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What do you envision us doing that would “stress the importance of not cheating”?
Some people do just blatantly post their homework on OpenStudy, but it's no big deal ~ if they're going to cheat, they're going to cheat. Software like OpenStudy's is a empowering platform, people can use it to learn, people can use it to teach, people can use it to dodge their homework. I have a guy at work, a maths teacher, who told me that computers are the reason children are dumbed down today, he compared it to cars and obesity. His absurd argument rested on the basis that, with computers and the web, people can cheat like never before. I guess the guys at Adobe and Google must of been awesome at avoiding their homework.
It's a difficult balance. If you give just answers, you're giving someone the end result without any explanation, meaning they've learned nothing. On the other hand, if you show work, they can just copy the work (for teachers that require you to show steps). Really, it's up to each individual answerer to make sure we're helping and not cheating. :)
Zxen's right, it's the user's responsibility. In my experience, people are just looking for a peer to explain what a teacher failed to explain earlier in the day. Homework's often nothing to do with learning, and more to do with going over what has been taught in class, reiterating. That's all well and good if you got it in class, but a lot of people don't get it and then come in here for help. Doing homework's not something that has a great impact on a persons education anyway.
There was a kid who started a study group on facebook, doing physics I think. I was very popular and he helped his peers learn physics. He was shut down because, the authorities claim, he was helping people cheat on their homework. Apparently, kids are not supposed to ask for help, except from the teacher. I don't know the ins and outs of the matter, maybe someone on here knows more, but I wouldn't worry too much about cheating online. They'll have an exam soon enough anyway.
It really is up to the community and moderators to help limit cheating. If you see a person posting the same similar question over and over that you already answered, that person is probably getting you to do their homework for him or her. The community and moderators should take a stand on this type of action. If the community and moderators do not take a stand, this place will not grow positively but negatively with cheaters filling the cheat groups and not the study groups. OpenStudy does not want to be labeled as a cheat site, which I feel is headed that way from what I see in the Mathematics study group.
So far we have managed to keep positive growth up while accepting the fact that some people will come merely to cheat. This is mostly thanks to our star helpers like myininaya and satellite, who focus on providing real help for those who need it. I've seen a fairly even split between users who are here just for answers and those who are here for deeper understanding. We'll continue to make sure the community doesn't disproportionately favor those who are just here for answers, but for now there's both good evidence to indicate things are under control, and that it is in fact possible to convert answer-seekers into true learners. Not always, but enough.
As it stands right now in the Mathematics study group, it is a place for people to get their home work done or get a few test answers done for them. When someone post a problem, it is normally Solve blah blah blah. The majority of the community there does not ask to see any of the work the user has posted. The community normally work the problem out and give the answer. This is why I feel OpenStudy is going to be labeled as a cheat site and more teachers will be keeping an eye on this site. The community in the Mathematics Group needs to start asking for the user to show some work. It does not have to be a lot but at least show that he or she is giving a little effort. If the community does not start enforcing something of this nature, the mathematics group is going to be labeled as a cheat group, which I am already seeing the group as a place to get your homework done for free.
But can answer givers who are obviously doing people's homework be reported for abuse? The community is being hurt by this activity, if for no other reason that it reduces the visibilty of helpful questions and answers