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On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

(OP)
I have a slight problem - I'm in my 2nd Year of my MechE bachelors' degree and I feel out of place. And not in a way that I feel like my classmates are smarter than me, no - I don't think that I'm that smart, but I still manage. No. It's that I feel like I'm doing so much work and not getting rewarded for it, while others are doing substandard work - and often cheating - and getting all the top prizes for that. I need someone experienced to assure me that I'll be OK.

I'll explain my problems as well as I can.

I was always the youngest guy in my class from primary school to my first year in my first university. I was usually two/three years younger than the 2nd youngest person, because I was put into school at 2. You can imagine how I was always considered the baby by my classmates.

In my first year in university, I made a lot of mistakes. I thought that campus life was just like high school life - that as long as I did my exams, I'd be alright and go on to the next year (I placed 8th in my high school exam, out of 220 kids. Being in the 4th percentile can give you a big head sometimes.). I didn't know about hard work, and about seeing projects through. Only when I almost got kicked out did I seriously start studying.

After 3 years there, I eventually left because of quite a lot of issues that I'd be belabouring myself with if I were to explain them here, and transferred to another university in a rural part of my country. My thoughts then were - hey, this is a fresh start for me. I've lived almost all my life in a city with traffic jams and all that, I've been swamped with supplementary exams (I don't know what you guys call them where you are? Retakes?) for courses I'd probably get kicked out off, I can finally leave my Mom's helicopter hover radius :) and make my own decisions... this new university ain't so bad!

The moment I got my student ID, I dove into my books like nothing else. In my life, I don't think I've ever studied like I have been doing these past two years. I've been doing my assignments on time, finishing up lab reports days before they're due (TBH, 2 or 3 days, at least), truthfully providing proper references for all my work... and not cheating in exams or in my CATs. Another difference is that I'm not the youngest any more - I'm actually the 2nd eldest fella in my class. The median age is about 3 years less than mine.

And herein lie the problems: 1) of late, my school hasn't been sticking to its honour code, and 2) I feel that I was born in the wrong generation.

Problem 1)
Cheating is rampant among my current classmates. The reason why is kinda complicated to explain, but lemme try. In my previous university, I got into the engineering program after doing my national secondary school exams of 2009. Where I am, currently, I'm in the same class as people who did their exams in 2014. Higher education is(was/is again) a meritocracy in Kenya, and for you to get into a polytechnic/college/university you list down in a particular order what you wanna study and the uni's you selected are notified by the nation's Joint Admissions Board that you'd like to join them. If your grade in the secondary school exam passes the uni's cut, you get called. If it doesn't, you can try again. STEM programmes are usually reserved for the high achievers. So, back to my problems - between 2012 and 2015, there were lots of leakages of the national exams, and as you might have guessed, there were lots of "high" grades, and lots of people got called to do engineering, even though a lot of them didn't deserve it. It's been stopped now, and the freshers (freshmen?) of this academic year are gonna be here because they deserve it, but what kind of damage has already been done? You then get a situation where people cheat because they know that they'd get really low marks even if they studied, and those who truly deserve to be here have started cheating because everyone else is doing it. The class' first year exam results didn't even fit a normal distribution.

So here I am, in a class with lots of people younger than me who just cheat cheat cheat. Most of my peers have already graduated (had I done well the first time, I'd have graduated in 2015) and are now working, my one true friend who is also an engineering student is on the other side of the country, and he's graduating this year (what will that mean for our friendship?), and here I am, stuck with millenials who can't even use all the resources that we have today to make campus life better for themselves.

You know that joke? "In engineering school, you have 3 choices: proper sleep, a good social life, good grades - pick 2." It helps me no bit that I chose good sleep and good grades, because people see me as that creepy guy who keeps to himself and doesn't talk about shitty shittity shit like sports betting, the latest fashion, current "music", the latest new "musician", mobile games, mindless apps and get-rich-quick schemes, who won't give them my assignments and lab reports to copy (I mean, if you wanna cheat, at least change a few things here and there. They copy-pasted my ENTIRE work word-for-word the few times I've done it. Didn't even change my sentence structure. ????).

