July 11, 2013

Is Cheating Collaboration?

Yesterday while perusing my facebook page I came across a post from a former colleague and friend that was attending the eRevolution eLearning conference.

Here is the picture she posted...

In the "real world" cheating is called collaboration.

She asked for our thoughts. I of course googled this statement and found that a blogger from Wisconsin, Penelope Trunk wrote a post about this very statement. Here is the link to that post if you are interested, click here.

Here are some of the comments from that facebook post...

"I was always that kid that loathed to share my genius with fellow students. The idea of someone cheating and looking over at my answers during a test BOILS MY BLOOD TO THIS DAY. If Jimmy to my right copied my answers because he has eyes like a bloody hawk, that's not collaboration. That's theft. Jimmy is a thieving bastard. 
However, here in Austria, there's far more cheating going around during homework assignments and quizzes and it's more or less tolerated, I think due to the idea that the kids are still learning, and they have much harder end of the year exams where cheating is all but impossible. IT STILL MAKES ME WANT TO HIT THEM WITH REEDS.
here is another persons thoughts on the subject...
"I think saying cheating is collaboration is to blanket a statement. Sure, some situations warrant collaboration, the more minds the merrier! but collaboration can also be the enemy of self-sufficiency, self-reliance and independence.""I think it depends on context. Even in the real world you can get in trouble for using others work or ideas - cheating or copyright infringement or fraud. However, collaboration is also encouraged and celebrated when the context is project based, peer editing, et al. Context is key here!"
and I will share this last one...
"Collaboration is an active give and take connection with exchange of ideas. Cheating is one sided, secret, covering up of what you don't know and taking it from another without the respectful connection between humans."
And finally I want to give you this link to an article written on this very subject by The Wall Street Journal, titled; How Could a Sweet Third-Grader Just Cheat on That School Exam? click here.

I was born in the 1950's, raised with the theory of right and wrong. Today we have new ideas and terminology are we moving the line that was drawn between right and wrong.


  1. The line between right and wrong may be manipulated, but it is still indelibly there. People just don't want to take responsibility for their actions. Collaboration is just that: co-labor. Both parties are knowingly working toward a common end. Cheating (in this context) is when one person has done the work and the other steals it. It IS theft, and it's still wrong, no matter how people may want to move the line to ease their consciences. We may want to move the line to say that 2+2=5 because it makes us feel better, but the fact remains that 2+2=4. Some things simply ARE black and white.

  2. It used to get my dander up when at work, the boss would take credit for something that was supposed to be team collaboration and never give the other person credit as well.

  3. I have to agree with Cranberry Morning on this one; you can colour it red and call it a rose all you want...it still looks like stinkweed to me.

  4. I have a very good friend who is a school teacher. She and her sister (a scientist who works for NASA) did most of the work for my friend's granddaughter in order to get her through high school. It began with one difficult class, then it turned into doing her work for every difficult assignment. By her senior year they were doing almost all of her assignments to get her a scholarship. She graduated with honors and they were so proud.

    They have continued to write her papers from simple rough drafts she sends over email, now that she is in college. she is on a that scholarship they won for her and now she needs to keep a good grade point average.

    They brag on her grades constantly. The granddaughter spends most of her time studying for exams. Her grades are excellent since her assignments are done by professionals. They justify this by saying no one can compete on their own in college since everyone cheats. She is getting her education...she passes her tests.

    I've made no secret of my objection to this but they say I'm old fashioned. In order to compete in life you have to cheat these days. She isn't stealing another person's work, it is given to her freely. With their blessing. The whole issue is bizarre.

  5. Tis sad to see the world changing values. I didn't know that Brandson had a lake.