Sensors & Switches Blog

Sensors & Switches

The Sensors & Switches Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about thermal, mechanical & pressure sensors, optical & ultrasonic sensors, electrical and electromagnetic sensors, and switches and solenoids. Here, you'll find everything from application ideas, to news and industry trends, to hot topics and cutting edge innovations.

Previous in Blog: How to Empower Two Billion Children?   Next in Blog: Does Medical Imaging Need Better Regulation?
Close
Close
Close
12 comments

Collaboration: Good or Bad?

Posted July 04, 2010 8:04 AM

A recent article noted the large number of students caught cheating in introductory computer science courses. But much of this involves students sharing each others code on homework assignments, not on tests. Some see this as a major ethics problem that could potentially become an ethics problem in the business world. Others see it as an indicator of how much pressure students are under to do well. At least one college — as the article noted — does not penalize students who collaborate on homework, as long as they disclose it. Most businesses view collaborative efforts as a good thing. So, should collaboration be discouraged in college, while it's encouraged at work? How much collaboration in school is a good thing? If a student is constantly looking at his/her colleague's solutions, are they really learning?

The preceding article is a "sneak peek" from Sensors & Switches, a newsletter from GlobalSpec. To stay up-to-date and informed on industry trends, products, and technologies, subscribe to Sensors & Switches today.

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".
2
Guru
Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Engineering Fields - Marine Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Vancleave, Ms about 30 miles inland from Biloxi and the coast
Posts: 3199
Good Answers: 105
#1

Re: Collaboration: Good or Bad?

07/04/2010 1:22 PM

This question is not unlike having different people working on different parts of a new secret weapon. No one person has enough information to know the whole weapon. This is necessary if you are building secret weapons, but does not apply to those learning new skills in school. Collaboration on school projects is a good thing. Each student should develop his share of the project and then swap notes to learn the rest. In that way, each has the knowledge of the whole and not just a part. An important part of the process is to divide the project so that one half doesn't depend on the other half, but stands alone. Only when the two halves come together will the whole be realized. The division can be determined by the teacher. This will ensure that each is doing his collaborative part.

__________________
Mr.Ron from South Ms.
Reply Good Answer (Score 2)
2
Associate

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 47
Good Answers: 5
#2

Re: Collaboration: Good or Bad?

07/04/2010 10:39 PM

Students? Sharing code? "Well duh" is not part of my normal vocabulary, but if my teams had not constantly shared code, insights, and time (it's called mentoring these days), we would have been so busy reinventing wheels that our projects would have come in slightly before the sun cooled. Granted, the point of academic learning is, well, learning, and OJT-learning is profit, but come test time, or user acceptance time, there is simply no way to fake it; you've learned or you haven't. Preventing students from sharing code / insights / whatever is like preventing the left guard from learning from the tight end. Come game time, each has to perform solo AND as a member of the team.

__________________
There's ALWAYS another plan.
Reply Good Answer (Score 2)
Power-User

Join Date: May 2009
Location: South Africa
Posts: 150
Good Answers: 17
#3

Re: Collaboration: Good or Bad?

07/05/2010 4:55 AM

IMHO collaboration is an essential part of study and of teaching. The teaching part is where I have concerns. All too often as teachers, particularly in western cultures we fail dismally! Yes I posted before that I was clearly told that I was a rotten teacher by a Professor from Tokyo Uni. He was right. We far too easily accept that the student has failed and seldom stop to check that we as the teacher have actually failed in our teaching methods..... Why did the student cheat? Because they chose not to learn? ....that's punishable!

Here's a model that I found worked very well to expand and draw great depth by collaboration: Collaborators are expected to list the group on the 1/ Joint paper a copy of which is attached to each of the groups 2/own paper on the homework. On the "Own Paper" each student identifies their colleagues and records their perception of each member's % contribution.

Now here's The Kicker: Grades for the particular task are awarded purely on the JOINT paper for the students in the group. The teacher's job is to identify the shortfall in understanding of the subject each student actually has and to apply appropriately altered teaching method to bring the lagging student up to speed quickly, based on the Own Paper and their perceptions % contribution allocation by the group. As a teacher, don't get suckered into setting groups to match potential contribution. You will only build super groups and failing groups. Your job it to get 100% A+ grades....then you are a good teacher, we already know you are clever and have the degrees, can you pass the knowledge on?

Why did the student cheat? Because perhaps the teacher failed to teach..... now that's the question we really have to deal with! If the teacher's doing their job, there's hardly a need/reason to cheat.

__________________
Bushdriver
Reply
Anonymous Poster
#4

Re: Collaboration: Good or Bad?

07/05/2010 11:35 AM

The ability of a student to do homework not only depend on the intelligence of the student but also on the family from which he/she comes from. In families where parents are not well educated student is left alone.In rich families they can arrange a private tutor. If parents are educated they can help the student. That means you can't judge a student by homework or even by a single exam at the end of the year.Students should do their exercises in school under the supervision of teacher who can assist them in difficult situations.Students should be given grades according to their class work and not by an exam. Most of the exams test the momory power and not the intelligence.Referring notes or textbooks should be allowed in exams and class work because once they go to work they can solve their problems by consulting others,which is the reality.