Problem 2)
I'm a huge fan of music, and have a 1,500-album collection. All genres, all artistes, all decades... as long as it's music, I'll listen to it. I have to say that it's getting more and more difficult to find good music as the years go by. Why? I don't know, but I recently read somewhere that the reason we think music from long ago was the greatest is because we only remember the good music from long ago. I try to use that to counter feeling that I was born in the wrong generation. But honestly, if I think about it, I'm embarrassed to be a millenial. All these communication methods we have, yet we're lacking in social skills. The whole internet at our fingertips, yet research is difficult for most people (just look at the Reddit sub for engineering students [that's reddit.com/r/engineeringstudents] for example, where most people ask the same mundane questions day in day out). People want to be given prizes just for having been in a competition; should we lower the bar for millenials because nobody's tall enough or no-one can jump high enough? Should we say that a 10kg barbell is 20kg because nobody can carry it, then award everyone equal prizes, including the few who managed to carry 9kg? When did competition become wrong? Why is the society I'm in sissified?

So... I feel like I was born too late to explore new corners of the earth, and too early to explore space. Why was I born at this time? I just want to be a good engineer in a properly-functioning society - that is a society that stands to its beliefs, be they conservative, be they progressive. But today, everyone's mad - the left is mad, the right is mad.

I was reading a thread here where one guy (I've forgotten who) said he's working with millenials, and they (the millenials) think that the instructions he sends them are verbose; they keep writing tl;dr. It made me sad.


Winding up:
There's this story called The King and the Poisoned Well (I'm not good at retelling stories and won't try to do that here, so you should just look it up). Should I just stop resisting and drink the poison?
Those who know how to use a slide rule, am I worrying too much? Was engineering school then the same as now - were people just as lazy then?
Does it get better? When I graduate and start work, will I meet engineers who know what they're doing, or will it just be the same thing that's happening here?
How do I let go of all this stress?


THANK YOU FOR LISTENING.

........................................
The EAC - One People, One Destiny... One Federation.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

2
Truly great people are out of place no matter what time or era. People with integrity are always in the minority.

Stick to your path of honesty and integrity. Not only does it make you a better person, but in the long run it will make you a better engineer. School ends, but careers endure.

And, yes, science has actually shown that popular music is getting dumber.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Quote:

Does it get better? When I graduate and start work, will I meet engineers who know what they're doing, or will it just be the same thing that's happening here?
How do I let go of all this stress?

You'll meet some who know what they're doing, many of whom will simply be getting on with it without much fuss or fanfare. You'll meet plenty who are making a good living blagging their way through life, jumping from job to job as their level of competence is revealed for what it is.

Will you ever get rid of the stress? Perhaps not, once you start to rise through the ranks where your personal responsibility for people and equipment increases. Stress can be a positive thing, provided it is managed. The higher your own personal standards are, the more stress you'll feel, especially when others fall short of the standards you set yourself. You'll probably have the odd sleepless night when things aren't going as well as they should be. I know I do.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

You will meet all sorts of individuals in the work force as you have discovered in school. People really haven't changed. Some will simply be in the wrong position for them. One of my first supervisors took advantage of everyone in his sphere of influence and really did not know much about his supposed subject matter expertise. After taking too much advantage of his position, he failed in his assignment and alienated those under him. And for a time was on the outside looking in. He did finally find his ken and wound up as a vice president in sales which suited his glib personality. An engineer he was not.

Don't be too discouraged about those individuals who take advantage of you. They are simply a part of life - just be aware of them and be careful in your dealings with them. There will be many more who are honest and quite brilliant and will provide guidance in your future career.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Quote (TheTick)

Stick to your path of honesty and integrity. Not only does it make you a better person, but in the long run it will make you a better engineer. School ends, but careers endure.

And, yes, science has actually shown that popular music is getting dumber.

This sums up my thoughts as well. When I was in school, my mindset was that I didn't care if other people cheated, cause eventually they would have to get into the real world and they will make terrible engineers. Several years later, I have been proven correct. Some of my former classmates that were rampant cheaters either NEVER worked in engineering or washed out within the first few years.

As for music, there is a reason I haven't turned on the radio in my car in over 10 years.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

My advice would be to become good at blocking out distractions, for better or worse others' presence is merely a distraction and should NOT impact you in any way. If you find yourself obsessing over their actions then take a break and find some happy thoughts otherwise. In industry you won't get away from lousy, unethical engineers. I once heard and tend to believe that ~20% are brilliant industry leaders, ~60% are okay at their job, and ~20% are con-men surviving off the rest.

