdude Posts: 1

    I wonder if the author actually knows what computer science is.

    The course in question, cgs2531,problem solving with computer software, is a basic course for non majors(not engineers or computer scientists) that involves learning how to use word and power point. That is NOT computer science.

    Thank you, Chris Alcantara, for not doing your research and misleading everyone who reads this article into thinking that computer science and engineering students at UF are a bunch of cheaters.

     
  • 24681 posted at 12:35 am on Sun, Apr 8, 2012.

    24681 Posts: 17

    Overall, I think the message is, do Not cheat! No matter what the reason! If the professors decide to be ‘Lazy’, then so be it, yet do Not cheat. The professor(s) should be held accountable for their ‘Laziness’ to their peers. Can you imagine 20% or more of your class caught cheating, and what they says about you, as a professor.

    Noteworthy, students who cheat, cheat themselves first, before some pathway is made to include the students who do the work (study), yet it also a reflection of the professor(s) whose ‘Laziness’, has provided such to occur.

    I never had a thought of cheating on a quiz, exam, project, assignment or final exam. No matter how easy the professor made it possible to cheat. I speak from experience. I have earned well over 425 semester hours with over 125 different professors during my large number of years as a college student (on a side note, I have never been a professor or a graduate teaching assistant, therefore a student for 425 semester hours).

    I do have a few very bad grades (not many), yet I understood that it was better to make the bad grade than to cheat. As a matter of fact, I never thought of cheating, as a way of making the grade. I either made the grade or I didn’t! I understood that (a bad grade) would look bad on my transcript(s), yet, once again, I never thought of cheating, as a way to pass a quiz and/or exam, or as a means to make a very high grade.

    Also, on a different side note, I did make a lot of excellent grades, yet that was due to hard work (go to class, never cut class, take great lecture notes, study the textbook, talked with some students who took the class the semester before I started the class and got some feedback about the class and the professor, reviewed old tests and exams (if any were available), be determined, set my goals and developed a set of essential organizational skills and time management skills, in order to help make the grade that I wanted to make in the professors class).

    Yet, out of over 125 professors (over 425 semester hours worth), I have noted there are major differences between professors, yet they (the professors) can be categorized. Understanding my categorization method, helped me decide (if there was a choice) which professor to have for a particular class. In any case, I still hold, not only the students accountable for their choice to cheat, yet, I also hold the professor(s) accountable. If in actuality, 20% or more, of the class cheated, then there is obviously something wrong at the student level, as well as, there is something wrong at the professor level, and both should be held accountable, and remedies (recommendations to the professor(s), changes in policy, including testing policies and possible protocol) should be sought out immediately, before the final exam, and certainly before the summer and fall semesters begin.

    Once again, Good Luck to all that are involved in this situation.

     
  • GlissonL posted at 2:46 am on Fri, Mar 23, 2012.

    GlissonL Posts: 42

    Maybe this should be a wake-up call for the course to return to the evening exam format, which has usually been the case until recently. If the class will have no actual exams but instead will have a series of projects, then call them what they are - Projects or Assignments. I am responding only because as I said I took the course about 8 years ago and managed to get an A without even the thought of cheating. It was never 'easy' when I took it btw. I doubt it's easy now unless you cheat. The assignments take time, and it's not easy to get all A's on the tests (back when there were tests.) I would just point out that we had assignments AND exams and that seemed like a good combination. I don't understand why a course at UF would opt for no real exams.

     
  • gatorTA posted at 9:52 pm on Thu, Mar 22, 2012.

    gatorTA Posts: 1

    It's a shame that some of these instructors are turning UF into a degree mill.
    They can't even write their own exam questions each semester?! How about having a little pride in your job. Lazy much?

     
  • Aaron Clarey posted at 6:29 pm on Thu, Mar 22, 2012.

    Aaron Clarey Posts: 1

    Reminds me of when I had 89 out of 92 economics students plagiarize their final paper.

    http://captaincapitalism.blogspot.com/2009/01/degree-mills.html

    And you wonder why jobs go overseas.

     
  • AsaVANT posted at 1:12 pm on Thu, Mar 22, 2012.

    AsaVANT Posts: 4

    It is unbelievable that 97 out of 242 engineering students are so computer illiterate that they didn't even bother to reformat the code to obscure the fact that they plagiarized the material. If you're in a computer engineering class and you expect your professor not to have some sort of way to detect cheating, you're a moron and you should highly consider dropping out now before getting yourself (or more than likely your parents) into a massive hole of student loan debt.

    In fact, the college would be doing these idiots a favor by immediate expulsion.

