Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday Meme's Love & Cheating...

I am starting to wonder if Les and Josie are sharing brains a little.  Les's Coffee Chat theme is to identify the most romantic character and Josie' Two Shoes theme is to discuss cheating.

Al Bundy of Married With Children infamy was known as a loser whose life peaked when he scored three touchdowns for Polk High.  The man was a shoe salesman who made very little and the got to come home to unappreciative kids and a lazy wife.  The man was an ignoramus whose moral compass was slightly off kilter.    Even though often his life was miserable and he would get into situations of his own doing, he never cheated on his wife.  Though presented with opportunities (like with Vana White in a guest appearance), he always went back to what he truly believed were the core values of what family should be; trust, loyalty and love.  If a character with an IQ of a simian can figure that out, I often wonder why others can not as well.  Cheating is just about being selfish.  There is no real rationale that can or should be provided.

On a side rant:  I guess being a professor I need to talk about students cheating.  I honestly think little of it.  A lot like I stated above, cheating of any type is more about the individual than me.  Students are paying a great deal of tuition and if they want to cheat themselves out of their investment; they are making that choice.  It is like paying for a haircut then letting someone else go and get the hair cut for you.  In reality, you just wasted your money.

Josie Two ShoesI have learned though, that if you want to avoid cheating in your classroom, you have to be innovative.  As such, my tests and assignments are experiential in nature.  That means the assignments can look similar year over year but the results of the assignments are going to change based on what they encounter in the process.  For instance, I teach the services marketing triangle every semester.  They do the reading in the text but then in my talk, I give specific examples of what the different sides mean.  These examples change every semester to reflect a current story or event at the time.  I then have them do an assignment where they have to go to a restaurant and conduct a review applying the model.  The exam then asks them to not only tell me about the model but then to cite specific examples brought into class or in their assignment of how it can be applied in a business context and then how they could use it in the future.  So I am not just asking them to name the parts,  I am then asking them to make the connection between the classroom and the greater world.  This is hard to fake (especially since I am looking for specific examples we cited in class and refer to their assignment).

Further, I emphasize process in most of the assignments.  I look for students to explain their rationales and thought patterns for why they chose to complete the work as they did.  This is much more difficult to fake (it also saves me from suffering last minute - pull it out of my butt work).  I create assignments and tests that are not just regurgitation but also application combined with strategic processes.  Does this eliminate all cheating in my class?  I certainly am not naive enough to think so but by demonstrating how what I am teaching will benefit them in the future, I am hoping the majority want to engage the material and take on the challenge not because it is easy but rather because they see it as an opportunity to gain insights that will contribute to them becoming happy and productive adults.

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