Some forms of “cheating” are actually more akin to savvy time management—it can be just a disparaging term for “efficiency.” Some cheating is about determining which bullshit counts and which doesn’t, and then cutting out the bullshit bullshit. A lot of school is bullshit. And I feel like a big part of a high school and college education is learning how to navigate around bullshit. Because it’s bullshit. You know? [source]
I’d like to talk directly to students right now.
Students, let me be (bold-all caps-large font) clear…
NOTHING I ASSIGN YOU IS BULLSHIT
Students, if you’re in my class this term, you’re there to learn general chemistry. Perhaps you want to be a chemist, engineer, medical doctor or nurse. You need an understanding of the basics of chemistry and I’m here to help you “get it”. I don’t assign things to waste your time, I assign things to help you learn. That whole assignments-for-learning scheme only works if YOU actually DO IT.
Let’s say we’re discussing the topic of intermolecular forces (IMFs). I assign a chapter in the text, a video or two, and a dozen problems on top of that in-class lecture and that lab experiment. All that work for IMFs may seem redundant. There is a simple reason for this redundancy – that shit is IMPORTANT and repeated exposure might help that shit sink in. There is a method to the madness.
Students, there is also a very selfish reason I don’t assign bullshit.
I DO NOT WANT TO GRADE BULLSHIT
I grade your quizzes, tests, lab reports, and lab notebooks. When you come to office hours, I go over problems with you. When you email saying you can’t get #17, I’m the one sending you a detailed response. I spend hours grading. You really think I’d assign you bullshit that I’ll have to grade? You must be out of your damn mind.
To summarize, nothing I assign you is bullshit because (1) I’m here to help you learn and (2) I have no time for bullshit. My intolerance of bullshit also applies to whatever bullshit excuse somebody might cook-up to justify cheating.
@Jezebel‘s Lindy West doesn’t ”conceive of cheating as a black-and-white issue”. I do. Students, if you commit any act of academic dishonesty in my class, I will pursue any and every disciplinary action the university/college affords me. Part of my job is guarding the value of a degree. That degree means YOU accomplished something – something amazing and difficult. Cheating devalues that degree, the university/college, and the academic program. There’s no way I’ll stand by and let that happen. Neither should you.