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Student Faces Expulsion Over Facebook Study Group

Using a Facebook group is not the same as face to face collaboration on schoolwork, according to administrators at Toronto's Ryerson University.

Facebook logo.Case in point: a freshman student faces expulsion for setting up an online study group via Facebook last semester. The professor for the class claims this lead to cheating and not just normal study group help. The student, Chris Avenir, says the online activity is no different than a group of students gathering in person to give each other advice on how to complete their chemistry homework assignments.

Avenir faces 146 counts of academic misconduct, one for each of the classmates who signed up for the Facebook group he set up last term, plus one additional count for setting up the group in the first place.

Oddly enough, students are permitted to meet in person to help each other with assignments. The name of the group itself -- Dungeons/Mastering Chemistry Solutions – is based on the actual room in an academic building where his classmates would typically meet for study sessions.

Is this simply a case of scale, where the numbers and accessibility of the online activity gives students an unfair advantage, or were they really cheating?

The professor seems to think the latter, having changed Avenir's grade from a B to an F after learning of the Facebook activity and recommending the student's expulsion. Avenir will have a chance to defend the group, which he says is simply the modern version of study hall for the "wired generation."

That argument may be more readily received by a computer science professor than a chemistry professor, it seems.

Students at other schools have previously been disciplined or expelled for Web sites or Facebook pages that criticize or threaten other students and their schools, but the is the first time we've heard of a student being punished for encouraging fellow classmates to study more.

From The Toronto Star.

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Tags: canada, cheat, defend, expel, facebook, grade, punish, ryerson, social networking, SocialNetworking, student



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