     
  • GlissonL posted at 4:29 pm on Tue, Mar 20, 2012.

    GlissonL Posts: 42

    You can look online and find the old syllabi for CGS 2531. The online exam format was only begun in the Fall of 2011 (last semester, effectively.) Students who took the course in the Summer of 2011 and all semesters before had three normal exams, either in class or at night. So much for the argument that students have been getting away with cheating on the at-home exams, or that it has been encouraged, for "years." That is a completely false premise.

    I gather there were 97 students accused of 242 instances of cheating, not 242 students involved. Reread the beginning of the article. The class has at least 500 people I'm guessing; 97 students is less than 20% of the class.

     
  • GatorPhysicsStar posted at 8:11 pm on Mon, Mar 19, 2012.

    GatorPhysicsStar Posts: 1

    @WaterChuck...

    I agree with you but you can't generalize UF as a whole based on the fact that there are few "easy A" classes here and there. Just because there are a handful of classes (CGS 2531, FOS 2001, and MAN 3025 were mentioned; well that's only three classes out of hundreds) at UF that may be a bit of a "joke" because they use an (admittedly laughable) at-home, online exam format, that doesn't mean that every class at UF is like that.
    Most of us take our classes very seriously and have to take exams in a structured manner in classrooms with proctors (in fact there are on-campus computer labs specifically allocated for this purpose). Overall, UF is a great school. Some classes are just more important than others. It's like that at every school. Engineering courses are always going to be more important than basket weaving courses!

     
  • 24681 posted at 3:27 pm on Sun, Mar 18, 2012.

    24681 Posts: 17

    It would be helpful to have the percentage (%) of students that cheated, if anyone knows that number. In any case, here are a few final thoughts:

    1. How is a students’ grade determined at the end of the semester? That is, are the students graded on a curve, or just a ten (10) point scale? Obviously, if the class is graded on a curve, a student who cheated on the first exam (project) could possibly make a 70 at the end of the semester, and if graded on a curve, a 70 may be an A+.

    2. The article in The Independent Alligator did not state that the professor would not allow the student(s) the chance of taking the class again, in a future semester, in order to make a better grade.

    3. I do understand Julie’s argument, to a certain extent. If Julie can prove entrapment or better yet, that the Faculty has been aware of this type of cheating in past semesters (recent semesters) without reprimand, including the last 2-4 semesters, than the unfortunate instance of cheating by students, has been established over the previous semesters as an ‘Acceptable Policy’ by the Faculty and possibly the entire Department, because it (cheating) was not addressed (students reprimanded) in the earlier semesters.

    4. It should be noted that no school or university has room for cheating! The administration building at the University of Florida is named after the third (3rd) president of the University of Florida, Dr. Tigert, thus the name Tigert Hall. Dr. Tigert earned his high school diploma from ‘The Webb School’ (www.TheWebbSchool.com). Of which, I was a student there, as well, yet earned my high school diploma (by spending my senior year) in my home state. I any case,
    listed under the tab, ‘The School’ on the homepage of The Webb School website, there is a hyperlink ‘Prominent Alumni’, of which Dr. Tigert is listed amongst many other important alumni. Also, on the homepage there is a tab named ‘Students’, with a hyperlink to the ‘The Honor Code’, describing the Honor Code implemented by The Webb School. I believe, Dr. Tigert learned from an early age the importance of schools and universities having an Honor Code. Dr. Tigert was appointed, by The United States President, Warren Harding, the position of U.S. Commissioner of Education from 1921 to 1928. In 1928, Dr. Tigert was selected by ‘The Florida
    Board of Control’ to be the President of the University of Florida. Dr. Tigert served as President of the University of Florida from 1928 to 1947 (the longest serving president of the University of Florida), through the Stock Market Crash of 1929 which lead to the Great Depression, World War II and was responsible for the construction of the one and only University of Florida football stadium, Florida Field (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_J._Tigert). The University of Florida has a webpage dedicated to Dr. Tigert, and the web address is
    http://www.uff.ufl.edu/facilities/facilities.asp?id=73.

    5. Julie may have a valid argument, if she can prove that over the recent previous semesters, cheating had occurred, without those students incurring any repercussions (thus, Acceptable Policy) for their unfortunate actions, that is, cheating. Then, Julie and other students that take their argument to the Dean of Students and the Student Conduct Committee, may win their case, in regards to, not having to endure any type of penalty, yet, recognized as having cheated, though.

