How broadly can you define cheating?

Inspired by this thread:

How broadly can one define cheating? Let me describe the scenario.

Two graduate school students. Student A attends classes regularly and is diligent and prepated. Student B is a slacker who rarely attends class and doesn’t do much while in class.

Each student does, however, prepare their own work-product. The grade in the class is based on written product and then a final written (essay) examination. Student A prepares and outline and gives it to Student B. Both Students study off said outline and take the written exam. Student A receives a deserved A whilst Student B receives an undesreved B.

Is this cheating? Student B would not have gotten a B grade without Student A’s outline. Granted Student B had to study from the outline and apply when the student had learned to the written examination but did Student B cross the line by taking and using the outline?


I don’t view this as cheating at all.

Cheating would have been if Student B had stolen the outline and stuffed it down his pants so he could look at it during tests. Just stealing the outline I’d call stealing, not cheating.

Hmmm…well, if I was student A, I would find out whether student B was a slacker or not. As soon as I found out that student B was a slacker, I would have given him an outline to study from with the wrong answers.
That should teach him to have more of a desire to do things for himself.
What a :wally !

Heh. Well, I was student A and I was well aware of student B’s shortcomings. Student B was, however, one of the hottest women I have ever had the good fortune to know. We most certainly used one another and I am comfortable with that.

I never saw it as cheating either. She had to know the material and spend some time appreciating why it was applicable to the fact patterns on the exam.

OH! That’s not cheating, then. That’s called “female persuasion”. She’s one smart cookie! :wink:

Hey, is that an outline in your pants, or…

Almost by definition, learning through cooperation is not cheating. The point is to learn the material, if B learned the material well enough to score a B on a fairly administered test, then everything is fine. If the outline is part of the test, or if the outline was something that the professor asked each individual to prepare for themselves, then there is a problem.

The point is not to throw each person individually into the vortex, with only a tightly specified set of materials to see who gets the most out of it. The point is to learn, your outline helped B learn. If B read a book outside of the syllabus and that book helped her to learn the material better, that’s fine too.

Thank you for all of your responses. As I look back on the situation I am starting to think that perhaps she (B) was fundamentally brighter than I was (or at least learned in a different way). I was diligent, took notes and made every effort to keep up to date in class because I had to. She simply took my outline and did fairly well on each test. It really isn’t cheating and my initial thoughts appear to be confirmed.

Collaboration during studying is not cheating by any standard I’m familiar with. Student A did Student B a favor by helping him with material he did not understand, even though Student B is a slacker punk.

But getting into Student B’s pants was the whole point.

Well, as the person who started the thread that inspired the thread that inspired your thread, I’ll weigh in…

I’d say no, not cheating. This is just collaborative studying. Studying together and helping each other learn course topics is not a problem. Now, if this outline were something that was done because it was being handed in for a grade – that would be a different story.

From a teacher’s perspective, a piece of work handed in for a grade (homework, paper, test, etc) is to be used to assess that student’s level of understanding and learning. How can that be accurately assessed if a student hands in work copied from somewhere else?

In your scenario, Student B appears to have learned something. Perhaps not as thoroughly as Student A – but then that’s why his grade was not as high, right?