Facebook Groups the New Study Groups?

In this article, courtesy of Stephen Downes,  a student was charged with academic misconduct for conducting a Chemistry study group on Facebook.  The student claims that he was only looking for tips on how to approach different problems.  Now, as a teacher, this could sound fishy and the group could just be a way to exchange answers with one another.  If that is the case, then this group is not very beneficial for students.  However, maybe the students are just looking for help and Facebook provides a way of doing just that.  It is really hard to determine the motive behind the student’s decision to create this study group.  What do we do as teachers?  Do we give them the benefit of the doubt and allow groups like these to exist?  Or do we forbid this kind of behavior?


3 Responses to “Facebook Groups the New Study Groups?”

  1. Great questions! My answer would be let them. I would be happy that they at least cared enough to cheat and look up the answers on the internet or go through the trouble of writing down the answers. Ok, maybe I don’t really want them to cheat, but if they are all cheating it would probably be obvious to the teacher when the whole class has the same answers. That is the reason I don’t grade homework heavily. I think for the most part, the normal student will not continuously cheat because they would eventually fail the class when it came time to take the test. So, since we really can’t stop it, because when I was a kid we used to just call each other and give answers, let them. They will have to understand it for the test.

  2. My opinion is that if they just wanted to exchange answers they could have done that over the phone. To me a site like Facebook gives them an outlet to connect with numerous people at once, not just one at a time over the phone.

  3. I think that groups like this are just fine and should be encouraged, not discouraged. I agree with Barbara that it is nice that they are talking about school. How is getting together on Facebook any different than students meeting at someone’s house and having a study group? To me, the only difference is that their conversations were public. It doesn’t change the principle that students care about their education.

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