» » home » » about » » pictures » » law school » » talk-back

Blogroll Me!


Law v. Life is all over the exam software debate. She's on the same page with me. Meanwhile, Shecket is being a cute clueless 1L. 
.. | @ 9/27/2003 11:21:00 AM » » (talkback)


Exam software presupposes that you cheat

With all due respect to Chris Geidner, who has this issue all wrong, exam software defeats the purpose of an honor code, and erodes the idea that we as soon-to-be professionals, should be self-policing. It's been made pretty clear to me, in Legal Professions, that we're about to face an ethical quagmire out in the profession. And while we won't be handed as many exams to take on their own merits, or to cheat through, we'll be facing daily decisions about whether to cut corners or chop them off entirely. So when should we be entrusted with those decisions? At 25? Why not the day we walk into the school?

The point is that it's ridiculous to have an honor code and not even respect the underpinnings of it. Geidner says that "honor" is sullied when there are even rumors of cheating. I think he's missing what kind of honor we are talking about. It's not the law school's reputation we're focusing on. The "honor" in question is that of the student body as individuals. My point is that an honor code only works when we're all "on our honor." Let's say there is a cookie jar and an unattended cup in which to deposit 10 cents. This is of course the familiar working of the honor system. As soon as you put an attendant behind the cookie jar with a cash register, you've exited "honor" land, and you're into something completely different.

So, if you're going to argue for exam software, then please have the honesty to admit that your position will overwrite the honor code in big black sharpie. And also have the honesty to admit that you don't trust the student body. Honor codes are based on trust, and when we've lost that, then what do we have left? Not an honor code. Just rules and electric monitors. That's what exam software is... an electronic-monitoring ankle bracelet reporting back to the judge. It's a remedial measure imposed on those not guilty of anything. And still people support it. Here's why.

Sometime around my second year of law school I ran up against this ugly idea permeating in small circles of the law school that everyone is cheating, and one's position in the class rank couldn't possibly be due to one's aptitude but some sort of nefarious activity. It's just wrong. I've sat throughover twenty exams and signed the honor code pledge each time. I've done my duty which consists of not cheating, and reporting any activity amongst others that appears to be cheating. I've affirmed that I've performed those duties twenty times, and twenty times my signature on the pledge meant something. Not once have I witnessed anyone cheating, nor have I heard anyone mention in any debate on exam software any specific example of cheating. People are just convinced that "it happens" and that it has negatively affected them. Not true. Sometimes I laugh because I think that if these "everyone cheats" students spent the time studying instead of worrying about cheating they'd do much better.

I want to go back to a previous point, under exam software, we would no longer have a system based on how our profession works, and based on individualized suspicion of cheating. Instead, by mandating that all computer users have exam software implanted, we've all been charged and found guilty of cheating. It's blanket suspicion. It's anti-thetical to our constitutional values. Exam software is just as repugnant as suspicionless drug-testing.

If we're willing now to tear up the honor code that's probably been existance for longer than my life, then what is it that our new era will bring? Are we really willing to start down this road? As soon as we no longer trust each other then we're defeated, we're just criminals waiting to be caught. 
.. | @ 9/26/2003 09:30:34 AM » » (talkback)


All Exam Software. All the Time.

Apparently I missed another large discussion about Exam Software in Wednesday's SBA meeting. I've gotten the reputation, mostly from our new SBA president, as being the "most vocal in opposition." Maybe. I think a lot of people disagree with the idea. In fact we defeated the idea last year both in the SBA Senate and in the Faculty, although in the latter it was only by one vote.

Now that six new faculty members have been added it appears as though the votes exist on the faculty to mandate Exam Software for the masses. This strikes me as a little unfair, I don't feel as if the student population at Ohio State has changed, nor do I feel as if the student culture has changed that radically in one year. What has changed, apparently, is that one new faculty member has frenzied up the First-Years, by mandating that they all handwrite their exams unless there is exam software at the time. This is, of course, his right because here at Moritz, all professors can set up their own conditions for their exams regardless of the faculty rules. But the First-Years have yet to take a single exam, and they're so flustered about it in general that they can't think straight and are reacting against handwriting, and the 6 new members were (I;m told) unhappy in last nights meeting.

Our entire Property exam was closed-everything handwritten. We all got through it. Just because you have to handwrite an exam to overcome a threat doesn't mean that you shouldn't be faithful to the idea that at this school we have an Honor Code, and that we should honor it.

But, in the last three years there's been some sort of misunderstanding and mistrust. People seem to think that cheating is absolutely rampant. I couldn't disagree more. That view, I feel, is a product of paranoia and disappointment about one's grades. More later... 
.. | @ 9/25/2003 09:14:57 AM » » (talkback)


crash landing

Yesterday was about as uneasy as it gets. We were back fighting, but this time there was no purpose to it since we're no longer together. I was just shocked, and you were just angry at me. I can't understand everything. So I'll promise to stop acting like I can, if you promise to stop giving in to what you know is wrong.

.. | @ 9/24/2003 04:40:15 PM » » (talkback)


Shecket goes to bed everynight at 9:45 pm.
On Monday night I went to bed around 3 am. 
.. | @ 9/23/2003 02:59:29 PM » » (talkback)


please make sure your seat back is in its full upright position

Have you ever noticed that Wednesday slides right into Thursday which is like a warm up for Friday, which is so great because you're out and you know you've got Saturday night but then --- like a light switch --- it's Sunday morning, and aside from football, it's back to work and glamourless living.

I lost my cell phone for forty-one minutes tonight, as I misplaced it at the library circulation desk, and was panicked because it was missing and no one was available at the desk to say that they had it. It was break time and I found out that they fired one of the few nice people who work at the desk: on her birthday.

I'm not sure if I'm getting-to-okay with the way things flow in and out week after week. Or at least for the past three weeks. I know I've got to work at least a few more days to earn a few more nights out, to have a few more conversations about nothing, and to have a few more fleeting moments quickly disavowed the following day. Like with a sudden light switch our glow (in the dark) disappears. 
.. | @ 9/22/2003 02:52:02 AM » » (talkback)