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Smart little hooligans…

January 28, 2004

Some high school students in Saratoga, California used a keylogger to capture a teacher’s passwords (which were used later to steal English tests). The students are facing explusion, naturally. But, all serious punishing aside, I can’t help but feel a little jolly. The kids used technology in an innovative way…even if it was for the purposes of cheating. Speaking of which, when I taught Freshman English Composition at Washington State University, I caught half a dozen or so of my students plagiarizing (AKA cheating) over the semesters, and despite my efforts to give the students a big fat zero on the projects, the department wouldn’t back me up. Instead, the kids just got to write the papers over again for a new, penalty-free, grade. One kid even, for a short story assignment, copied the description from the back of a Dances with Wolves video, and tried to pass it off as original fiction. Come on kid, at least pick something a little less well-known. Anyway, I always felt it was bad form for an academic institution to have no penalty for cheating. What kind of work-ethic does that teach our new workforce?

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