    6. Three (3) years after the stock market hit rock bottom (March, 2009), sometimes referred to as the Great Recession, that has been noted, by some Academic Scholars, equal to that of the Great Depression (of which, the Great Recession has not ended), called for ‘Accountability’ from those, whose lending practices were ‘High Risk’ loans. The lending institutions knew a significant portion of the American people were not going to be able to make their mortgage payments. And when the Housing Bubble ‘Burst’, it lead to the ‘Troubled Asset Relief Program’ (TARP), as well as, ‘Quantitative Easing’ (QE)1 and (QE)2.

    Would it not, in the case of 242 students caught cheating on one exam (according to the professors statement of irrefutable evidence), at least to a small extent, need to parallel that of the government’s actions, in reaction to the Great Recession, thus, influencing the addition to/or the changing of policies (requirements of borrowers) of the lending institutions to prevent such an occurrence again? That is to say, should the Department and the professors of that Department, change their current policies on examining the students, for example, writing new exams and new projects, that do not need the so-called ‘Markers’ (for example, Time Stamps)? Of which, the student(s) could use those previous (old) exams and projects as a ‘Study Guide’?

    7. ‘Accountability’ extends beyond that of the student, though the student should abide by the Honor Code! ‘Accountability’ extends to the professors and the Department as well, which will require more work on the part of the professors, by writing new exams and projects, which require no ‘Markers’. There have been millions of people who have lost their houses due to foreclosure, as a result of
    the Great Recession, that is, the high unemployment rate, therefore, no money to make their mortgage payments. Obviously, the lending institutions made it extremely easy to get a mortgage and for the American people to continue seeking the ‘American Dream’, yet they (the lending institutions) did not plan on a recession, until it was too late, for them and us, the American population!
    The professors were/are well aware that previous projects (exams) are the same, thus the professors telling their students to not cheat because of the ‘Markers’ on the projects (exams) from previous semesters. Of which, those ‘Markers’, identify those students handing in old projects (exams) from previous semesters, of which, identifies the 242 students who cheated on the first exam (project).
    Without a doubt, the students should do their own work, I think everyone understands that. Yet, would it be that much effort from the professors, to make out new projects (exams)? Should the professors have, or accept a responsibility (duty) of a percentage of ‘Accountability’, with this unfortunate publicized article, of 242 students caught cheating on the same exam (project)?

    8. The past three years, since the stock market hit rock bottom, we have heard words and sayings like:
    ‘Too Big to Fail’
    ‘Too Big to Bail Out’
    ‘Strength in Numbers’

    In any case, 242 students, have been accused of cheating, with irrefutable evidence, as stated by the professor. Four options (choices) have been made available to those students, it will be interesting to hear about the choices that the students decide upon. Yet, one thing for sure is to occur, life will go on. Cheating is Not the end of the world, nor is it the answer to making the grade. Many students have cheated and not been caught, it must weigh heavily on their conscious, especially when they have children and try to explain that cheating is wrong. ‘Accountability’ does not stop with the student, especially when the number of students caught cheating, according to the professor(s), is 242, on the same exam (project)!

    The student must respect the Honor Code, and, in addition, the professors must have a degree of ‘Accountability’ and that they, as well, have a responsibility (duty) they owe to each of their students.

    Good Luck to all involved, students, faculty, the Department and the College.

     
  • 24681 posted at 2:34 pm on Sat, Mar 17, 2012.

    24681 Posts: 17

    I was wondering if anyone knows what percentage (%) the class cheated?

    The article states 242 students cheated on the first exam, does that represent 10%, 25%, 50% or a higher percentage than 1/2 of the class?

    In addition, The Independent Alligator, stated the choices that the students (who are allegedly caught cheating) have, in regards, to the consequences of the irrefutable evidence of cheating by 242 students on the first exam.

    Considering it took about 2.5 weeks before those students were notified that they were caught cheating, I am guessing, the Faculty of the Department, the Chairman of the Department, the Dean of the College and the President of the University, were informed of such a large number of students cheating and together, decided upon the choices of consequences that the students could choose from. Does anyone know that to be the case?

     
  • wuerffel4prez posted at 7:58 pm on Fri, Mar 16, 2012.

    wuerffel4prez Posts: 24

    It was a bad idea to cheat and particularly dull-witted to go public with the claim that the punishment was unfair because others did not get caught. Those of you involved should try to transfer to another school as soon as possible before this goes on your student record.

     
  • drunkergator posted at 10:25 am on Thu, Mar 15, 2012.

    drunkergator Posts: 1

    @Waterchuck: "Take-home and online exams are an absolute joke. Period."
    Take home exams are jokes only if you don't treat the class seriously. These people got caught by simply copying and pasting other students's exam. That's why the TAs found the markers in their submitted exams.

