Students who use the popular studying network Quizlet could face steep consequences by unknowingly violating Texas State’s Honor Code.
Unauthorized collaboration between students and use of university materials without the consent of faculty members are a breach of code
The issue lies in whether or not faculty specifically permit students to post returned class materials and assignments on Quizlet, said David Wiley, chair of the university Honor Code Council.
“If the instructor is fine with the student posting all of (their) class notes on (the site) then there will be no honor code case,” Wiley said.
John Blair, English professor, is not only okay with students using Quizlet, but encourages it. Quizlet allows students to upload questions and answers or terms and definitions to study using digital flash cards, games and practice tests.
“I think it does help,” Blair said. “It helps them understand what sort of questions to expect.”
However, Blair says if students are willing to study Quizlet posts, they might as well read the book instead.
“I’ve definitely obtained better grades from using Quizlet,” said Ryan Pittman, geography junior.
This situation is not always the case, however, as not every faculty member shares Blair’s perspective.
If students do not know their instructor’s policy, they should ask before posting anything to Quizlet, Wiley said.
“It is up to the student to make sure he or she understands the collaboration that is allowed by the faculty member,” Wiley said.
Without this consent from faculty, a student faces whatever punishment the instructor deems suitable. However, there are ways to avoid unfair punishment.
Refusing the punishment normally comes in one of two forms, Wiley said. There are either students who deny improper use of class materials or those who admit to academic misconduct but feel the punishment is unfair.
“That’s when we have hearings—when students don’t accept one or the other or both,” Wiley said.
The Honor Code Council, which is made up of 16 faculty members and 14 students, presides over these hearings. After making a decision, the council sends its conclusions to the dean of the college in which the violation occurred. The dean then makes the final decision. However, they normally follow the suggestion of the council, Wiley said.
There are a number of ways other than Quizlet students could be breaking school policy and be punished for those actions, Wiley said. Students who swipe their friends in to classes or assist their fellow students in appearing present in classes when they are not are breaches of university policy.
“Our students don’t seem to think that it is academic misconduct, and basically its forgery,” Wiley said.
Although a student may not get caught the first couple of times they forge attendance, they are eventually found out when the behavior becomes habitual, especially if attendance in that class is linked with a grade, he said.
“Students and faculty share a role equally in academic integrity,” Wiley said.