Getting away with it all, that’s the living – contemporary education

The two last months alone show ‘collaborative cheating’ & ‘contract essay’ services are booming. At Harvard, 125 students (almost half the political science class) cheated. At Deakin, 10 students (10% of the class) were suspected of dirty play after an investigation by the Business & Law faculty.

On the Harvard cheating investigation, the Last Psychiatrist offers a unique perspective almost blaming the students as ‘victims’:

…Everyone in that class cheated: if they didn’t copy off of each other, they copied off of the professor, with no internalization of the “knowledge” because that was never the point of the class. If you want to try and tell me how those are any different, I’ll be at the bar… You force 125 people to collaborate on the real final exam question: “What does the professor want?” Apparently, what he wants is an easy way to grade, and you all got caught accommodating him.

Australians love to blame the educators, especially public school teachers, the kids again are the victims… apparently.

The commentators on that blog made such astute observations that this post will focus on those broader issues. Hell, that’s exactly the purpose of blogging: to promote discussion.

Do we reflect on exactly how we educate ourselves or are we focussed on simply getting through the university or training course to maximize our CV?

Here’s some food for thought inspired by that blog! Some questions that maybe we are all too busy to ask ourselves!

Can original thought have value or is it merely risk taking?

Whose determination of what constitutes critical thinking is valid? Who determines precisely which forms of research are valid?

Is critiquing high quality sources a form of risk taking?

Is there ever a right answer in an essay or argument? Is balance warranted?

Does grading simplicity promote a form of learning that is inherently flawed?

How should performance be measured in our training & work?

What should we obtain from our courses? An education or a passing grade? Is the former an impossible ideal?

Why should interpreting sources as ‘authoritative’ be a valued skill?

Is validating those who are more educated or experienced than yourself necessary to progress in society?

Do modern university candidates (students) have a delusion of superior intelligence? Or are the academics the narcissists?

Are all universities just degree factories? Is education underpinning capitalism rather than furthering society?

Is cheating an effective form of time management or laziness?

‘Getting away with it all, that’s the living’? Should the best cheats prosper? And finally… should the most successful plagiarists consider a career in competitive cycling?


Disclosure: the author has qualifications from two of the institutions included in this piece.

Marking the Markers courtesy of University of Queensland Law Society. The mag is a satire ‘produced quarterly by a group of highly-attractive UQ law students with a flair for inane drollery’.

Must dash, I’m meeting the Last Psychiatrist at the bar!

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