Dartmouth Medical School: The 17 Med Students Cheating on Remote Exams

Using software that takes over student computers, colleges and universities can now examine what students were doing with their computers during their exams. At Dartmouth Medical School they found 17 students had looked up information on the internet in order to answer exam questions. Student are protesting invasion of their privacy and lack of due process. The students are pushing for in-person exams and asking for leniency. One quote, “Some students have built their whole lives around medical school and now they’re being thrown out like they’re worthless.” Natasha Singer and Aaron Krolik, “Cheating Charges at Dartmouth Show Pitfalls of Tech Tracking,” New York Times, May 9, 2021, p. A1.

Actually they are being thrown out for cheating, not because they are worthless. As Dean Duane A. Compton of Dartmouth’s Giesel Medical School explained, “We take academic integrity very seriously. We wouldn’t want people to be able to be eligible for a medical license without really having the appropriate training.” The privacy issues are red herrings. Most colleges and universities make it very clear that when you are using their online programs you have no privacy. Indeed, colleges and universities are required to monitor things such as the unauthorized downloading and pirating of copyrighted films and music or risk costs and penalties themselves. That those systems can pick up cheating is a given once the student has signed one. Another given is that the tests is to be done alone and without Google.

Speaking as a patient, the Barometer feels that a doctor should know the basics by heart: That the shoulder bone is connected to the arm bone and the arm bone’s connected to the wrist bone, etc. Having one’s doctor looking up terms and body parts online during a visit would rattle all a patient’s bones and nerves.

Update: All the cheating charges were dropped against the students. The dean apologized to the students who were charged with violations of the honor code. In seven of the cases the administration decided that the online activity data of Canvas can be in error as to whether students are online during exam times. With the remaining ten students, the dean decided to just let things go, Canvas error or not. Given the Canvas cover, we will never know. The university is silent due to privacy rights of the students. The students are silent because, well, why risk anything? You have a pass and a plausible explanation. Still, that question of whether they know about the knee bone connected to the leg bone and all– it looms large.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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2 Responses to Dartmouth Medical School: The 17 Med Students Cheating on Remote Exams

  1. Dennis Lisonbee says:

    Perhaps the updated article should also have an updated title. “Value of Dartmouth medical degree succumbs to Covid.”

  2. mmjdiary says:

    Yes — if we begin to think about the whole online instruction mode we will slowly unravel the lack of hands-on training during the nearly 18 months of panic-induced isolationism. In some fields, medicine of all types included, nothing online instruction can do replaces the need to actually do. In short, the online cheating may only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the quality of education. Watch as the onion is peeled layer by layer.

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