Struggling to Learn Together
For better or worse, the educational model of the school, particularly of the university, serves as the basis for training and learning programs in the workplace. It is also the model familiar to many new workers, since they have recently come from that same school environment.
One of the burdens schools face is deciding when to attribute work to a given student, in order to use that work to give student a grade. They deal with this challenge through codes of academic integrity.
How do these codes prepare students for, or hinder workers in, exercising a crucial success behavior in the workplace: cooperative learning?
To find out, I searched Google with the phrase “working together academic integrity“.
There were some positive guidelines here and there such as:
- It’s fine for the group to discuss problem sets, class topics, and so forth. It’s fine to ask others to explain methods and solutions you don’t understand. Together, you can go over the problems several times until you understand. (From University of Windsor.)
But the results also included restrictions such as:
- You may not give or receive help on the programming assignments, except from the TA or the instructor.
- You may not show your program to anyone else until after it has been graded.
- Unless working together on an assignment has been specifically approved, it is not allowed.
Clearly, universities are struggling to say the right things on these issues, and do not speak with a single voice.
But what’s really so hard about the issue?
Time out for some skiing
I’ve only skied once or twice in my life, so each time I was back on the beginners’ slope, taking lessons. Imagine this set of rules posted on a snow-covered wooden sign next to the practice area:
Integrity on the Slopes
In order to ensure that each student is graded correctly and fairly in their skiing lessons, the following rules must be observed:
Who would pay for ski instruction under these conditions? Who would learn to ski?
A Simpler Idea
Back to academics, or rather, training in the hi-tech workplace, why not just say:
- Cooperative learning is essential: work with others
- All sources may be used; if not yours, credit the author
Is there anything more?