Facebook Study Group Could Get Student Expelled

Charged with academic misconduct

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A freshman at Ryerson University in Toronto has been charged with cheating for running a Facebook study group and could be expelled pending a faculty hearing on Tuesday.

Chris Avenir, an 18-year-old computer engineering student denies the cheating allegation and said he joined the online chemistry study group Dungeons/Mastering Chemistry Solutions last fall. He later became administrator of the group.

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  • Guest

    This is just a reaction from another bunch of stupid academics who are reacting because of what they cannot control.  Did I say stupid?  Might I even say evil and not necessarily in the religious sense.

    Those who think that instructors in a university are intelligent need to take another look and think again.  Many of them are merely pedagogs who are unable to go out into the world and do and resent anyone who does.

  • http://www.omnisserver.com/ Chris

    It seams obvious to me as I am sure it does to almost everyone else that the Internet is and has been used by millions of students across the world to research, study and collaborate on their course work. The fact that this has been organized more efficiently through the use of Facebook is in my opinion completely irrelevant.

    The fact that these students use Facebook instead of meeting in the college library is missing the point completely and just shows how some apparently intelligent people in positions of authority are completely out of touch with the modern world.

    I believe this action again one group is just going to encourage others to use the technology, but without letting anyone else know.

  • http://blog.randy.ansems.ca Guest

    But what if they were actually cheating? 

    What if they were actually cheating in the facebook group?

    Then what?


  • http://www.petfoodstory.com David

    Academia probably doesn’t understand the "World is Flat" principle. The Internet and Social Media technologies are allowing people to collaborate at light speed.

    The problem with websites like Facebook, in contrast to library or home study groups, is they leave a footprint for all to see.

    It’s foolhardy for academia to think students outside a classroom don’t collaborate in thoughts, ideas, and discussions.

  • Guest

    Did the teacher teach and illustrate the concepts in a clear manner?  Does the student have a mis-diagnosed learning disablity and a high IQ?  The reason the teacher is upset is they need to see how well a student Independently of others can learn or not learn or concetptualize the coursework they are doing, to the best of their ability.  The problem with education is it does not matter where you get your education.  it a textbook, a Google Search, learning from others in Online Chats. sitting in a distracting classroom trying to listen to a Teacher.  Reading a well written or poorly written College Book.  The thing this guy being a Computer Engineering student says leagues about him.  He is a leader not a follower and the teacher is threatened by a leader.  Scientists share, collaborate and learn from many different sources.  But stil the Teacher needs to know, for the student’s own benefi,t what can the student can pickup on his own with limited information.  Would you want a Medical Doctor to make split decisions when he instead needs to go to Google to a Chat Room but the power is down? What then? IMO.

  • Tanya B

    This is an emotionally charged issue and this article seems predisposed to inflame the passions of persons with an anti-establishment bent. I am not sure the author of this article has presented sufficient information to make an independent judgement regarding whether or not this student was indeed cheating. We would need to review the schools student conduct policies to determine whether or not the behavior falls within the established guidelines categorized as cheating or misconduct. Then, we would need to review the content and information shared on Facebook to evaluate whether or not the information shared online met those criteria. One would hope that the University faculty took these steps prior to making the charge of 146 counts of misconduct. And, if those steps were taken, and the behavior did indeed fall within the guidelines, then the University’s decision was justified. Afterall, when the student registered for classes at the institution, he agreed to follow the guidelines or pay the consequences.

    That said…146 counts of misconduct seems extreme. If this was a gray area, as is my guess, it would seem that a warning would have been a more appropriate and moderate response to the situation…along with an appropriate ammendment of the schools policy guidelines to specifically address this emerging form of inter-student communication. 

  • Robert Bradford

    What better way to keep tech-savvy kids who want to help others study out of your school? 

  • http://www.kawanda.net Kawanda

    I think the group did post the solutions to the given assignments in good formatted documents, and didn’t actually help on "understanding" the problem.

    In that case I think it is cheating, it is just like some one copying over someones’ exam paper during examination!

    On the other hand if they are just gathering there to help each other solve the problems, then I don’t see anything wrong with it…

  • http://www.profitbuilderclub.com Guest

    With millions of people registered with social community sites like Facebook, Myspace,Friendster and some other new and upcoming social community websites, how did you know that they are the only ones cheating?  (if they are really cheating).

    • http://www.ChrisDidntCheat.com Guest

      Hey Guys…this is horrible. As a soon-to-be grad (hopefully) from San Diego State…this is more of the old thinking that the ivory tower shoves down our throat.

      Is it OUR fault that schools are so antiquated they don’t understand that Facebook is like a virtual study hall or dorm room or any other place we would all normally study?

      Don’t let Chris take the fall on his own. Go to www.ChrisDidntCheat.com and buy something from the CafePress store.

      The money will be donated to Chris.

      He can either use it for legal expenses or for a round of beers (which I think we can all agree he’ll need during/after this debacle).

      Spread the world. www.ChrisDidntCheat.com

  • http://www.peoplequiz.com trivia-guy

    Seems to me that it makes no difference whether the group is online or not. The real question is what kind of help are they getting.  Giving out actual answers to tests would be misconduct, whether they use the internet to do it or not.  Its not clear to me here what they’ve done wrong. 

  • billzy

    I guess with a bunch of tight ass academics trying to cancel this type of study group is really stupid as they could obviously join their work elsewhere. for this rule to apss i guess you would have to get rid of library’s as well… what a sh

  • http://www.midwest-populistamerica.com Russell Cole

    If I am correct in my interpretation that this kid’s activities were disclosed during a research project that involves human subjects, then their are ethical standards that compel the researcher not to commit actions that might be harmful to the subjects that he is studying.  I find this exceedingly bizarre that the research group could disclose this kid’s affiliation with the study group without having their IRB approval revoked.  Maybe because it is Canada or something, they have different standards and ethics guiding research involving human subjects.  However, I thought that these ethical principles were, for the most part, internationally accepted.

    Russ Cole

  • Dee

    There have been issues in the higher education realm for a very long time.  When you can have a professor tell a class that he has a responsibility to fail half the class regardless of grade, things need to be addressed.  This situation occured to my father-in-law when he was in univesity. 

    If the problem the teacher had was that he instructed the students to do the work 100% on their own, then I suggest he/she have it completed during class time.  If the arguement is that the teacher needed to know what the students knew for themselves then I suggest using an exam.

    Not all Professors are proficient at teaching, I dare say a great many are not.  This leaves students to find ways to learn the material in whatever manner they can.  A student can be expelled for not learning properly but a professor keeps his post whether he can teach properly?  Hmmm  who is it that is paying through the nose for the education? 

    The arguement that we wouldn’t want our doctor heading to google to find out what to do in a given situation is a weak one.  Do you honestly think that any major professional does not research and study up and collaborate?  Give your head a shake!  We should be happy to have more than one mind looking at a given problem, not very many people are wizards.

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