A little help from my friends

On Assorted Stuff, Tim wants to flip the anti-cheating statement: “I have neither given nor received help on this assignment.” He proposes:

About Joanne


  1. This could be great, depending on 1) the specific assignment, and 2) the intelligence and desire to work of the students involved. For example, a high school chemistry lab assignment with honors students would probably benefit from this “rule”. A history worksheet where only one person bothered to skim the reading, not so much….

  2. Mark Roulo says:

    “to enhance my learning” is fine. “to do the assignment for me” is not.

  3. What Mark said. Excellent comment.

  4. dangermom says:

    He says: The thinking behind the statement on the first sign [“I have neither given nor received help”] is a reflection of the idea that learning is a solitary and isolated pursuit and will also be measured in isolation. That kind of learning is most often based on the retention of concrete bits of information, stuff that’s easily Googleable.”

    In other words, he thinks that knowing stuff is shallow and uncool, and that students can learn without actually learning material. He also thinks that individual pondering and deep thought is uncool. I have a hard time taking him very seriously after reading that. Group work is very nice, but it’s only part of an education.

  5. But what if your friends are idiots? Or what if you have no grounds yet to discriminate between a “vandalized” Wikipedia page and a book by the leading researcher in a particular field?

  6. cranberry says:

    Sure–as long as you don’t want to attend Harvard. If you learn such poor habits in K-12, you may find yourself separated from the university at some future time, due to alleged cheating.

    Teaching students “collaboration” is fine, as long as they are capable of producing independent work, and know when to refrain from collaborating. Students would be better served by stringent enforcement of rules against cheating, though.

  7. Obi-Wandreas says:

    The problem is that far too many simply do not comprehend ( or, more likely, conveniently ignore ) the distinction between ‘helping me understand the underlying concepts so that I might solve the problem’ and ‘giving me the answer to this problem’.

    Most students I’ve encountered need self-confidence and self-reliance, not more excuses to let someone else do the work.