February 5, 2010
This week, without getting into detail, the issue of academic dishonesty has been high on my radar. This is an issue that all teachers and college professors will need to deal with at some point during the school year. In my own short experience it is typically about a dozen or so various offenses (small and large) that occur throughout the year. Academic dishonesty (in all of its forms including cheating, plagiarism, etc) could be argued to be a potential threat to our country’s well-being. Let me describe the argument as posed by my husband the other day (see, I am giving credit where credit is due!)
Because academic dishonesty is very often an attempt to circumvent the educational mission, students who engage in this activity are therefore undermining their own education. They do not allow themselves the time or the opportunity to develop their own original ideas, which reduces the amount of practice they have in actually developing new and innovative ideas.
If our students do not practice innovative thought, they will be less likely to come up with the new and innovative ideas needed to make our country and society competitive in the world. We will be left behind perhaps with a mentality that we should just borrow from other countries and allow for other societies to solve the world’s problems (sounds a lot like social loafing on a huge scale!).
This eventually leads to the US playing catch-up and at the mercy of waiting for others to come up with ideas for the world’s problems. (A bit of a slippery slope I admit)
Now, a few disclaimers, I realize that not all great ideas come from the US and that just because an idea comes from the US that the idea is therefore good and right. But if we are not even developing new ideas and innovations we are reducing our contributions to the world.
I am also not suggesting that great ideas do not come from borrowing from others. Most new ideas come from the ideas of others, we just need to first, give credit to those ideas and second, not depend on others for new thought.
If the future is in the hands of the younger generation there needs to be an instillation of the gaining of a good education and the ability to have creative and innovative though of being the duty of a citizen. Of course there are issues here in terms of equality of access and educational opportunities which I will not get into at this point.
I wonder if college students see obtaining an education in this way? Would it make a difference if they did? How can we get students who engage in academic dishonesty to REALLY see the potential implications of their actions?