    The TAs have warned us NOT to COPY AND PASTE others' exams again and again in class. Guess what they did? They copied and pasted. From what the TA told us, most of them actually skipped the copy-and-paste and simply submitted others' files without even opening the file on his/her own computer.

     
  • MeisterX posted at 3:33 am on Thu, Mar 15, 2012.

    MeisterX Posts: 5

    Oh, and @gogators222

    You're not the brightest. Some of the best physicians I know (head resident at Shands-AGH for example) went to school in the Dominican Republican.

    Do your homework. Not the best ethics for an "MD."

     
  • MeisterX posted at 3:31 am on Thu, Mar 15, 2012.

    MeisterX Posts: 5

    @Chemteach

    You can say professors aren't lazy all you want. But I'm a TA too and I make the tests based on the professor's material. We change it EVERY SEMESTER. We outline term paper assignments.

    Professors I had in undergrad did none of these things. They used the same tests, the same writing assignments, the same worksheets, the same MATERIAL and the books that they wrote so they can make an extra buck off the student.

    You want to tell me professors aren't lazy? YOUR comment is the one that sounds ridiculous.

    Also, expelled for ONE instance of cheating? And not even plagiarism. Get out of town ya academic facist

     
  • gogators222 posted at 3:02 am on Thu, Mar 15, 2012.

    gogators222 Posts: 1

    24681:
    Congrats, You weren't smart enough to get into an American medical school. I don't know who you think you're fooling by trying to substantiate your credibility by saying you went to a Caribbean Medical school, that's akin to saying you're an expert trained by a failed wannabe. And 93% on the steps is pretty shitty when you take into account that you guys at Caribbean schools learn absolutely nothing about being a physician but study for the boards all day every day 24/7 so the FOR-PROFIT joke of a school you attend can move you right along its assembly line and boast that it produces competent (HA!) doctors. Thanks for defacing and degrading the rest of our MD degrees. Oh, and way to be humble and get that D.O. that is more appropriate for your intelligence level. MCAT's a bitch, ain't it!?

     
  • Chemteach posted at 10:00 pm on Wed, Mar 14, 2012.

    Chemteach Posts: 1

    As a teacher and now a grad student at UF ( I went there for undergrad too) some of these comments are ridiculous. The comment that was made about the professors being lazy is absolutely ridiculous!! It is infuriating as well. ALL of the students who cheated should be expelled. There is no excuse for the STUDENT's laziness. It is the student's responsibility that THEY have learned the material, not the student that did the assignment before. I see cheating all of the time in high school, but eventually these kids need to learn there are REAL consequences to their actions. I punish cheaters when I catch it, and I hear the same crap excuses. Grades should be given to students who actually earn it. It's so sad to realize how self entitled some people are.

     
  • lawgator08 posted at 9:03 pm on Wed, Mar 14, 2012.

    lawgator08 Posts: 1

    I'd like to clarify some points:

    1) The exams used to cheat were NOT old exams. They were other students' exams in the class. Different exams are used every semester and are generated by the book publisher, not the professor.

    2) People caught cheated were caught because they were too lazy to re-type the information and simply cut-and-pasted, resulting in other students' identifiers being embedded in their assignment.

    3) This isn't some tragic turnitin false-positive sob story. These people clearly cheated. They admit they cheated-OFF OF EACH OTHER, not using old exams.

    4) The fact that professors make it "difficult NOT to cheat" doesn't make you right. Cheating is cheating.

     
  • MeisterX posted at 7:56 pm on Wed, Mar 14, 2012.

    MeisterX Posts: 5

    @Waterchuck

    YES! What you said. Hit it right on the head.

     
  • Waterchuck posted at 7:45 pm on Wed, Mar 14, 2012.

    Waterchuck Posts: 1

    @24681: You're absolutely correct; @drtcbear: it probably happens more now than ever before...

    Some instructors actually make it quite DIFFICULT NOT TO CHEAT when they give us exams to take ONLINE AT HOME! Plus, almost everyone either already has the answers to these types of exams, or just gets them from others that just take it a couple hours earlier!

