What are we teaching them?

Just finished grading.  Grading students is one of those things that you have to do – just like trying to find funding.  Anyway, reflecting on the course(s) I found that a lot of what I was teaching was stuff – the meat of the course – but that isn’t what is important.

What really matters is academic honesty.   I could easily have failed a third of my class for cheating – sometimes quite brazen cheating.  (their grades suffered for it).  Many of the students, both international and from the USA, seem to think that it is acceptable to copy and that I won’t catch them.   What they don’t realize is that they are cheating themselves.

There is a basic standard of professional conduct.  My central task is to teach this – not just the “stuff”.   You can plagiarise on professional papers only if you don’t get caught – and once you’re caught (and you will be -  it’s easy to run a google search) everyone involved suffers.  The plagiarizer is ostracized, his coauthors treated with justifiable suspicion, and the status of the institution is diminished.

So I guess one good side effect of teaching is that now I know which students not to recruit for my lab.

Written by Rob in: pedagogy |

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