Answers on eNotesI was advised to add a new topic since I recently received an email from a teacher who was irate that I had answered a few questions she had given her students for homework.  All...

Answers on eNotes

I was advised to add a new topic since I recently received an email from a teacher who was irate that I had answered a few questions she had given her students for homework.  All of the questions dealt with the same work, so the students must have gotten together to decide who would ask which question (they are only allowed to ask one in a 24 hour period).  So, the question I pose to you professionals is do you consider the help we give on eNotes cheating?  Are students who post their questions to us cheating on their homework, or are they just being resourceful?  Would you be upset if your student received help from this site or one like it?

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urzula's profile pic

urzula | Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

I recently found one of my students posted one of my assignment question on the Student of Fortune site.  Has anyone also had this experience?  Is anyone familiar with other sites that do the same thing as Student of Fortune?

rhetorike's profile pic

rhetorike | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

My experience with student plagiarism has taught me that the following conditions create plagiarism: 1) student's lack of knowledge and/or confusion about how to use resources, cite properly; 2) No, or little, experience with library use, inadequate research skills, the rigors of academia (i.e., writing a paper based on research takes time and effort; 3) redundancy on the part of the teacher.

The first two can be taught; the final one cannot, because it relies on the teacher's willingness or ability, given his or her strictures, to change his or her approach. Making every paper a new challenge, never relying on old paper ideas, and teaching students how to quote properly and cite sources properly, are the beginnings of how to avoid plagiarism.

I taught for years at a university that focused heavily on plagiarism concerns. However, I never once had a student plagiarise, and I can tell you why: each paper was written beginning from personal experience, and added to with research. The nature of the assignments make students want to do the research. Now, this is not hard to do, but it does require approaching teaching writing from a different perspective than the kind of rote learning that sadly, promotes the lazy desire to fill in the blanks on a piece of paper for a grade. Motivation, and rhetorical analysis, is key to this method of approach. It's not complicated, and it's not hard; it's just not an approach most in English departments are used to, I found.

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

Hello everyone--I am a newbie on this site and I love the information provided for teachers and students. We have the AVID program at our gifted magnet school and eNotes helps "even out" the playing field. Some SES kids just don't have the same access to quality information and learning experiences. eNotes helps my AVID kids hold their own in Socratic seminars and trust their opinions when writing a first analysis. I also use eNotes for my gifted ELL students who might struggle with unfamiliar literary genre's and terminology. 

I'm so glad you responded to this subject. Sometimes I wonder if I'm handing answers to students on a silver plate, but I forget that what seems like a simple question to me might be impossibly difficult for someone else. It's good to hear your perspective. Thanks!

mejwestut's profile pic

mejwestut | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Hello everyone--I am a newbie on this site and I love the information provided for teachers and students. We have the AVID program at our gifted magnet school and eNotes helps "even out" the playing field. Some SES kids just don't have the same access to quality information and learning experiences. eNotes helps my AVID kids hold their own in Socratic seminars and trust their opinions when writing a first analysis. I also use eNotes for my gifted ELL students who might struggle with unfamiliar literary genre's and terminology. 

kwoo1213's profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

jamie-wheeler stated:

My thinking is that we need more textual support, not less.  I don't like to feel like I'm helping someone cheat, but I also want verfication that our answers are accurate.  As limited as the response area is, I think it's kind of lazy to not back up what you assert.   And can't see, other than the laziest of teacher questions, how offering back up encourages cheating. 

I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU! 

kwoo1213's profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

I have no problem with my students using Enotes.com.  I encourage them to, actually.  Good sources are truly a blessing, and Enotes is a great one for them to use.  I'd MUCH rather them come here to get great material than do a general Internet search on literature.  Usually, the results bring up a slew of FREE PAPERS sites that I DEPLORE.

I have to agree with previous posters that I find factual questions rather disturbing.  I would hope teachers simply aren't asking their students to answer a bunch of factual questions that require little or no critical thinking/analysis skills.  This is a scary thought to me!

I do not think using Enotes is cheating IF the student is here for "honorable reasons" as someone else referred to.

 

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

My thinking is that we need more textual support, not less.  I don't like to feel like I'm helping someone cheat, but I also want verfication that our answers are accurate.  As limited as the response area is, I think it's kind of lazy to not back up what you assert.   And can't see, other than the laziest of teacher questions, how offering back up encourages cheating. 