JMO as well, but I would be cautious with the rose-colored glasses. As much music sucked during yesteryear as it does today, and many times the best is the least appreciated in its day. You seem to put your elders on a pedestal and in the near future are likely to start noticing many are in that last 20% who will take advantage of blind faith. Many will tell all manner of tales but those that truly used slide-rules are fairly rare in the working world today, they'd have 50+ years in industry when 30-40 is the norm. Most of today's senior engineers and tradesmen have worked entirely in the digital age yet the reality is that many haven't kept up with digital technology. Recognize and give credit to those nearing retirement whose ability with software tools is extraordinary, but don't let anybody give excuses for not knowing the "new tools" or offload work onto you bc of it. A previous employer of mine for example has been using 3d models from the same software supplier for more than 25 years yet many still couldn't do much more than open a model and spin it.

To each their own path, good luck regardless.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Grades only matter with getting your first job. I got blasted taking hard classes that three weeks in I realized I would be miserable if I ever had to do this on the job. After that, I just wanted to get through it and put my energy into the classes I was interested in. My GPA suffered. My undergrad university made it so it was that the profs would give a lot of leniency to anyone taking graduate level courses. The idea being that whoever made it this far made it through all the weed out classes. I don't know what to say about that. I could have gotten a lot better grades cheating. Probably, could have gotten decent grades in what I had not been that interested in but I wouldn't have learned anymore. Looking back now, all cheating would have gotten me was a job sooner and I would probably never needed to leave my home state.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

If there is a culture of cheating and corruption within your country, there may not be anything you can do about that, and you may have to decide whether to go to a different country, behave ethically anyway, or join the crowd. Hopefully, you'll choose one of the first two choices.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Scrip,

The reason old music and old movies and books are so good is that nobody listens to, watches or reads the crap that was turned out back in the day. A few masterpieces have stood the test of time. These are not necessarily the things the critics admired back then.

--
JHG

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

This isn't meant to give you further stress, but the odds are that you will changing jobs a few time, and industries, and maybe entire fields of work once you are out of school and trying to settle into a carrier.
You have a taste of this from changing schools.
Trust me, in the long term flexibility and being able to adapt will your strongest tools.
Other peoples work isn't your concern. I have never worked in a job where there was another person doing the same things that I was. Being able to work on your own and produce reliable results will serve you well for decades to come.

When I was in school there was a guy across the hall from me. For my first two years I only saw him a few times and never spoke with him. He was an EE, and had perfect grades. Then as a senior he decided to take classes that interested him, even if it hurt his grades, and he opened up socially. He had a great collection of jazz records, and was a very interesting guy. Time change and so can you.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy, Plymouth Tube

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

I am currently working to my Master's degree in US and cheating is rampant here as well.

Luckily, I am also working full time in the field that I am studying, so it is a little easier for me to understand the material as compared to my classmates; but it still pisses me off to see these guys cheating their butts off through long homeworks and during exams, while I am working my butt off to get a good grade.

As others have said, when these cheaters get into the real world, they will be exposed for the amount of work they put in. Stay strong and resist the urge to cheat, it will pay off in the long run.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

As a side story, my favorite class that exposed the cheaters was my FEM class...

The whole class focused on your ability to code and we had a huge project about coding FEM in a programming language called Matlab.

Rather than give an exam on theory of FEM (which the previous two had been about), the professor asked for examples of how to write code without any warning (basic stuff about how would you write a for loop to do x y and z in an FEM routine). The amount of stone cold stunned faces in the room was hilarious. Lots and lots of Fs on the exams (everyone was copying each others code). Those who did their own projects and homework were rewarded.



RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

2
I think the practice in universities today of giving group assignments helps the parasites. Both my son and daughter complained of getting the same grade as the others in their group, when they did all the work. Supposed to mimic the work environment requiring a team approach, but I think it is just another PC leveling scheme.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

There's nothing particularly new about cheaters; we had a graduate class at USC back in the 1980s where 6 students copied one person's work; only one person actually bothered to try and make his different, but the statistical odds of 6 integrated circuit layouts coming out identical to the micron is pretty much zero. They got Ds or Fs on that assignment, which pretty much tanked their class grades. Lots of crying and rending of clothes, but to no avail; the grade stood.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

A slap on the wrist. When I went to University, if you got caught cheating like that, you were out on your ear. Punishment not administered by the teaching staff, but if the evidence was clear, by the student Honor Court, under the auspices of the Dean of Students.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

When I went to University in the late nineties, there were some guys caught cheating on a Fluid Mechanics test. The grades were posted on the wall, as usual, but for these individuals there was a huge red line with a red ink comment: "Failed by fraud". Never heard of anyone cheating again with that professor.

