December 2, 2006


Cheating on an Ethics Test? It’s ‘Topic A’ at Columbia (Karen W. Arenson, 12/1/06, New York Times)

Cheating is not unheard of on university campuses. But cheating on an open-book, take-home exam in a pass-fail course seems odd, and all the more so in a course about ethics.

Yet Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism is looking into whether students may have cheated on the final exam in just such a course, “Critical Issues in Journalism.” According to the school’s Web site, the course “explores the social role of journalism and the journalist from legal, historical, ethical, and economic perspectives,” with a focus on ethics.

Nicholas Lemann, dean of the journalism school, said that students had to sign on to a Columbia Web site to gain access to the exam, and that once they did, had 90 minutes to write a couple of essays. But he was unwilling to detail how the cheating might have occurred.

Obviously, it's best to just lay off the personal commentary and let the rest of you conduct the turkey shoot in our comments section.

Posted by Matt Murphy at December 2, 2006 12:37 AM

No doubt Karl Rove pressured Columbia to put this course in the curriculum as another way to discredit mainstream journalists. The monster.

Posted by: Axel Kassel at December 2, 2006 8:07 AM

It's a final exam and they're allowed to log on ANYWHERE to take it? Good grief, the prof is just asking for cheating in this case. He should get off his lazy Ph.D butt, waddle down to the classroom and proctor the dang exam. Moron.

Posted by: Bartman at December 2, 2006 10:14 AM

Perfect resume enhancement for all those wanting to be hired by the New York Slimes.

Posted by: obc at December 2, 2006 11:21 AM

I hear the Minneapolis Star-Tribune just offered to hire the whole class en masse.

Posted by: AC at December 2, 2006 12:10 PM

Betcha they've all met and interviewed Capt. Jamail Hussein of the Baghdad Police. (Or will once hired by AP.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 2, 2006 12:19 PM

Do they get extra credit for learning Photoshop? Or for wearing green helmets to class?

But, the real question is whether Lemann will take the plunge and go on Hugh Hewitt's show again.

Posted by: ratbert at December 2, 2006 3:05 PM

Reading the blurb posted makes me think that the journalism dean has never heard of copy or paste as computer commands.

Posted by: Jay at December 2, 2006 6:29 PM

Typically, a college ethics class means learning enough sophistry to rationalize what you want and challenge the foundations of anything that's left.

As C. S. Lewis once quipped, it's safer to play cards with a man who knows cheating is wrong than with a man who knows all the reasons why cheating is wrong.

Posted by: Pontius at December 2, 2006 10:03 PM