Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ryerson and Facebook

By now, many of you have probably heard of the controversy surrounding Ryerson University's case against student Chris Avenir for his administration of a Facebook study group. If not, read on!

U of A's Gateway has a very informative article explaining the background and circumstances of the case:

"Chris Avenir, a chemical engineering student, joined to help himself and others study for upcoming test and assignments. The group, called “The Dungeon / Mastering Chemistry Solutions,” eventually gained 146 members.

After a university administrator discovered it, however, Avenir’s professor gave him an F in the course, charged him with academic misconduct, and recommended that he be expelled..."

This case provokes a range of interesting questions: What constitutes cheating and how is it differentiated from studying? Should the activity of regular in-person study groups be approached in the same manner as online study groups? What is the dominion of the university and it's student code of conduct over online activity? Where are the limitations? Do students have any measure of academic freedom?

Ivor Tossell of the Globe and Mail has written a fairly entertaining, but thoughtful analysis of the situation.

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