Thursday, March 3, 2011

O Brave New World! That Has Such Proctors In it . . .


I'm home again, and (as always) exhausted, and so this will be short.

But I thought I'd share a tiny little non-news-note from what used to be the future:

One of my favorite undergrad connections reports that his chemistry professor applied a heuristic program to the results of an online chemistry test and, as a result of its comparison of the timing of the posting of the answers, the eighty students who gathered in the library to take the test collectively were all given a flat 0.

Online tests!  Heuristic programs!  Cheating students penalized a full grade rather than being kicked out of class!  This is how the future arrives . . . not in an armada of flying saucers that suddenly appear over Washington, D.C., but in the middle of the night, when you turn over in bed and come face to face with a cyborg.  Or your transsexual spouse.  Or . . .



Matthew Brandi said...

An open-book exam, taken unsupervised: it doesn't sound like it was an important test.

Were there eighty students who wanted to cheat? That's what would shock me.

An eighty-student prank to make a point about test methodology? Zero awarded for failing to exploit a loophole?

David Stone said...

God forbid those students might have actually learned something from one another while completing that test together. As we all know, school exists to rank people on how good they are at school.

Matthew Brandi said...

"... school exists to rank people on how good they are at school."

Some schools, perhaps, but that's certainly not something we all know about all schools.

I was in many ways a terrible student--incredibly obnoxious, insubordinate, bad at exams, and bad at sports--, but I was there to learn (in my own twisted way), and my schools and university cut me a lot of slack. I remain grateful.