Thank you. That was my thought exactly. We sometimes forget that our students don't have our backgrounds in literature and in finding all the details. How many times have you asked what you thought was a very simple question to be faced with silence instead of answers? And then an "Oh, yeah" when you told them the answer? My feeling is that by using excerpts from the text to support our answers, we're teaching the students how to do the same thing for themselves.

jamie-wheeler's profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

My thinking is that we need more textual support, not less.  I don't like to feel like I'm helping someone cheat, but I also want verfication that our answers are accurate.  As limited as the response area is, I think it's kind of lazy to not back up what you assert.   And can't see, other than the laziest of teacher questions, how offering back up encourages cheating. 

leagye's profile pic

leagye | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted on

I hate it when students ask for summaries because those really are "I don't want to read" questions. I try to always say something like "now go read the book," but who knows if they do. When they ask for poetic devices or explanation of a poem, I try to give a few examples, but I don't explicate the entire poem.

Here's my feeling on the matter: Why are teachers asking objective questions that ask for a factual answer? The best questions are the subjective ones that ask for a student's opinion or personal interpretation. If teachers are concerned about cheating, they can instruct their students to use any resource--eNotes, Cliffs Notes, etc.--as an aide but not pawn them off as their own work. As a teacher myself, I'd prefer that a student get help from eNotes than do nothing at all, which is what too many of my students end up doing when they don't understand a text.

If a student came to you after school for tutoring, wouldn't you give that student the same kind of help you give on eNotes???

I totally agree with your point about the "summary" questions. There are many questions I simply suggest ideas for, but don't follow the "directions" of the student exactly for this reason. Instead, I suggest areas for them to explore.

leagye's profile pic

leagye | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted on

Answers on eNotes

I was advised to add a new topic since I recently received an email from a teacher who was irate that I had answered a few questions she had given her students for homework.  All of the questions dealt with the same work, so the students must have gotten together to decide who would ask which question (they are only allowed to ask one in a 24 hour period).  So, the question I pose to you professionals is do you consider the help we give on eNotes cheating?  Are students who post their questions to us cheating on their homework, or are they just being resourceful?  Would you be upset if your student received help from this site or one like it?

As an English teacher, I uncomfortable with some of the answers I see posted on this site, and even with some of my own answers. I've thought about this question many times and I am glad to see I'm not alone...One thing I rarely do in my answers is provide supporting quotes. If we give a student both an explanation of a plot device, character trait, etc., and then supply him or her with a supporting quote, the work is done. I would like to pose more questions that guide a student in the right direction, but I'm not sure I'd be fulfilling my duties as a question-answerer if I did that. The other side of this coin is the fact that many students who use the site seem to be very honestly trying to understand more about the story, passage, or poem overall. These particular students are being resourceful; others, in my opinion, are simply cheating. In addition to freshmen, I teach a senior AP English class and I encourage these students to use certain Web sites to better understand a particular detail or element IN ADDITION to thoroughly reading a text. But, using sites as a substitute for reading the original text is flatly cheating. 

jamie-wheeler's profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

For those of you concerned about the "cheating" aspect, I encourage you to assume the best of students.   For those looking for character information, they may simply be looking to round out their understanding.  Imagine that you are 14 and are trying to understand the marital relations of a Scottish King, the politics of the throne and of warfare, etc. 

As for topics like, "What is the conclusion?", again, place yourself in those immature shoes.  I have freshmen and sophomore college students who still expect the traditional plot curve.  When they encounter works that are purposely ambiguous, they are at a loss to understand what the "conclusion" is supposed to be (I had this problem teaching "Oleanna" for example.)

That said, trust, but verify.  As Scott says, if there are any you feel is suspicious, ask one of us before deleting.  

scott-locklear's profile pic

Scott Locklear | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

In reply to #20 and #21:

There are only a couple of instances when editors should flag a question:

  1. If the question contains profanity or offensive language of any kind.
  2. If the question is off-topic or has been posted under the wrong work (e.g., a question about Hamlet that appears under Macbeth).

If you are concerned about any other issue regarding a student question, please contact me or Jamie

Thanks everyone! 

clane's profile pic

clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

I've been doing that too Linda. These students might as well write, "I read nothing, can you do it for me?" They are looking for a way to be able to participate in class discussions without being knocked down for not reading or answer study questions.

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

Don't know if I'm doing the right thing, but I've started flagging as inappropriate any question that asks "how does this story end" or "who are the characters." Common sense and a little bit of effort are all it takes for students to answer that kind of question for themselves.

I'm also trying as much as possible to give students direction in how to find answers for themselves instead of simply giving the answer.

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