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Izmir, Turkey
Posts: 2142
Good Answers: 31
#5

Re: Collaboration: Good or Bad?

07/05/2010 12:42 PM

Working together is great - will help in the future most likely.

The old game of providing profs old tests etc for new classes is shyster and the kid should be kicked out of the university.

Reply
Power-User
United States - Member - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Hobbies - Automotive Performance - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Danbury, CT, USA
Posts: 103
Good Answers: 2
#6

Re: Collaboration: Good or Bad?

07/06/2010 2:11 PM

1) One of my MSCS classes was Software Engineering. The class was broken up into teams. Each team had the same application to develop. We had to decide who was doing which parts and how to coordinate the interfaces. I don't think it could have been done without collaboration.

2) If I have a problem doing a homework problem in, say, physics and I ask someone else to explain it to me, he/she might work thought the problem showing the process and steps. Since I can't forget what I have seen, anything I hand in will be, at least, a collaboration if not outright copying. I wouldn't call this cheating.

__________________
6 * 9 = 42 in base 13
Reply
Anonymous Poster
#7

Re: Collaboration: Good or Bad?

07/06/2010 7:02 PM

Let me a bit of a devil's advocate here.

Even though the OP is asking about collaboration, the article includes a reference to what one university is defining as cheating. In other words, the implication is that the necessary skills aren't being developed. Collaboration only has real meaning if all the participants have similar skill levels. By definition, students are reinventing wheels all the time as they learn. A team in industry is supposed to have some coordination and direction/guidance from a team leader to avoid everyone solving problems in an overlapping way. But you expect/hope that any one member of the team could write competent code for any problem/task assigned to him. If someone in college is actually cheating more than collaborating, he won't be up to this challenge. And furthermore, if s/he has cheated, they are likely do so on their resume also.

Reply
Active Contributor

Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Canada/China
Posts: 18
#8

Re: Collaboration: Good or Bad?

07/07/2010 4:09 AM

Honestly, what you have said is what the school is and what the university is and what the world is!

__________________
mutual benefits!
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: srilanka
Posts: 2725
Good Answers: 5
#10
In reply to #8

Re: Collaboration: Good or Bad?

07/07/2010 12:20 PM

When kids learn collaboration,even after leaving the college they will make a united society with mutual benefits and reduce the world wide problems like poverty,racism,political killings etc If we can make English language as the official language of the world,remove visa system,have common currency,jobs to be advertised in internet,allowing religous freedom,have a common constitution for all the nations,allow freedom of speech/expresssion, uncensoring news ,destroy nuclear/chemical weapons,reduce expenditure on armed forces etc this world will become a very beautiful place to live

__________________
pnaban
Reply
Active Contributor

Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Canada/China
Posts: 18
#9

Re: Collaboration: Good or Bad?

07/07/2010 4:14 AM

Spam:

This post was deleted because it contained advertising outside the Commercial Space forum. Please review Section 14 of the CR4 Site FAQ about advertising.

__________________
mutual benefits!
Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: California
Posts: 2363
Good Answers: 63
#11

Re: Collaboration: Good or Bad?

07/07/2010 12:41 PM

Of course having had many technical courses where they would try collaborations, I can tell you it is extremely hard to quantify the quality of effort and learning on the part of the student. It is extremely common for the more charismatic or attractive women to seek groups with the more intelligent men, and coat-tail. As they appear to be interacting with the group they appear to be adding to the quality of the effort. However, much like the internet, not all information is useful, and then the more qualified people are risking their own grades to help a struggling student who doesn't want to effort the task but rather have others explaining things and solving problems for them. For those of us who actually practice in professional business, we all recognize how annoying it is to get a marketing guy on a proposal with a who is really a salesman with a personal advancement agenda who knows nothing except catch phrases about the market sector, the technical aspects of the project, or the details about the prospective client. You spend so much time trying to explain things, rather than getting things accomplished. In many CSC course the homework (programming projects) is a kind of running depth test, and grades frequently depend highly on the assignments, since the students won't have much time in class for true involved test of depth of skills. Collaborative efforts are only of any value if the teams are composed of relatively equally qualified people with similar work efforts.

Reply
Active Contributor

Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Canada/China
Posts: 18
#12

Re: Collaboration: Good or Bad?

08/01/2010 11:47 PM

Spam:

This post was deleted because it contained advertising outside the Commercial Space forum. Please review Section 14 of the CR4 Site FAQ about advertising.

__________________
mutual benefits!
Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 12 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Anonymous Poster (2); ATC (3); Bushdriver (1); d_entrepreneur (1); msm98lw (1); pnaban (1); RCE (1); ronseto (1); russ123 (1)

Previous in Blog: How to Empower Two Billion Children?   Next in Blog: Does Medical Imaging Need Better Regulation?

Advertisement