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Actually, this is valuable data.

As a potential employer, I care more about the candidate's ethics (or lack thereof) than their ability. I could always teach them, but I could never trust them.

Coursera should just publicly identify cheaters so I can cross check against resumes or certifications. Problem solved.

>Coursera should just publicly identify cheaters so I can cross check against resumes or certifications. Problem solved.

This introduces a lot of problems, all of which are difficult to solve and not directly related to the fundamental vision of Coursera. If I cheat under the full name of my sworn enemy, I can have them publicly blacklisted from any employer who uses this list. Identification seems like the logical next step, but it's no easy task especially when your students come from hundreds of different countries with varying forms of ID.

If you're serious in your suggestion, you're going to have to explain how these kinds of problems can be solved. You're then going to have the same problem Google+ had with online identities. Why should one be forced to give their real identity if they're simply trying to learn, not to be recognized for it?

Only require ID for the recognition. If you detect cheating, don't do anything about it until they confirm their ID to get their certification.

You also need to manage false positives almost perfectly, as you're going to try to ruin someone's professional credibility.

require ID for free online classes? Facebook, email, everything else doesn't require this. Good luck!

You could make it required for a certificate but not for taking the classed.

Continue to award the certificate even to cheaters but then allow employers who are presented that certificate to verify whether the person has been cheating. :)

It's possible students (ignorantly) made their work public because they were proud of their accomplishments. I've done that once or twice under the assumption the course would change for other classes, if only slightly.

That being said, the onus is on the student to make sure they aren't submitting someone's work as their own. I'm not really sure if they understood what they were doing was serious (as in if Coursera was just a bunch of robot drones and they didn't give it much credibility). I know this incident legitimizes Coursera (and it's certificates of completion) in my eyes.

Really I believe all they need to say is, "Look, we really put a lot of work into this to make a good experience for people. We'd appreciate it if you took your answers offline and help make Coursera a respectable name in learning by submitting original work". The whole "We'll start expelling!" doesn't really strike a chord with me. I've been expelled before [not from coursera] for really dumb reasons.

# ALSO, they should take their Honor code out of the ToS. Put it somewhere that people READ!

They definitely showed the honor code the first time I went into this class as well as a different class I took on modeling.

I think the expelling is totally fine. Martin and his team put a lot of time into this, developing the course and the tools to automate grading and if someone is going to put this up publicly and not take it down they should just boot them from the course.

I don't understand why anyone would actually turn in the same work, though. It's not like a completion certificate from this class will get you closer to a degree or anything. I'm sure there must be some reason and I hope it's more than just "I wanted a 10/10 for me to see!". I suppose that an employer might tell someone "learn Scala and get that certificate and get a 10/10 on every assignment" but I somehow doubt it.

Quick follow up... They might have changed the system since I took a class last, I don't know. So I decided to sign up for a class and BAM!

There it is, really obvious too.


I remember being presented with the Honor Code directly when I started the course. I don't remember if it was a popup or during the introduction video, but it was definitely highlighted.

Oh okay, I took a course and have no memory of being presented with the Honor Code. The one they linked to is in their ToS, it still deserves it's own page.

You have the sign the honor code again when you submit the homework. At least for the course I'm taking.

I second this. Should make most people uncomfortable with cheating. Those who go through are ones who don't give a shit.

Now that I have some spare time I'll take another course and pay better attention :)

You have to re-agree to the honer code every time you submit an exercise for grading, too, and they are very clear with the no cheating policy.

If the cheating detection algorithm has any false positives, this is a terrible idea.

Lol, thats harsh. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone slips. Making mistakes is an integral part of iterating towards the better.

"Cheating" is not "making a mistake".

It's "cheating" though in the sense that it's against a TOS on a website, but tons of things are against a TOS and almost no one reads them. They're pretending to be one, but Coursera is not a college, is not accredited and does not hand out degrees. This is a free online self-study course being taken by hundreds of thousands of people with varying degrees of seriousness. Some people may treat it like a college course and want the certificate (for what I am not sure), but I bet most people just want the knowledge. I signed up for a similar course once and never logged in because my schedule changed, should I get an F and have that publicized?