There was also a lot of cheating at the time but I really never cared much about it. I just did my work and moved on, just like in real life.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Exactly.
Change what you can change, ignore what you can't change. Move on.
Stop talking about millenials. :)

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Hang in there, Scrip. I echo the sentiments above - those cheating won't find themselves getting very far, unlike yourself with your current work ethic; such has been my experience, at least. Like many things in life, the more effort you put into your education, the more you'll get out of it.

As for the whole "millennial" debacle, you may actually belong to a micro-generation of Xennials (Generation X + Millenial). Honestly, I don't find lumping people into groups to be productive or worthwhile in the slightest - it seems to be really only be good for insulting or marginalizing them, whether the grouping is based on sex, race, generation, occupation, etc. When's the last time you actually heard someone talk about a "group" of people in a positive way? Yeah, me either - unfortunately, I see society trying to separate us into "groups" more and more, but I digress...

Keep up the hard work - you may remain frustrated until you make it through, but don't falter. I remember working my tail off while others "coasted" around me, but I promise you, looking back now, it was well worth it.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Quote:

When I went to University, if you got caught cheating like that, you were out on your ear.

My alma mater was the same only ten years ago in that getting caught cheating, being arrested, or otherwise violating the student honor code in a significant manner led to a very quick expulsion. I lost a chem lab partner after he drunkenly urinated on a campus emergency call box one weekend - good riddance! Along a similarly rare anymore and strict(?) vein they also had a limit of five years to complete a bachelor's and a requirement to earn a 3.0 GPA to graduate. When my wife attended a large state school known for its "top" engineering program a few years later I remember being amazed that engineering students could and did graduate with a 2.0 and criminal record!

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

There is a basic conflict of interest between academic integrity and profit. Some schools are large enough and have sufficient demand that they can afford to kick out cheaters; other schools might not have that luxury.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Mine was a state university, but I don't think that finances affected decisions of the Honor Court.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

As a Millenial (barely, and depending on which year you choose as the line.. but still) I find the 'Millenial' discussion often quite insulting.

I busted my ass through engineering school, and I bust my ass at work now- which is why I'm responsible for monitoring the work of other Millenials, and some Gen X people too.

There have always been, and will always be, people who take shortcuts.

Your integrity is just that- yours. If you're unwilling to compromise, you will come out ahead in the end.

I would never advocate that cheaters in college are a good thing- but in a way they're preparing you for the real world. People who take shortcuts in school become people who take shortcuts in the real world. They don't magically become ethical when they receive a diploma.

If nothing else, dealing with this in school is excellent practice for real world situations when your ethics and integrity will need to be exercised- and rest assured, this absolutely will happen.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

(OP)
Thank you all for your answers. You've helped me out a lot!

........................................
The EAC - One People, One Destiny... One Federation.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Can you describe the ways in which they cheat?

In my undergraduate program, for instance, the entire school had a heavy reliance on "Word Files," which were maintained by fraternities or dorm halls. They were basically files of old tests and projects issued by professors, which people used as study aids. Occasionally a sloppy professor would put together a test with an identical question from prior years, but typically the use of "word" in classes really just facilitated studying. I would be surprised if many of the people on this forum didn't resort to using "word" during their undergraduate education, as a study aid. (not a source of plagiarism)

Or are you talking about people copying each other's papers during tests? That sort of thing?

Quote (irstuff)

There is a basic conflict of interest between academic integrity and profit.

There's something deeper to this than most of the older generation realizes, and it's caused by federally backed student loans. My eyes were really opened to it when I taught as an adjunct.

The way it used to work, was engineering programs brought a lot of students in, failed the bad ones out, and turned out a high caliber of graduate through attrition. Now there is a completely different dynamic. Professors are instructed by the administration to do everything they can to keep poor students in school, so the university can farm them for money. Money the student will eventually have to pay back, of course, but by that time the university is out of the picture. Their only motivation is enrollment.

As a corollary, the US News and World Report rankings give positive credit to schools for having HIGHER GPAs, and having HIGHER retention rates. The more straight A students a school puts out, and the fewest students the school fails out, the HIGHER their national ranking as a university. In the 1990s, Georgia Tech students used to make fun of Stanford because GT would equal or better them on every category in the USNWR ranks, and then tank our overall ranking once retention and GPA were included. Since, there has been a structural shift in the mentality at GT, as well as all other schools nationwide, to focus on student retention and quit wearing their students out so much. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I went through the trial by fire and in my opinion emerged a better future employee. On the other, it was thoroughly unfun and honestly didn't help me much in learning the material. Further, I don't think the attrition model was necessarily a great educational tool. I have many friends who failed out and went on to earn six figure salaries.

