Ethical Responses to Student QuestionsI have noticed that many students are attempting to use enotes to cheat on various assessments.  For example, many students will post assigned essay questions...

Ethical Responses to Student Questions

I have noticed that many students are attempting to use enotes to cheat on various assessments.  For example, many students will post assigned essay questions verbatim hoping to recieve responses that they can cut and paste into the bodies of their papers.  They will also post shorter worksheet/one paragraph assignments.

I am surpised to see that many teachers simply give these students lengthy, easily plagiarized answers instead of attempting to help them come up with their own answers/suggesting approaches.  This does not seem ethical to me!

Where should enotes editors draw the line between helping a student learn and helping a student cheat?  How can we make sure that we are really benefitting students as well as earning a little extra cash?  Where does our responsibility as providers of information end, and where does the students' responsibility begin?

Asked on by archteacher

12 Answers | Add Yours

lfawley's profile pic

lfawley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

As a college professor, I feel that this is a site that should act as an extension to the classroom. In other words, we should supply helpful information, guide the student as to what to do with the information, provide links to further the student's own research, and also ask the student questions. Honestly, I know when a student has cut and pasted his or her assignment from a site like this because if I have any doubt as to the work (based on prior work from the same student) I simply google it. As such, I have no problem at all with students coming to these sites for guidance. There are only so many classroom hours in a day and there is only so much individual attention a teacher can give. E-notes should act as an extension to the classroom, not as a "cheating" source but as a way to further knowledge and to simplify the acquisition of knowledge.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

For me as an editor I do try to point students towards answers rather than answer questions for them, though I recognise that at times the service I provide seems to help lazy students to stay lazy rather than help students who are genuinely trying to gain further ideas and different approaches for their work. What I do for example is refer to only one aspect of a question, hopefully encouraging students to complete the rest based on the model I have just exemplified for them. We can only do so much, I guess...

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

As far as math goes, there aren't enough posted to really constitute kids getting their whole assignments done for them.  When I answer, I do as #8 says.

For the other stuff, I have a few comments:

  1. I never assign homework because it is too easy for kids to copy.  And I don't mean from eNotes.  I mean that you walk into the hall of the school before 1st period and there are kids sitting all over the place copying one another's homework.  It's pointless to assign stuff if that's going to happen and it actually, IMO, makes the kids feel smug because they've beaten the system.
  2. Lots of kids who aren't copying other kids are getting help from their parents.  Once again, it's useless to assign stuff when this can happen.
  3. Relatedly, it's the kids who need to do the homework who aren't and it's the ones who don't need it who are.
  4. So I don't do homework, I do (for history, government, etc) study guides that tell the students what I expect them to know after reading.  Then I quiz them.  What all this means is that I think homework has little pedagogical value (at least for my subject).
  5. If a teacher confuses my writing with that of their student who can't write a literate question on eNotes, they're falling down on the job.  They need to be able to differentiate students' real work from something copied from people as educated as we are.

 

lynn30k's profile pic

lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I tend to answer a lot of science and math questions here on eNotes. I always try to show the students HOW to do the work, rather than do it for them, but this is sometimes difficult to do in an online format. When I answer a question about a math problem, I do it in a step by step way, that I hope the students can then apply to other problems.

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The previous posts were very accurate.  The word limit prevents us from being able to formulate full length answers for students.  Indeed, many of the answers we give could only constitute a fraction of work needed for a formal paper.  The websites offered can help students in the process of assembling research and if this proves helpful to students, more power to them.  In terms of answering student questions, I find that most of the enotes editors answers do give some broad strokes to students, but in order to actually deliver on what is offered, more analysis will be neded by the students.  Most of the answers posted by editors can be a useful guide, but I sense that is about it. In the final analysis, we can only hope that A)  the service is used ethically and B) teachers understand their student voices well enough to sense when someone else's voice is supplanting their own.  This might be where the utilization of the writing process on the part of the teacher could eliminate the sudden appearance of a work product that has not endured the stages of writing analysis.  On a more humorous note, perhaps more teachers should sign up to be enotes editors, which would go far in teachers being able to monitor their own student work and questions being posed.  I think it would be really funny if a student submitted work that was actually written by their own teacher for that assignment! :)

enotechris's profile pic

enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

Questioners can easily ask more than one question a day.  And it appears that the same question, in slightly different form, gets asked within a short time.  Sometimes the same question, nearly verbatim, gets posted.  I imagine a group of students agreeing on who will ask what, and then a pooling of answers.

Since as editors we're required a word minimum to have an acceptable answer, it makes it more difficult sometimes to briefly answer, and gives a student more material that they can pass off as their own--it would be much easier in suspicious queries to put questions back on the student, and let them do their own work.

ask996's profile pic

ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

I'm relatively new here, but one of the safeguards in place is that students are only allowed one question per day about a specific things in literature, history, and science. Not being a student, I don't know if that actually is a guideline or a mandate which they are not allowed to break.

As for teachers and others answering question, you must keep in mind that by eNotes own suggestons,

"The Q&A section is not an essay-writing service. Please do not respond to student requests for writing papers or extensive, essay-length answers." Therefore if they are looking for several different answers in one post I won't answer it.

 

ms-p-room555's profile pic

ms-p-room555 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

It is essential to get involved with the real needs and goals of the student. Then we can help the student sort out what he/she is trying to accomplish and offer suggestions. The student must make his/her own value judgement.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

I believe, eNotes is just one of the many sources from which students can copy. For example there are text books and other web sites. If students have to learn, they need to be provided sources of information to learn from. If some students just cut and paste rather than understand the subject, or avoid practicing the ability to compose of their own answers, it is not the fault of the sources of information they use.

Besides we need to remember that though some students, who post questions on eNotes with the intention of simply copying, there are many others who also benefit from the same answers posted. So I believe, the inters of the students would be served best by posting good answers.

nancy-rich's profile pic

nancy-rich | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

The previous posts were very accurate.  The word limit prevents us from being able to formulate full length answers for students.  Indeed, many of the answers we give could only constitute a fraction of work needed for a formal paper.  The websites offered can help students in the process of assembling research and if this proves helpful to students, more power to them.  In terms of answering student questions, I find that most of the enotes editors answers do give some broad strokes to students, but in order to actually deliver on what is offered, more analysis will be neded by the students.  Most of the answers posted by editors can be a useful guide, but I sense that is about it. In the final analysis, we can only hope that A)  the service is used ethically and B) teachers understand their student voices well enough to sense when someone else's voice is supplanting their own.  This might be where the utilization of the writing process on the part of the teacher could eliminate the sudden appearance of a work product that has not endured the stages of writing analysis.  On a more humorous note, perhaps more teachers should sign up to be enotes editors, which would go far in teachers being able to monitor their own student work and questions being posed.  I think it would be really funny if a student submitted work that was actually written by their own teacher for that assignment! :)

 I must say that I love your "humorous note"

". . .funny if a student submitted work that was actually written by their own teacher. . ."

I am also new here and see enotes as a tool for students to open their options beyond the classroom discussion.  By giving students alternative views, we help open their minds to new ideas.

This is not a site I would allow as a citation and therefore the student would be bound to support the information gained.  We have an opportunity to aid students in locating trustworthy sites.

emjay's profile pic

emjay | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

As teachers, we want to guide the students to resources that extend their learning and point them in the directions for acquiring the answers they seek.  We can do this by offering websites, framing our responses in the form of open-ended questions, and even reframing the student's questions to guide them to another way to examine their queries.

We’ve answered 318,960 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question