Wrong to rush to judgment
Published: Sunday, November 14, 2010
Updated: Sunday, November 14, 2010 15:11
As a credible news source, it is our job to provide the UCF community with accurate and reliable information.
This means admitting when we are wrong.
Last week, we condemned the students involved in the cheating scandal that occurred earlier this month.
In light of new information, our opinion has followed a more moderate route.
It was our belief that students illegally obtained the exam, which they then memorized.
It seems, however that some students were e-mailed the test bank and thought it was simply a study guide, not a word-for-word recreation of a pre-made exam.
In his first lecture of the semester, professor Richard Quinn can be seen explaining that he personally writes and administers the midterm and final exams.
It is entirely possible that the test bank was illegally obtained, but such a gray area can't involve any blatant assumptions.
It's possible that the student who found the material may have known the professor would use a pre-made exam, but because Quinn said he would be writing his own test, most students probably assumed that would be the case.
This whole scandal has brought UCF into the theme of the 21st century: information overload.
This isn't the typical cheating situation where students write answers on their hands or photograph exam questions; that would be impossible to do in the testing lab.
The information they found was available to the public online and the students weren't viewing the material while they were actually taking the exam.
These students studied pertinent material and earned high grades — this same information could have most likely been found in their textbook or course material.
At this point, we're not sure whether this constitutes cheating. The fact that UCF was quick to assume that 200 students blatantly cheated on an exam disturbs us, to say the least.
UCF's testing center has an abundance of information available, and now we're starting to wonder if it may be too much.
It raises the question of who is managing these statistics and figures and how they are interpreted.
As our society becomes increasingly digitized, we're going to have situations like these as a result of information overload.
In England, for example, an overabundance of CCTV cameras lead to people being punished, even for the smallest of infractions.
In today's technologically progressive world, we are constantly faced with situations that have us asking, "Who should decide what happens with this overload of information? Who decides what happens to these people?"
With this overload, we've found that there's always one thing missing: the human element.
When broken down into statistics, kilobytes and milliseconds, we often forget that people are involved with the numbers on our screens. We find ourselves listening to official sources and forget about those who are most intimately involved with their decisions; in this case, students.
We've heard professor Quinn's take on the situation, but we're curious as to what the students' intentions were. Perhaps some knew they were cheating.
Others, perhaps not so much.
If you were part of the class involved we encourage you to contact us and give us your side of the story.
It's our job to shed light upon this, but we can't do it without that human element.
The statistics will not help us, nor will they give us a well-rounded answer to this dilemma.
We will grant anonymity upon request; any students willing to come forward may email our editor-in-Chief at CFF.firstname.lastname@example.org. They may also call our office at 407-447-4555.