Use of Sherlock Notes may lead to Golden Rule violation for students
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 12:09
UCF students should think twice about using outside materials in class – it could lead to expulsion.
Gene Kruckemyer, news editor for UCF News & Information, said instructors have the authority to determine what materials are allowed in the classroom, even on an assignment-by-assignment basis.
This could mean trouble for students who didn’t check with their professors before purchasing Sherlock Notes, which are comprehensive, up-to-date note packets students can buy to study for exams.
There was confusion back in 2007 when a professor made a comment in class about a lawsuit he had with Pearson Publishing and Sherlock Notes over a copyright issue. The miscommunication was cleared up when Alison Morrison-Shetlar, the interim dean of Undergraduate Studies, said the notes were not in violation of the Golden Rule saying, “we cannot stop students from buying anything.” Some professors, like Francis Martin Jr. whose history of western art II class notes are sold by Sherlock Notes, are OK with the material and find it helpful for students to be more prepared in class.
“I thought it was clever,” Martin said in a 2007 Central Florida Future article. “I bought a pack of notes for my class to see what the big deal was and I liked them. I had Chris [the founder of Sherlock Notes] come talk to my classes, and I told the kids to buy [the notes]. It’s a great outline for the material.”
The 2012-2013 Golden Rule clears up any current confusion. The right for outside materials to be brought into class falls into the hands of the professor. Some of those professors may not be comfortable with the accuracy of third-party resources.
Chris Nase, UCF alumnus and founder of Sherlock Notes, says otherwise. The company hires note takers in every class to transcribe accurate notes that are in the professor’s lecture so that students can buy them six days before the lecture. No images are taken, so there are no copyright issues, and the note takers have to go through a rigorous application process so their notes are legible and easy to understand. New note takers are hired each semester so the information is never outdated, but if there is something the note takers missed, Nase offers a full refund. Nase is used to hearing positive feedback from his customers, so when a customer called to return some sets of notes, he knew something had gone wrong.
After talking to the student, Nase learned that she had almost faced expulsion while using Sherlock Notes in class. The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, has dyslexia and went to Student Disability Services to get someone to take notes for her. However, the registration process takes up to four weeks and classes were already in swing, so to buy her some time, SDS suggested Sherlock Notes.
When the student brought the notes into her marketing class, she learned they could possibly be considered cheating and received suspicious looks from the teacher’s assistant. After class, the student talked to the professor about her situation and the professor confiscated the notes and told her she would be in violation of the Golden Rule.
“My heart was broken,” Nase said. “I couldn’t believe a professor would take notes from a student with a disability. This is the first professor that has ever called our notes cheating.”
Chad Binette, associate director of UCF News & Information, said that the process for receiving help from SDS can be completed in four steps: enrollment in classes, providing documentation, an office interview and a request for accommodation. Currently there are 900 students registered with SDS and an additional 80 who are still being processed. Approval time does vary and is based on how much documentation a student can provide and their availability for interviews. Students are encouraged to start the process as soon as possible. For more information on SDS visit sds.ucf.edu.