    It's not just for the CGS2531 class either. For example, in FOS2001, the instructor allowed us 24 hours to take the exams online AT HOME, so a few people simply take the exam early and then give the answers to hundreds of others in the class. It really couldn't be too much easier. Or could it? In MAN3025, again, two of the exams are given online to be taken at home, but the instructor for this class simply uses questions from a textbook test bank (taken from a file that most students already have, or anyone can just get online). There's almost no way for an instructor to make it easier to cheat than this. If a student does extra practice questions from the textbook, it's called "studying," or "going the extra mile," but then when the instructor uses those questions for the actual exam questions, then it's called "cheating?!" That just doesn't make a lot sense.
    It's actually SO easy that most people don't even consider it cheating because it's assumed that the instructors HAVE to know, and condone it. There's almost no conceivable way that they could care. It's as simple as this: it's fairly easy for students to assume that when we're made to take an exam online at home, the instructor should reasonably believe that there will be a substantial amount of "teamwork" involved. Most exams at UF are taken on campus with a proctor present (and there is little or no cheating). This is a standard procedure for instructors to administer exams in order to limit cheating (if they care about it) and maybe answer some administrative questions if needed. (Oftentimes, this is the only time we even get to see the instructor in person by the way.) And if they don't use this simple exam procedure, it's easy to assume that they don't care. Why then, should the small fraction of students (that wouldn't otherwise be inclined to cheat) be disadvantaged against others that are just using the resources so readily available to them? That seems "unfair" to those of us that will fall well below the curve if we don't use the resources that most others are using. It could easily be argued that these instructors actually make us "cheat." Or, at the very least, significantly encourage it.

    There's a lot of comments posted below berating students for cheating, and that's fine. If that's what makes you feel better, and it allows you not to have to put any more thought into it, then do it, and sleep easy. But some of this criticism should also be directed at the instructors that couldn't seem to care any less about it. Take-home and online exams are an absolute joke. Period. It's a little unfortunate that they don't care enough about it to provide us with a room on campus to take the exams. I don't know. Maybe it's due to all of the UF budget cuts or something! But when something is so prevalent that 242 students are implicated on a single exam, it doesn't seem like all the blame should fall entirely on the students. Don't get me wrong, we don't mind 'easy' instructors. It's just that sometimes they just seem a little lazy and/or apathetic. Wouldn't it be more prudent for instructors to draft somewhat original exams every year or so (and NEVER upload them to the Internet)? Aren't they, in fact, the ones that are consistently reusing the same things year over year, and sometimes even copying it from other sources? If a student submitted a paper that they had submitted in a previous year, it would probably be considered "cheating." And if a student submitted material that came directly from a textbook, rather than creating the mandated content themselves, that would also be considered "cheating." But isn't that what some instructors are doing?
    The question to ask is: is it the students that are cheating? Or is it the instructors?...at times, it seems like it may be a little of both.

     
  • thechosenone posted at 4:45 pm on Wed, Mar 14, 2012.

    thechosenone Posts: 2

    I might add that if everyone felt the same way as Julie, that it's only unfair to be caught, we'd have lots more looting and stealing, and the law would mean nothing.

     
  • thechosenone posted at 4:43 pm on Wed, Mar 14, 2012.

    thechosenone Posts: 2

    "Julie Rothe, an 18-year-old finance and information systems freshman, said she plans to accept responsibility. But she will challenge the penalty, she said, because students cheated in years past.

    “I’m really angry at the fact that students got away with this in earlier semesters,” she said. “We are taking the hit, and I believe that is unfair.” "

    Do speeders going 90 on the highway complain to police that other speeders got away? You'd better think twice about what you think is "fair" vs "unfair".

     
  • 8675309 posted at 11:39 am on Wed, Mar 14, 2012.

    8675309 Posts: 1

    As someone who is currently taking this class let me clear up some confusion about the exams. This isn't a standard multiple choice exam, with these exams you download a document from myitlab and then make changes to that document according to a rubric. When they say that these people cheated that means that they uploaded those documents from a different semester. Since they change the tracking marks every semester they are able to identify those people. It's pretty obvious that people cheated, and they should be punished accordingly.

     
  • cxysatki posted at 9:39 am on Wed, Mar 14, 2012.

    cxysatki Posts: 1

    I don't understand the argument that this student is trying to make in challenging the penalty. She's accepting that she cheated, and went out and confessed, but she's challenging the penalty because it's "unfair" that people got to cheat in the past and get away with it, but this time around, hundreds of students got caught. If life worked like this, then someone could easily go to court, confess to committing some sort of crime, but saying that they shouldn't receive any sort of punishment because many people in the past have gotten away with whatever crime they've been convicted of.

    Well, I don't think it's fair; I don't think it's fair that that could even be considered a viable argument.

     
  • 24681 posted at 3:33 am on Wed, Mar 14, 2012.

    24681 Posts: 17

    It would be helpful to define what “markers in the documents” of old exams are !

    It is a well-known fact that throughout the United States, the students resources are the textbook, their lecture notes, review books, previous students of the class, the Internet, old exams and old lecture notes. It is no secret that any and/or all of the above are used to prepare for exams and projects. Thus, a responsibility is expected by the university, that the professors not use the same test questions (question/answer sets) or project(s). The professors are not stupid, they know such resources exist. Thus, the professors warned the students of using old exams (as stated by ‘The Independent Alligator’ on 3-13-2012), because “markers from old exams existed”, yet did the warning by the professors fulfill their entire responsibility (duty) owed to their students?

