Memorization and Cheating

This post is in response to the following article, “Memorization, Cheating, and Technology”.  The article can be found at the following link: http://chronicle.com/article/Memorization-Cheating-and/233926.

This author of this article discusses several issues that are happening consistently every year with gradual increases in frequency as student class sizes grow.  As a professor of physical geology, the author requires a certain degree of memorization for course exams.  As an Engineer, memorization has never been a strong personal trait, nor is it beneficial in the learning process.  Instead, in an Engineering course, application rather than memorization is of primary importance as it relates to physics or mathematical theory.  However, I also understand that in some departments, such as geology, to be successful, the author is problem true in saying that some facts need to be common knowledge.

The author says, that in recent years, requiring memorization has resulted in a increased cheating on exams via use of cell phones, or other small, portable devices.  He insists that from his experience in dealing with students that are caught cheating is commonly that despite clear warning about the using technology to cheat, students continue to use portable devices to search answers to questions that require memorization.  When asked, students commonly reply that using technology for answering questions regarding memorized material is not cheating, since the answers are available using short searches.  Although the author doesn’t directly explain is interpretation of this response, I believe its suggested that such mass exposure to technology has enabled younger generations with quick access to world wide web of  knowledge, resulting in a such quick searches becoming merely instinctual.  It’s to no surprise that such a technologically immersed society of youths find themselves compelled to turn to their technology before turning to their intellect.  Outside of cheating, the author has found that in recent years students refuse to mute or turnoff their cellphones in class.  Cellphones, among other technologies, distracts other students and the professor during lectures.  Again, I’d say this has similar reference to the issue of over exposure to technology.

 

One thought on “Memorization and Cheating”

  1. I think that is a good point, Ross. But it comes back to root of the problem in my opinion, and that problem is would students cheat using their phone if there wasn’t so much memorization? If the class was more problem-based, and was used to solve real-world scenarios, would the amount of cheating decline? I don’t know the answer, but I think it is worth a shot.

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