Cheating on Facebook?

Chris Avenir, a Ryerson University Freshman in Toronto, Canada, is facing 147 counts of academic misconduct for running an online chemistry study group via Facebook last term, where he and 146 of his classmates swapped tips on homework questions that counted for 10 per cent of their final grade. As administrator of the study group, he is bearing the brunt of the accusation.

Today’s Toronto Star reports that College officials are currently silent on the matter pending further investigation but that students are in an uproar over the situation. How is discussing the questions via Facebook’s forum any different from meeting in the “Dungeon” – a Ryerson basement study room used by engineering students to study and network in this same manner for years?

Is this truly a case of misusing networking technology to “gain academic advantage” or yet another clash of Luddite Professor vs Wired Youth? The results are going to be worth following as we sort through another layer of the consequences of being hyper-connected in an Internet World.

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