    Personally, I would not increase those professors salaries, provide promotions within the department or allow those professors to attain tenure. Can you imagine one of those professors being interviewed at a different university, in the near future. Those interviewing the potential candidate (professor), ask the professor if he/she was one of the professors from the University of Florida, where 100’s of their students per exam, were alleged cheaters, all due to the students using their resources, that is, the old exams and old projects to study by. If you were interviewing one of those professors for your university, would you think the professor to be ‘Lazy’, thus not up to par with the standards of your university?

    The problem exists, first, with the professors, who hand out exams with the same questions and possible answers (question/answer sets), in addition, to the assignment of the same project for literally 1000’s of students over the years. What are the odds that one (1) marker could exist on two (2) students project, of which, has been determined by those professors, as proof of cheating? Obviously, if the exam or project is the same, semester after semester (year after year), the odds are greater that two students could have the same marker. Irrefutable? As long as professors ignore their responsibility owed to their students, the problem will continue to exist. By being a ‘LAZY’ professor that refuses to make new exams and projects (test banks and project banks, respectively), the professor has to resort to other measures, for example, using “markers” from their old exams, to detect the ‘possibility’ of their students cheating.

    I remember a few years back (July 8th, 2009), there was an article in ‘The Independent Alligator’ about a student doing an internship at The Colorado Springs Gazette. The article is titled ‘UF student fired from internship for plagiarism’ (http://www.alligator.org/news/campus/article_a92ea709-cc92-5773-836b-18ce5798b8d4.html). I am not sure what punishment the student received from The University of Florida, yet her name was mentioned in the article. I am sure the punishment was severe, she possibly was expelled from the university. Is the irrefutable evidence as stated by the professors, that literally, 100’s of their students cheated, as strong a case as that, of the above mentioned article (student)? If so, then should 200, 300 or possibly 400 students be expelled from the University of Florida and their names be announced to the public, if that be the punishment? My best guess is that many of those students, are the sons and daughters of prominent Alumni of the University of Florida, and that a few of those alumni, make large donations to the University of Florida. In addition, can the University of Florida afford such a national scandal, in which, those ‘LAZY’ professors were aware that their students cheated (if that case is proven), albeit, for more than just this spring semester of 2012, once again, if that case is proven.

    The Honor Code should be respected by all students and, in addition, the faculty should respect the Honor Code and understand they have a responsibility (duty) they owe to each of their students !

     
  • MeisterX posted at 3:07 am on Wed, Mar 14, 2012.

    MeisterX Posts: 5

    I never cheated.

    I still had two professors wrongly accuse me of plagiarism on submitted assignments. False positives I suppose. I went to honor court in one of these instances.

    I'm going to side with the student every time. Why? Professors are lazy, presumptuous, and abusive of their positions.

    And it's not even the few sullying the reputation of the majority. It is a breath of fresh air to get a professor who isn't a complete toolberry.

    This class is notorious for having a professor who doesn't care. He doesn't even TEACH THE CLASS! So when I hear "oh, well, they cheated..." my response is "well, he didn't teach anything worthwhile, so why should students put in any effort?"

    That's what I thought.

    Professors like this are just as much holding education back as a lack of funding.

     
  • 24681 posted at 10:35 pm on Tue, Mar 13, 2012.

    24681 Posts: 17

    Victrolla, can you, without confusing this situation, explain what "markers in the documents" means?

     
  • GlissonL posted at 10:21 pm on Tue, Mar 13, 2012.

    GlissonL Posts: 42

    It's not a terribly difficult class although my friend who took it with me got a B+, and he definitely tried to get an A (I got an A.) If they work extra hard they can probably still get C's or at least D+'s. Hope for a curve. And count yourself lucky if you got caught cheating and wind up with a C. Problem Solving Using Computer Software seems to have instead caused problems for a lot of people (pointing out the irony.)

     
  • finance_is_smart posted at 7:57 pm on Tue, Mar 13, 2012.

    finance_is_smart Posts: 1

    I for one vote for the expulsion of all cheaters in this class, and potentially an audit into UF's college of Finance. Garbage in, garbage out, look at the economy. I have spoken. [ban]

     
  • Victrolla posted at 6:58 pm on Tue, Mar 13, 2012.

