right arrow
GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: ak2018 is a rising junior at Virginia Tech having transferred from George Mason University. He'll answer any question, including about his studies abroad or his research at NASA. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our July Checklists for HS Juniors and HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.
As we work to adjust to the current reality, make sure to check out these dedicated COVID-19 resources: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.

Princeton TA catches student cheaters by laying trap on online cheat sheet website

Dave_BerryDave_Berry CC Admissions Expert 511 replies3063 threads CC Admissions Expert
edited July 12 in College Life
"A teaching assistant (TA) for MAT 202: Linear Algebra intentionally posted a false solution to a problem set question on Slader, a forbidden online resource. The post aimed to gather additional evidence of a pre-existing pattern of academic integrity violations in the class, according to an email from senior lecturer Jennifer Johnson obtained by The Daily Princetonian.

On May 8, Johnson, the course’s head instructor and co-director of undergraduate studies in the mathematics department, wrote in a Blackboard announcement to students enrolled in MAT 202 that she had obtained 'strong evidence' of students copying homework solutions from forbidden online sources, such as Chegg and Slader, 'despite clear instructions and multiple warnings.' ...

... Through several obtained documents, the "Prince" is aware of at least 21 students who were suspected of academic integrity violations in relation to a MAT 202 problem set due in mid-April. That problem set came after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the University to move online, meaning students completed it remotely." ...

edited July 12
8 replies
Post edited by ccadminkris on
· Reply · Share

Replies to: Princeton TA catches student cheaters by laying trap on online cheat sheet website

  • yearstogoyearstogo 808 replies30 threads Member
    Nice job by the TA!!!
    · Reply · Share
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 43234 replies471 threads Senior Member
    But if I read correctly, some are frowning at what the TA did?????!!!!!
    · Reply · Share
  • ChezCurieChezCurie 236 replies5 threads Junior Member
    @MYOS1634, yeah, some were arguing that it raises ethical issues surrounding the relationship between teacher and student, particularly those regarding trust. What I gather from the article in The Daily Princetonian is that the question goes something like, "Does a student have the right to trust that a professor/TA is always acting in a positive teaching role, rather than in a proactive policing capacity, trying to trap students and find proof that they are breaking the honor code?" Of course, by raising these trust issues, the blame is shifted to the university, and it ties professors' hands from doing any policing or placing such traps, but it doesn't deny that the students violated the honor code and terms of the course. This could be easily solved by clearly stating in the syllabus that the professor reserves the right to compare answers to those posted on online sources--kind of like teachers running term papers through plagiarism software.

    The other argument I saw, which I think presents a possible, if not probable, defense to not suspend the students, is that the students were allowed to "collaborate" with other students. An accused student could argue that they "collaborated" with another student who looked at Slader, and through collaboration, that student shared with them the Slader results. For this defense to work, the university would likely require the "innocent" student to name the "sharer." If there's no student to throw under the bus...

    Given that the professor had warned the class twice, and appeared to have enough evidence without the Slader trap, it raises the question why the professor did not contact or consult the administration about the suspected honor code violations before the TA placed their trap.
    · Reply · Share
  • 1NJParent1NJParent 2449 replies37 threads Senior Member
    edited May 29
    Honor system only works if there's occasional but infrequent verification (no warning should be needed, or even provided) and severe enough penalty for violations. BTW, that "solution" provided by Arthur Dent makes no sense, so those who copied it had no clue. That's likely not the only problem they cheated on.
    edited May 29
    · Reply · Share
  • ChezCurieChezCurie 236 replies5 threads Junior Member
    @1NJParent, very true. Unfortunately, that "occasional" verification does not appear to be happening. Otherwise, the students would have been sufficiently scared after the first warning.
    · Reply · Share
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83491 replies741 threads Senior Member
    Anyone else remember teachers in middle or high school laying "traps" with different versions of the generally similar test for before-lunch and after-lunch sections of the same class?

    Lunch time chatter based on before-lunch version of the test: "The answers to the multiple choice questions are all 'A'."
    After-lunch version of the test: The answers to the multiple choice questions are all something other than 'A'.
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity