Week 13: Ethics Project

In working  on my final project I have realized that there is so much material to explore regarding open access (OA) and the variety of opinions regarding it. I sat in the front lobby area of Newman Library and asked people walking in and out about their knowledge and opinion of OA publishing. I was really surprised by how many different opinions people had about OA. Although most of the people I talked with had a positive opinion of the idea, I thought there were some very good points that were raised about their concerns with publishing in an OA. Some of these concerns were: How do you ensure legitimacy in pay-to-publish formats? How can you deal with discrimination from academics who do not approve of OA journals? What do you do if not all of the authors on a paper are in agreement about publishing OA?

I think that this would be a great project to explore in more depth and possibly explore some solutions to these questions. Furthermore, if I attempted to make this into a more in-depth study, I would create a more structured survey and ask respondents to write their own responses instead of trying to jot down what they said while we were having the conversation. I found it very difficult to catch what they were saying word-for-word and would like to avoid misinterpreting peoples opinions.

Week 12: Personal Ethics

After reading the article in the Collegiate Times: Students to retake exam after solutions appear online, about the ethics of using Koofers.com to look at past exams, I believe that this should be a fair study tool. I do not think that it is cheating to look at previous tests to get an idea of the format and material that might be asked. In my opinion, the ethical problem is actually with the professor. Knowing that resources like koofers.com exist, I believe that instructors should provide students with the old exams as study material and write new exams so that no student has an unfair advantage. It seems to me that part of a professors responsibilities are to write exams for the classes they teach and I think that simply reusing previous exams without any changes is lazy and ethically wrong.

If the students were accessing koofers.com during the exam or had copies of the previous tests while they were actually taking the exam, however, I do think this would be ethically wrong. I understand that in the article the teacher and department did acknowledge that there was not an academic integrity violation by the students that used the previous exams to study and that they  just wanted to make sure that all of the students were given equal resources for their studying.

I think that this article raised another important point; technology and academics often have a complicated relationship. On one side technology can be a great tool for learning. It is essential that the modern student learns how to utilize technology in order to be competitive for employment. The other side, however, is that teachers need to constantly be aware of how new technology can be used to cheat and adapt their strategies to ensure that students are utilizing the available technology to enhance their learning instead of abusing the technology to have an unfair advantage.