    Victrolla Posts: 15

    As a Computer Engineering student, I can't help but feel the need to reiterate: THIS IS A COURSE FOR NON-MAJORS. No CISE student is going to fess up to cheating and then say it's unfair that they got caught/punished (lightly!); most of us are more likely to crap our pants at the mere thought of cheating and getting caught in our department. They were warned. I can see tuning out Bermudez's warnings, but the TA's told them all the same exact thing. Do they understand what "markers in the documents" means?

     
  • Demosthenes posted at 2:39 pm on Tue, Mar 13, 2012.

    Demosthenes Posts: 7

    The sad thing about this story is that she has the absolute gall to complain about "taking the hit" and this being "unfair". She ought to be expelled, given that she baldly admits to cheating. This is a travesty. Speaking as a graduate who earned both of my degrees without cheating, I feel this sullies the reputation of UF as an academically strong university. We need to enforce the honor code and bring all of these students before the Honor Court, as we certainly would if one individual had been caught. The mere fact that so many cheated at once, while deplorable, does not change the reality of the situation. They cheated. They were warned not to cheat. Now they should face the appropriate consequences, and not be offered some plea bargain that lets them get away with this kind of blatantly unethical action.

     
  • mom_jeans posted at 1:26 pm on Tue, Mar 13, 2012.

    mom_jeans Posts: 2

    Wait a minute. Rothe gets caught cheating and instead of getting expelled is given the opportunity to fess up and take a shitty grade (which she more than deserves) and STILL has the balls to complain about the fact that she didn't get away with cheating because other people did it too? Her parents must be so proud of their daughter and her massive sense of entitlement.

     
  • 24681 posted at 1:04 pm on Tue, Mar 13, 2012.

    24681 Posts: 17

    After attending the University of Florida (1990-1994), I went to medical school in a different country, of which, has a 93% pass rate on the United States Medical Licensure Exam (USMLE) Step 1, first time takers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_University).

    To expand on what ‘drtcbear’ had to say in a previous comment. In medical school, the Chairman of the Pharmacology Department told all of her students, to get as many old exams as possible. Once the students had gotten as many of those old exams, to go through those exams and understand why the correct answer was marked as a, b, c, d, e, f, g or h. Then, the students needed to go through the exams and try to re-write the exam question so that the incorrect answers would be correct. The chairman went on to say that if any student can do that, they would pass any exam she handed out. She also told the students, they will never see a repeat question/answer set on any of her past, present or future exams. Yet, that the student will have learned Pharmacology and be ready for the next semester, the USMLE Step 1 or clinical rotations, whatever was next for the student. I have a great deal of respect for her (now, the former Chairman of the Pharmacology Department) for being so upfront with the students and for not being ‘Lazy’, by writing new question/answer sets for every exam she handed out to the students. No click, clan or group had an upper hand in her class versus the students who did not have any of her old exams. It was a level playing field for all students. She did not try to entrap the students by using so-called markers, on old exams. Her old exams were like a ‘Study Guide’. She wanted her students to learn Pharmacology. I do not know what her salary was, yet she earned it and more, and the students that passed her two semester class, learned Pharmacology ! (to be continued, maybe)

     
  • Twuwutu posted at 11:34 am on Tue, Mar 13, 2012.

    Twuwutu Posts: 4

    As a student in the Computer Science department, I'd like to point out that this course is designed for non-majors. I've never taken a course with Professor Bermudez but I know that the majority of the faculty in the courses required for the Computer Science major are much more strict on cheating than this article seems to suggest. It is not unheard of, and is in fact most professors' policy, for students cheating, even merely on individual assignments, to be referred to Student Conduct.

    When information come out like this, especially in public view such as a campus newspaper, it sullies the name of our University in the eyes of corporate recruiters and graduate school admissions officers. Miss Roth, I agree, this case of cheating IS unfair. It is unfair to the honest students who will graduate from this University with the same degrees as those other students who think it is OK to cheat their way through college.

    On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in writing this comment.

     
  • atticraw posted at 10:58 am on Tue, Mar 13, 2012.

    atticraw Posts: 23

    @93GatorGrad Are you suggesting that I have cheated to obtain my employment? How about working three jobs throughout undergrad (not desk jobs; working construction during the summer, working productions at a hotel, and delivering pizza) to graduate in three years with a BS and 3.9 GPA. NO CHEATING. Cheaters do not deserve respect, they are part of the problem.

    You can feel proud that she is owning up to her mistakes and it is great that she recognizes her misdeeds. However, she is way off base to claim unfairness when she was warned multiple times about the markers. She also should be much more careful about having her story posted online.