I still have that "drop day nightmare" where you wake up one morning and realize that you forgot to file the forms to drop a class, and the final is tomorrow. Other folks I've spoken to from GT have the same nightmare, I wonder if it's common here on ENG-TIPS.



Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

"it's caused by federally backed student loans."

More likely, it's because the tuition rates have been on a rampage exceeding inflation for the past several decades. NDSL has been around since the last big wars of the 20th century. There's been a cycle where professors have gotten better salaries while corporate and government support have decreased, putting more pressure on tuition as a source of income. State universities have fallen into that trap as well, since non-resident tuition is double or triple that of residents. For-profit universities obviously have an even worse conflict of interest.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

(OP)
Hi bee.

Quote (beej67)

Can you describe the ways in which they cheat?

Using Google and saved PDF documents to search for answers, and WhatsApp and other messaging apps to share them, in the exam room. Or not doing their assignments and copying from someone who did the day before it's due. If in a lab group, contributing very little but getting the same grade.

Quote (beej67)

There's something deeper to this than most of the older generation realizes, and it's caused by federally backed student loans.

Whoa. You just opened my eyes to something there.

Over here it's somewhat similar. As I said before, higher education is a meritocracy, and as long as you get the right grades in your high school exam, the government will pay roughly 80% of your boarding and tuition fees, and give you pocket money on top of that. But at some point in the late 90s, universities started accepting anyone for their programs as long as that person could pay all their tuition and boarding.

Because a higher ed degree made one really marketable then (and also because of a lot of other factors like growing purchasing power, higher literacy levels, etc.), more and more people started paying for themselves. This meant that anyone with the money could get into any degree they wanted, as long as they paid and had gotten at least a C+ grade (the minimum grade to get a government sponsorship to engineering school is an A-, and our grading system goes from A, A-, B+, B ... D, D- to E). Imagine being in the same Thermo class as someone who got a C+ in Math, and the only reason they're there is because they have the money.

The only good thing I see is that the cut-off points for going on to the next year are still in place, so whether or not you have the money, if you don't pass the exam, You Shall Not Pass!!!

........................................
The EAC - One People, One Destiny... One Federation.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Quote (Scrip )

Imagine being in the same Thermo class as someone who got a C+ in Math, and the only reason they're there is because they have the money.

In the American system, whether they went to a state/local college or an elite world class university, every degreed engineer on this board doesn't have to imagine this scenario- we all experienced it first hand, at least once.

But that fact is immaterial. You can't control who gets admitted, and you can't control their moral decisions. Focus on what you can control- your reactions to things that frustrate or annoy you. This is a lesson that will apply for the duration of your natural life.

By my estimation, 90% of all unhappiness in the world is due to people attempting to control things that are out of their scope of control.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

3
What do they call the person who is ranked last in their class in medical school? Doctor...

"Imagine being in the same Thermo class as someone who got a C+ in Math, and the only reason they're there is because they have the money."

Imagine being in the same Thermo class as someone who has a 180 IQ. Now, don't you feel stupid? I think you should concentrate on the things you can control or influence, all else is pretty much irrelevant.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

What an interesting thread - where to begin?

To the OP, I too am a millennial who (I hope) doesn't quite fit the mold, although I attribute that to my US heart-land upbringing as much as anything. I do however recognize in myself a few of the tell-tale signs of being a millennial, probably because my mom always told me how special I am (and still does...). Anyway, I think the key to rise above the stigma is to be self-aware. Recognizing your own flaws and observing traits you want to avoid in others is a wise way to mold one's self into the person/citizen/student/employee you want to become.

On the cheating, some of the stories above really brought back memories for me. I had a programming class taught by a very bright and diligent grad student who took his job very seriously. People thought they could cheat by copying files and changing a few lines of code. He actually had a way to dig into the digital signature of the files to see if they originated from the same source. I do not know if there were actually expulsions, but I know some people quickly disappeared from the class.