I have also worked through some iOS courses from Standford on iTunes U and I would not think twice about helping someone with one of the problems. Is that cheating?

If people sign up for a course like this and then turn in work they copied from the Internet, I definitely don't want to hire them. Even if they weren't after the certificate. That's like cheating at solitaire. It's just sad.

Also, do you have any evidence that the no-cheating, no-publishing-homework policy is buried in a TOS? If Coursera hasn't made it obvious enough, then sure, people could have made a mistake. But Odersky's a smart guy so his reaction makes me imagine he made the requirement obvious.

Much like I wouldn't hire a Stanford CS grad based on her certificate, I would recommend not hiring a Coursera "grad" based on a certificate either.

Nobody smart hires purely based on the certificate, but the question is what value one assigns to it. Anybody with a degree from a strong CS program is much more likely to get an interview from me. Ditto for anybody with a good online portfolio. I'd like to assign some value to Coursera courses, but we'll see.

As someone taking the course - yes, it was pretty obvious. And even if he had said nothing, it's common sense that uploading other's solutions as your own is frowned upon.

Right know there are actual students at EPFL who are taking the Functional Programming Principles in Scala course, using the same web site that random joes like me are using at the same time. So for me it's not an actual college, but it is for those students at EPFL. They have no choice but to enforce academic honestly rules, given that real students at a real institution are involved.

It makes sense for EPFL to use the course lectures and quizzes to help the students, but it makes absolutely no sense to use it for the grading part. It is trivially easy to make a second account, take a quiz, and just answer randomly to be able to see all the correct answers. It's absolutely absurd to not have a totally independent grading system.

The quiz questions in the course videos do not contribute to the grade for this course. Only the programming assignments count.

"in the sense that it's against a TOS on a website"

A website that is providing you with completely free content from some of the top universities. I think it's fair for them to dictate the terms.

I disagree with your assertion. Cheating is not necessarily an act of malice. As an example, a friend of mine (who is from India) helped another student (also Indian) with a programming project in an intro to CS class at my alma mater. My friend was trying to help a friend out, not intentionally trying to break the rules. This took place during the first few weeks of school, mind you, and neither student had any significant experience with the ethical standards of American institutions. Both students readily admitted to what had happened- neither was trying to hide anything. Nonetheless, the professor gave my friend a two letter grade demotion and the person whom he helped an F. Arguments about the fairness of their punishments aside, I don't think it's fair to assert that either had a lapse in ethical judgement more than a cultural misunderstanding, but nonetheless both students did cheat.

There's a difference between cheating and helping. If the professor believed that there were cheating, that meant that the work didn't appear to be original. Helping someone else means that you're helping them with the concepts related to the problem. If you want to be hands on with helping them through the problem you create a similar problem [that doesn't have the same requirements and help get them over what got them stuck]

I am taking this course - it's impossible to not notice these rules, there are annoying confirmations at every single submission or multiple choice test that you are submitting your own individual work only. I.e., submitting a program copied off web is 100% intentional fraud.

To me it is unclear whether it is allowed to talk about solution after the hard dead line. Is that ok? Not publicizing them just talking about them in a closed study group.

Forget the certificate. If you enroll in a coursera course to learn, and you need some help getting started on the code or checking your work, why not take a look at the code? Not submitting it as your own, of course, but taking ownership of your education, which is all that matters.

Sure, I think that's perfectly fine. Coursera needs to provide some ability (if they don't already) to allow a student to say "not taking this for credit or certificate".

But I don't think that should allow you to go and post code / answers in a public forum of sorts.

Making categorical declarations about what is in actuality an extraordinarily large range of grey areas is not useful to discussion.

I beg to differ. Simply based on the number of students and therefore the degree of diversity seen in a Coursera class, if nothing else.

That's just crazy. Whether or not cheaters should be exposed, I hope that mistakes bit is not your general policy for anything.

Well, it sort of becomes your policy when you stay out of the comfort zone long enough.

I wonder how many potential employees should consider working for potential employers like edw519 who make such short-sighted decisions. What they care for maybe relevant, but how they care is questionable.

Problem solved only if ALL of cousera's students need to be employed by you.

Or by any employer who checks this "black list"

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