LINGUIST List 6.1391

Wed Oct 11 1995

Disc: Cheating

Editor for this issue: Annemarie Valdez <>


  1. Kristina Harris, Re: 6.1373, Disc: Cheating? (semi-long)

Message 1: Re: 6.1373, Disc: Cheating? (semi-long)

Date: Sun, 08 Oct 1995 09:21:21 Re: 6.1373, Disc: Cheating? (semi-long)
From: Kristina Harris <>
Subject: Re: 6.1373, Disc: Cheating? (semi-long)

On Sat, 7 Oct 1995, The Linguist List wrote:
 [One of Nick Reid's students apparently wrote:]
> > I was wondering if you would be able to give me some information
> >on a language spoken in South-East Asia. The name language is unknown to
> >me, but I do have some examples:

 Having been asked myself to do a student's work for them, I thought
I'd add my 2 cents worth. Yes, I would consider the above cheating,
because the student was asking someone else to *do* the exercise for
him/her. However, this does bring up an interesting problem: where
does such a thing stop being "research" and start being "cheating"?

 Would it be cheating, for example, to log on to the Human Languages
Page on the Web and from there find the actual language of the exercise?
Some would say yes. Would it also be cheating if one happened to find a
fellow student familiar with the exercise and ask them for more
information? Again, some would say yes, and others no. I think
there must come a point where we ask ourselves where genuine
investigative processes become an attempt to avoid work, while at the
same time applauding students who branch out in their efforts to find

 Let me be clear: for a student to ask anyone to do his work for
him is wrong. However, it is, perhaps, naive to assume that all students
will actually study and do their work themselves. That some students
will cheat is almost axiomatic, but cheating via the Internet should
simply be treated as it would if the student had cheated by other
means. One (happy) difference is that Nick found out. At least the Internet
does make it easier for colleagues to inform each other when such things

 A last point: the Internet is still so new to many people that the student
may not have considered that use to be cheating. (I think many people
consider e-mail responses to have come from a large, government-funded,
artificial intelligence somewhere.) We might want to make very clear
to our students that asking someone for answers directly, whether in
person, by telephone, or by e-mail is unacceptable. I know it should
be assumed, but in many cases it is not.

For what it's worth...

- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kristina Harris --Systems Administrator, Math Center, Univ. of NV, Reno
 --Graduate Student in Linguistics (Pity me...)
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