Also, on the archives of old tests and assignments kept by frats and sororities - guilty. I was never a member, but a had some friends that were. One professor in-particular was well-known for a few things: 1.) rambling on about topics completely unrelated to the class for weeks at a time, 2.) putting tough questions on tests that were not taught in the lecture or the textbook, 3.) putting the same questions on tests year after year. I was warned, but I went at it alone on the first test, thinking to maintain my integrity. I did all the homework and studied hard, but the stories were true. There was no reasonable way to prepare for such an exam, and I was always very good at exams. I studied with the frat guys on the remaining tests and ultimately did well in the class.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Quote (FoxRox)

Also, on the archives of old tests and assignments kept by frats and sororities - guilty.

As am I- I was a fraternity member. Our crib system was robust, and ridiculously organized (what else would you expect from 50-odd engineers left to roam without any influence from business/art/history/phys ed majors...). We were a studying hub as a result.

I realize that opinions on this range from 'you are a dyed-in-the-wool cheater' to 'shrug'.

At my university, many professors were highly anti-crib-systems. Others were fine with it.

The ones who were anti-crib coped by not returning tests. You were usually allowed a few minutes during the next class to review your mistakes, but the tests were collected and we couldn't take them home. Not returning your test was cause for an F regardless of what grade you earned.

Professors who weren't anti-crib-system wrote new questions every semester, and many of them would say something to the effect of "I know you all have access to cribs, they will be an excellent study aid" on the day(s) before the test.

Professors which allowed their material to be absorbed into the crib system always wrote exams which were objectively much harder- but the raw grades would even out, because we prepared for those exams by doing real problems, so our levels of competency were higher, and we were fluent in that particular professor's style of questions.

When allowed by the professor, we used cribs as study aids- but we certainly weren't allowed to bring them to the exam or reference them in any way. I also went to college during a time when smart phones existed but had not yet proliferated into every pocket and purse- so this rule was probably much easier to police then than it is now.

In other words, I have no shame about that system because it was known by everyone including professors and school administration- and they were allowed to shape their own policies to prevent the system from creating an environment where we were not learning, and access was equal to everyone. We let anyone study at our house, whether they were members or not. We never turned anyone away so long as they were there to actually work.

I'm telling you this long story because there's one other thing to consider. You absolutely should not compromise your own ethical point of view. If you view a certain behavior as dishonest, than don't do it. But you should also be using any resource available to you to learn- again, so long as your ethics and integrity are not being compromised.

Sorry for the long post, guys- this thread has me fired up I guess.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

(OP)

Quote (IRStuff)

Imagine being in the same Thermo class as someone who has a 180 IQ. Now, don't you feel stupid? I think you should concentrate on the things you can control or influence, all else is pretty much irrelevant.
Touché. I think this is what I needed to hear the most.

Quote (FoxRox)

probably because my mom always told me how special I am (and still does...).
Hahaha. Same thing I always heard!
I think that nowadays it's nonconformist to be a conformist.


Quote (FoxRox)

I was warned, but I went at it alone on the first test, thinking to maintain my integrity. I did all the homework and studied hard, but the stories were true. There was no reasonable way to prepare for such an exam, and I was always very good at exams. I studied with the frat guys on the remaining tests and ultimately did well in the class.
The same thing happened to me, in my Mechanics class. What I do now is I study as widely as I want to during the semester, and then when exams are around the corner, I'll go through the lecturer's past papers.

Quote (jgKRI)

By my estimation, 90% of all unhappiness in the world is due to people attempting to control things that are out of their scope of control.

Quote (jgKRI)

You absolutely should not compromise your own ethical point of view. If you view a certain behavior as dishonest, than don't do it. But you should also be using any resource available to you to learn- again, so long as your ethics and integrity are not being compromised.
I hear you.

........................................
The EAC - One People, One Destiny... One Federation.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

You've gotten some great responses based upon experience from around the world. That means, to me, people are pretty much the same everywhere. But don't focus on them because that is a distraction you don't need. Your job is to focus on who you are, who you want to be, how you want to conduct yourself, etc. If you focus on them, you'll lose your way. Don't compare yourself to others because that is a distraction that leads to losing yourself, too. Focus on your life and living a good one. The details will come into focus much later in life. Hang in there and find the good eggs to surround yourself with.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Actually, I was almost in AP Physics with a 180 IQ, or would have been he hadn't taken it 2 yrs before I was even allowed to. He actually gave a lecture for my AP Physics class on elliptical integrals which went over the heads of everyone, including the instructor.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Quote:

Imagine being in the same Thermo class as someone who got a C+ in Math, and the only reason they're there is because they have the money.

