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Old 04-05-2009, 10:48 PM   #1
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Ethical question:

Hey Guys,

I have a quick question for you. I'm kinda interested where people stand on the fence on this issue. I've asked a few people and the responses have been all over the place. I'm currently studying for a Calculus exam. I feel like I understand all of the material, have done countless examples, etc.

During the exam, we are free to use any calculator we want. I currently run a TI-89 Titanium which is absolutely studly. While I still do all the work by hand so I can get partial credit if I make a mistake, I use the calculator to quickly check my answers and to do other functions that save time (factor, etc)

Since the professor told us we could use calculators but never put any restrictions on it -- is it fair game to type formulas into the calculator's text editor. Being able to use the formulas is the most important, but I'm terrible at memorizing material -- especially math equations. That's why I do well in history, I remember most everything, but if I had to recite exactly what my teacher said -- I'd be in trouble!

Do you think using every aspect of the calculator is cheating or not. Regardless of the opinion on the board, I doubt I'll put the formulas in just to avoid any chance of getting in trouble. But what are the thoughts of the folks here about it?
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Old 04-05-2009, 11:10 PM   #2
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Re: Moral based question:

I don't see it as cheating, I mean think of it this way 4 years from now if you need to use calculus for your job what are you going to do? Chances are you will look in a book or remember that you programed your calculator with the formulas. Also, anyone can have a copy of the formulas but if you don't know how to use them then you still are screwed. And my last point if the professor told the class that you can use any calculator you can bet your bottom dollar other classmates are going to program the formulas into their calculators...
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Old 04-05-2009, 11:23 PM   #3
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Re: Moral based question:

LOL...We faced a similar predicament in our Calculus II during our finals and let me tell you the result for one particular cheater (yes, putting it on your calculator is cheating) was not pretty. The professor was able to somehow tell that he was cheating and came to his seat, asked him for his calculator, checked to see if there were formulas typed into it, took the exam papers from him and told him he's free to go home. The professor then proceeded to tell the entire class that if anyone else has formulas on their calculator they'll suffer the same fate and will be brought up for violating the school's code of conduct.

The moral of the story is don't cheat, it's not worth it.

p.s. We were told we can have a single cheat-sheet and that we may not store formulas into our calculators for the final exam.
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Old 04-05-2009, 11:26 PM   #4
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Re: Moral based question:

Part of college is learning about life. You are supposed to use everything you can to your advantage in life, so I'd say you'd be foolish not to.

Also, I had a friend that took a book and programmed a very nice calculator to plug and play many physics equations for our entire semester before the class even started. A couple of people caught wind after a couple of weeks and complained to the prof, who said, "If he's smart enough to program the material into a calculator, he must have a grasp on what I'm teaching."
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Old 04-05-2009, 11:33 PM   #5
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Re: Moral based question:

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Originally Posted by EternalEnigma21 View Post
Part of college is learning about life. You are supposed to use everything you can to your advantage in life, so I'd say you'd be foolish not to.
Wait a second, you say college is in part about learning about life, and then you follow up it by saying he'd be foolish NOT to cheat? So he's learning about life that's it's cool to cheat to get ahead? Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but that's what it sounds like you're saying.

I think the question here is how would the prof see it? He said "no restrictions." But what does that mean? If he knew you had formulas plugged in would he consider it cheating? If the answer is yes, I'd say it's not worth it.

I put a few formulas in my TI-82 back in AP Physics in high school. I didn't get caught, but I felt bad enough about it afterwards that I never did it in college. For what it's worth.
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Old 04-05-2009, 11:45 PM   #6
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Re: Moral based question:

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Wait a second, you say college is in part about learning about life, and then you follow up it by saying he'd be foolish NOT to cheat?

No I didn't. Don't impose your opinion on my statement. I said it would be foolish not to use everything he can to his advantage. I don't believe it's cheating. Its certainly not cheating in life.
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Old 04-05-2009, 11:56 PM   #7
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Re: Moral based question:

I also don't consider it cheating, because I've done the work to learn how to use the formulas. I think being forced to memorize them is quite silly. What does forcing a student to memorize a formula really prove?

When it comes down to one thing -- it's if it would be considered cheating. I've heard examples from others. If the professor had said you can't program equations into your calc -- this would be a non-discussion, IMO. That's cheating. This is grey area, which ethics is all about.
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Old 04-06-2009, 12:07 AM   #8
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Re: Moral based question:

Why don't you ask your teacher, then you'll know.