     
  • paulman592 posted at 9:43 am on Tue, Mar 13, 2012.

    paulman592 Posts: 1

    hmm well the fact remains that Julie cheated, and not only did her teacher warn her regarding the consequences, he gave her the opportunity not to have to face the Dean of Students and the SCC and still potentially get a passing grade. Sounds not only fair but generous when considering the alternative. Time to grow up and do your own work kids.

     
  • 93GatorGrad posted at 9:21 am on Tue, Mar 13, 2012.

    93GatorGrad Posts: 114

    You know what Julie ... I don't agree with @atticraw. I have a couple choice words for that comment. And, from someone who teaches at UF? I would have expected a little more respect than that. I'm sure you never cheated your way up either - right?

    I myself can say I absolutely never cheated in college and my grades show it, but I did cheat my entire way through high school, which is probably the reason why I had such a hard time in college, but why I chose to do it right the second time around. I was also so afraid that if I was caught that I would lose my financial aid.

    Julie, you should be praised for your courage in coming out and taking responsibility for your actions. How few people do that in this University Administration (always passing the responsibility to someone else so that they can save face) and people in general. As a parent, I would be proud of you. At 18, what a great lesson for you to learn and start out with. We all screw up at some point, but it's those that take responsibility for their actions that have hope for change. For that Julie, I hope they show you leniency in your punishment, and that you learn from your mistakes.

    Good luck and don't give up.

     
  • atticraw posted at 8:36 am on Tue, Mar 13, 2012.

    atticraw Posts: 23

    HAHAHAHA Julie Rothe, why would you ever consent to have your name printed in the newspaper and admit to cheating?!?! Not only are you guilty, but you come off as an idiot. "It is UNFAIR".
    I have been teaching at this university for six years and every semester I hear about "unfairness". The majority of "unfair" complaints arise when a student happens to be failing my class. My response to this claim is to allow a student to define what would be fair (they never have an answer) and I inform them on how to formally complain about my class. Sadly, students like Julie don't realize that it is unfair to other hard working students to cheat.

     
  • drtcbear posted at 7:22 am on Tue, Mar 13, 2012.

    drtcbear Posts: 4

    When I attended UF the cheating was horrendous, the worst I had ever experienced in 20 years of higher education as a student and faculty member.

    Yes, people were repeatedly told not to cheat but the faculty usually encouraged it with policies that allowed some students to collaborate through time - usually Greek organizations, though not entirely limited to fraternities and sororities.

    The mechanisms were simple of course - Given a test with 100 multiple choice questions and 30-40 students collaborating, the questions and correct answers could be easily remembered with no student responsible for more than 2-3. Next years class would have all the exam questions and the correct answers.

    Campus groups with the ability to maintain and share such data banks could easily provide their members with the last 20-30 years of such tests. Worse still were the non-test assignments because students with access to past projects could spend a few minutes embellishing a known winner, and get an A while students without such access would have to spend days or weeks to prepare a comparable assignment.

    But the worst thing was the faculty could have eliminated the advantage cheating gives to such organizations and their members by simply making all old tests and projects available to all students. By refusing to make these materials available to everyone the faculty condoned the cheating and enhanced the advantage these long lived organizations and their members had.

    All the while of course the faculty were complaining about cheating while doing nothing whatsoever to stop it.

    In one case I had an exam and 5 minutes before the exam I saw several students studiously looking at a document. I went over and asked to see it. It was a prior exam. 75% of the questions on my exam were from that exam. On the questions from the prior exam I scored 100%. On the questions that were not, I scored 67%. As usual I finished the exam first, went to my teacher and reported my concerns.

    She gave me a copy of the exam - we were not allowed to keep exams which is why cheaters had to remember the questions or write them down - and I marked the questions I thought were from the prior exam I had seen. When my teacher compared the exam with the prior exam every question I marked had been on it and none of the ones I did not mark were.

    What happened? Virtually nothing. Teacher went in next class and angrily spoke about the need to not cheat but nothing at all was done to level the playing field between those students who had access to prior class materials and those who did not.

    Cheating will always be an issue - but when the faculty fail to ensure that all students are treated equally they condone the laissez faire advantage some students have and punish those who play by the rules.

     
  • 93GatorGrad posted at 6:53 am on Tue, Mar 13, 2012.

    93GatorGrad Posts: 114

    Julie, just ask UF's officials what their penalties were when they were caught cheating (or fudging the data) on the US News and rankings for colleges. I'm sure it's not the only thing they cheat on. And, the new rankings just came out, and I'm sure since it was overseen by UF's compliance that they didn't cheat. Well, not any more than the other colleges will cheat and have cheated in the past.

    Didn't your parents tell you that the only one you are hurting is yourself when you cheat?