Depends on where they got the C+, if it was at a decently difficult school then I'd feel honored to be their peer. As beej67 mentioned above, many colleges today will happily graduate anyone who pays the bill and have dumbed-down their programs to minimize attrition. Usually these schools are easily identified as having dozens of students with a 3.9+/4.0 GPA and typically with no tangible skills or ability. At my alma mater students were told at orientation they would be challenged to the point of getting a few lousy grades (Cs, Ds) and that attrition would be extremely high, particularly compared to "better" schools. We graduated engineers with real design ability, not junior apprentices and most were recruited prior to graduation with top salaries, not "hired" through the standard process.

Quote:

The way it used to work, was engineering programs brought a lot of students in, failed the bad ones out, and turned out a high caliber of graduate through attrition.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Interesting the different opinions about "cribs". We called them "koofers", and they were not considered to be cheating, but just like any other study aid.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

My M.O. for each year was:
- Select modules with exams. (Minimise coursework)
- Attend all lectures. Be sure that the material is understandable.
- Postpone any serious study until exams are 1 month away.
- Two years of past papers, all questions. Night-time sessions. With colleague.
- Sail through exams.

Past papers were a key part of my education. Not cheating in my view. I even gave my worked past papers to friends in lower years as study aids.

(1990 ME graduate)



Steve

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Quote (IRStuff)

"it's caused by federally backed student loans."

More likely, it's because the tuition rates have been on a rampage exceeding inflation for the past several decades.

Cart / horse. Tuition rates are skyrocketing because kids can/will pay it, and colleges bend over backwards to keep them in because they want to extract as much money as possible out of them. They're also doing things like, for instance, wiping out all their old dorms and replacing them with luxury apartments with individual rooms. Paid for via tuition, originating as a federally backed student loan.

The real elephant in the room is that quite a lot of the degrees now aren't worth the cost the kids are paying for them, in terms of ROI. That market adjustment, when it happens, is going to be thunderous and very upsetting to the status quo.


Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

I am also someone who tried hard to get through my education with minimal reliance of group homework completion and previous exams. I don't judge people who did so though. There are many career paths to take in engineering and not all of them require technical knowledge. For me, I just wanted to learn the material - at least this was the case in grad school. Now 30+ years into my career, I am still seem to challenge the system. For one, I have always forged technical leadership roles instead of jumping over to Project Management. OP - Have you ever watched any Dirty Harry movies? Sometimes I feel like Harry - or at least that narrative is comforting to me.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

In 5-10 years, you won't even care about these things that seem important to you now. Just don't get any tattoos and everything will work out fine.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Or... get a lot of tattoos and things will also work out fine.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Tattoos depend on location. While it is true that the majority of your skin is covered by business casual clothing, its also true that the majority of employers and colleagues will hold visible tattoos against you.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

3
The stigma against tattoos in the business world is dying a quick death I think.

I'm heavily tattooed, and there are people I have worked with for 5+ years that are blissfully unaware.

We're way off topic.. just struck a chord with me for obvious reasons.

If your opinion on someone's level of professionalism or competence is based on art on their skin and not what they actually do and produce, you're no different than anyone who adheres to racist or sexist hiring practices, in that you're going to limit the level of talent you can bring on as a result of whatever bias you may have.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

The art you wear under your clothes is your own business. If there's art on your hands, neck and face, that's everyone's business. It's no different than piercings or a 14-inch braided beard. It's an outward personal statement that you have consciously chosen to make. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but some professional situations, especially those involving customers, are not the place for outward personal statements. That's not a judgement of personality, character, or integrity, nor does it mean I wouldn't hire you. It just means you might have limited yourself with regard to specific professional career paths. Is that fair?

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Discriminating against how people were born is a lot different than against people who choose to mark their bodies, dress in a certain style, etc. Art is subjective, just like how you dress. I see tattoos similar to worn jeans - not necessarily bad, but also not professional. At least I can change my jeans.
Having lived in Austin, I know that tattoos are in vogue even among many professionals (but certainly not all). It's not the same *most* other places. As you said, your coworkers don't know you are tattooed. So how does your personal experience (anecdotal at that) speak to your broad claim?

Anyway, it's not a bad idea to wait till your older before getting a tattoo (as I suggested to the YOUNG op), or making any other major/permanent decision for that matter. In what situation is it advisable that you NEED to get a tattoo when you are young, rather than wait till your brain is more fully developed? I got one in my early 20's. I would not choose to get it today. No big deal, but tattoos just aren't that cool to me now. In fact, if you want to show uniqueness as a young person today, don't get a tattoo. Your right, this is off topic, but I also find "proudly" tattooed people slightly pretentious and annoying in regard to their sensitivity about their tattoos. I.E. comparing yourself to a minority because you have a tattoo is downright ignorant. The fact that you even made the post about your tattooed self is just another example...