I'm puzzled to why you haven't already unless you already know.

If you're coming on here to get justification for your actions right or wrong just remember, you have to look yourself in the mirror in the morning, not us.

In the long run the easy road only looks that way until you walk down it.

Memorize the formulas. That's what I did and I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I'll bet you can too.

It's not hard. Finding an excuse for knocking up your girlfriend when your already married is hard.
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Old 04-06-2009, 12:11 AM   #9
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Re: Moral based question:

If you are willing to tell you instructor that you are using formulas in your Calc then it's not cheating.
If you have to hide it from your Prof, it's cheating.
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Old 04-06-2009, 12:21 AM   #10
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Re: Moral based question:

Trample: First of all, take a quick moment and get the sand out of your vagina. Now that we've taken care of that, please read my post, especially this part: I doubt I'll put the formulas in just to avoid any chance of getting in trouble. But what are the thoughts of the folks here about it?.

These are the types of decisions that truly show what ethics are, there's an argument to each side. I think if we took this example out of the realm of education and into the realm of business, folks would be telling me to use the tools to my advantage. I'm going to just take the test normally (jotting down a million formulas the second the test starts), but personally wouldn't consider this action cheating. If he said no using memory/applications/editors/etc then it's absolutely cheating.
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Old 04-06-2009, 12:24 AM   #11
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Re: Moral based question:

Honestly though, we all know putting formulas into your calculator isn't sanctioned by most professors. I don't think you can justify it without asking the professor where they stand on the issue. ToE and jamf make good points.
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Old 04-06-2009, 12:34 AM   #12
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Re: Moral based question:

Perhaps not sanctioned, but if something is not known as illegal, is it? That's the real meat of the argument. I'm trying to figure out what would make something 'cheating.' It may not be looked upon favorably, but it also hasn't been addressed at all. I think it's somewhat harsh to punish someone who didn't know and has no way of knowing if something is sanctioned or not.

Just to be clear, I'm not going to put the formulas in, simply because even if there were a 100% chance I was caught and a 5% chance that it meant honor committee I wouldn't take the chance. I'm not going to sacrifice my diploma for a few points. It's not worth it. This just struck me as a good 'real world' type of example.
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Old 04-06-2009, 02:38 AM   #13
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Re: Moral based question:

See this completely depends on the class and what is specified by the professor. In high school during our AP Stat test we were encouraged to put calc programs to help us speed up the calculations, infact our teacher frantically uploaded the program on several peoples calculators before the exam, because they didn't clear the calculator for the AP exam.

In other classes, like my calc ones it was expected you cleared your calculator and if you didn't have work to prove you knew what was up, you would get in trouble. But honestly if you can pick your calculator and it says nothing in the syllabus then honor committee shouldn't be able to do jack shit.
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Old 04-06-2009, 05:27 AM   #14
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Re: Moral based question:

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Originally Posted by Daseal View Post
Perhaps not sanctioned, but if something is not known as illegal, is it? That's the real meat of the argument. I'm trying to figure out what would make something 'cheating.' It may not be looked upon favorably, but it also hasn't been addressed at all. I think it's somewhat harsh to punish someone who didn't know and has no way of knowing if something is sanctioned or not.

Just to be clear, I'm not going to put the formulas in, simply because even if there were a 100% chance I was caught and a 5% chance that it meant honor committee I wouldn't take the chance. I'm not going to sacrifice my diploma for a few points. It's not worth it. This just struck me as a good 'real world' type of example.
In the "real world", if it's against the rules and you break the rules to gain an advantage, it's cheating. Pretty plain and simple. If you don't know or suspect it's against the rules, and you actively seek to be ignorant of the rules then it is still cheating if it's against the rules. By definition, it's not cheating if it's not against the rules. Ignorance of the rules is not an excuse. What's the ethical thing to do? Seek clarification and obey the rules to ensure a fair test for all.

The real question on ethics is this: You ask your teacher and he/she says it's okay, but only for those students who seek prior approval. Later, your friend says to you "Boy, I sure wish I could program formulas into my calculator". Do you say nothing or tell them it's okay (note, he did not ask a question so silence is not a lie). Suppose it's not a friend but someone you don't like. Further, suppose the test is graded on a curve rather than a straight scale.
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Old 04-06-2009, 06:25 AM   #15
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Re: Moral based question:

I'd say it's cheating and you probably already know it.
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