An Education in the Dangers of Online Research
It hit Mark Gruntz all at once, while he was sitting flat-broke in an airport in Greece: He had lost credit for three summer courses, wasted $11,474 in student loans and gotten kicked off a boat. All because he hadn't cited Wikipedia enough in a paper about a movie.
Last week, he and another college student, Allison Routman, were expelled from the Semester at Sea program for violating the University of Virginia's honor code. The expulsions raised questions for some students about whether the school's more than 150-year-old tradition is too harsh -- and for others, whether students have a different understanding of plagiarism and research now that online resources make it easy to find information.
The debate is partly generational: those who grew up with the Internet vs. those who didn't. Many of Gruntz's and Routman's classmates were outraged by the punishment. They made "Save Mark" T-shirts, filmed Routman sobbing, signed a petition and wrote letters urging the dean to reconsider. Many argued that Routman and Gruntz hadn't done anything wrong. Others thought the penalty was far too punitive.
But the honor code at the university is absolute, and so was the verdict...
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
This from the Washington Post: