Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Cheaters Never Prosper

Academic research on cheating in games includes the work of Virtualpolitik pal Mia Consalvo, but there are also many digital culture practices that are intended to share cheating tips for high-stakes real world environments as well.

I'm interested in how YouTube videos combine cheating advice with a DIY aesthetic in videos like the one above, which also contains advice about using the software program Photoshop. For more examples of the genre, you can check out this collection from Law Geek.

Of course, I plan to look for these tricks among test-takers in my own classes, which will join classics like writing-on-the-visor or filling-out-the-blue-book-in-advance.

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Blogger Lupton said...

The student who takes the trouble to do all of this scanning and information processing will probably have "learned" the material, so from a cognitive point of view, it's not so concerning. But he's also high on the thrill of having gotten away with something that flies in the face of academic honesty, and this bodes ill for his future development as a citizen, husband, father, etc. Very disturbing. Or, do they grow out of it?? The new show "Secret Life of the American Teen Ager" includes a cheating theme (a nice Christian jock buys a term paper from another student). I am curious to see if this scenario has consequences similar to those developing around unprotected sex.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really wonder about the value of preventing small amounts of reference material such as this from being brought into a test for which they would have value. What real-world situation are we testing these people to be prepared for? Is there a circumstances where you'll be doing physics where your employer won't be okay with you tacking up a bunch of useful but infrequently-used formulae on your cubicle wall, or having a shelf of reference books available? I work at an engineering firm, and we have a library that spans the inner wall of the entire office which all of the engineers can refer to at any time, plus software installed on each workstation that allows them to look up a whole heap of mathematical formulae for various useful properties.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Hugh J. Martin said...

The earlier comments miss the point. The person who cheats, even in a small way, is taking advantage of the students who don't cheat. (And if someone has "learned" the material, they don't need to cheat anyway).
As for tests vs. work, tests are not designed to replicate work. They are instead designed to measure learning -- if all students don't face the same testing conditions, the measures are not valid.
And because individual grades can be influenced by everyone's performance on the test, the cheater can also distort other people's grades.

1:29 PM  

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