10/06/2010

Heartbroken

In every class I teach there is usually one instance where I have to contact a student to see how they came up with the solution to their assignment. 90% of the time they have a plausible explanation and I leave it at that and they understand that I actually *do* check their work and we don't have an issue again. I've never actually turned someone in before.

And then there's today. Today, grading some finals, I found 3 programs that were exactly the same. So I gave them 0s. I don't even need to investigate, because there's just no way it's original - the solution is too fancy for what our class gets to, the chances of 3 people coming up with it and managing to get the spacing and commenting etc. all put together perfectly? Minuscule. (Plus I found where they got the code from - just because I didn't need to investigate to be sure doesn't mean I didn't investigate.)

Why am I heartbroken? Two of them I considered some of my best students and now I'm wondering if they bought the solutions to other assignments as well and I just didn't notice because it wasn't so clearly off. Also? The 0 on the final takes them from passing to not.

I'm turning them in. I wish I could turn in the website that offers to cheat for a price - but honestly, there probably are legitimate reasons for such a website. And I wonder how many people have used this same code and gotten away with it. Honestly, if only one of them had done it, I probably wouldn't have spent more than a few minutes wondering about the extras - I get students who put in extras all the time.

I just don't get cheating. I would rather fail on my own merits than succeed dishonestly. I keep forgetting that that's not the normal mindset...and it's heartbreaking.

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