There's more talented young engineers without tattoos (that are visible) than with. I don't think for nanosecond that I would limit my talent pool in any negative way if I didn't hire someone simply because they had a neck, face or hand tattoo. I'm open minded, so I would still hear someone out, but most people I work with or know would not.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Quote (FoxRox)

Is that fair?

Yes.

Quote (Terratek)

As you said, your coworkers don't know you are tattooed. So how does your personal experience (anecdotal at that) speak to your broad claim

I'm a very good engineer. I have tattoos. Many of them. If I wore a short sleeve shirt to an interview (which I wouldn't.. but I digress) and you didn't hire me specifically because I'm tattooed, you'd be making a hiring decision based on something other than competence. I'm not comparing the 'plight of the tattoed' (which isn't a 'plight' at all) the to the very real difficulty that female or minority engineers may encounter during their careers- my only claim is that by writing someone off because they have a (or many) tattoos is narrowing your pool. Maybe that will hurt you at some point without you ever knowing it. Maybe it already has. Maybe it never will.

Quote (Terratek)

In what situation is it advisable that you NEED to get a tattoo when you are young, rather than wait till your brain is more fully developed?

No one ever NEEDS a tattoo, in the hunter-gatherer sense of the word.

Quote (Terratek)

The fact that you even made the post about your tattooed self is just another example...

You felt strongly enough about it to bring it up. I'm going to ignore that comment about being ignorant and just say that if you hadn't opened this door, you'd never have known that I have tattoos, and you could have continued basing your opinion on my level of intelligence and professional competence on the content I release into the world... As we all should, and as you would if I interviewed for a job with your firm and wore a suit.

Quote (Terratek)

There's more talented young engineers without tattoos (that are visible) than with.

This is certainly true.

Quote (Terratek)

I don't think for nanosecond that I would limit my talent pool in any negative way if I didn't hire someone simply because they had a neck, face or hand tattoo.

Like I said above.. that bias may or may not hurt you, and the bright side for you is that you'll never find out either way.

It's just strange to me that you felt strongly enough that your advice in this thread was

'study hard and don't get a tattoo'

I probably get as annoyed by the 'proud to be inked' crowd as you do.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

'study hard and don't get a tattoo'

To some degree, this admonition isn't necessarily about all tattoos, but is certainly about visible and stupid tattoos, like inking "Stud Muffin" on one's forehead in a drunken haze.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

It's been said many times, but I'll say it once more - stop worrying about everyone else. You are the only person that you have to live with. Life isn't fair. So put on your big boy pants, and just be the best YOU that you can be. Everybody gets the chance to do the same. Most waste it. Will you?

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Having got to the tedious age where doctors spend a bit of time each year excising ugly bits of flesh (they've left the big bit on the front of my head) the idea of deliberately introducing unknown chemicals subcutaneously is an odd idea. I don't get it. There again I don't get why graffiti is 'street art'. Most of it is inane poor quality imitation of somebody else's work.

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Quote:

There again I don't get why graffiti is 'street art'. Most of it is inane poor quality imitation of somebody else's work.

So what is this thread now? Just a forum just to passive/aggresively take swipes at everyone outside of our insulated nerd bubble? LOL

Maybe you don't get it, because you don't have an eye for art. Or maybe you only consider the juvenile scrawlings by the side of the freeway. Whenever I go to a new city, I intentionally seek out the graffiti districts. I go out of my way to places like Williamsburg Brooklyn, NYC, to admire what a person with nothing more than a few cans of spray paint, can create. (which I cannot) These places have some amazing artwork. To say that they're "inane" or a "poor quality imitation", is to insinuate that you have some artistic talent, and can better the artist in their preferred medium.

It is the same thing as having a layman tell you authoritatively that you design automotive parts for failure. :rolleyes:

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Perhaps, they've only seen the bad, cheap imitation graffiti...

Oddly, we're actually agreeing on something winky smile

I think there's a big difference between graffiti for the sake of defacing public spaces vs. those that have have an artistic purpose. Even some of the simple tags are done with a certain flair or flourish and are often both pleasing to look at and a legacy for someone. We, as a society at large, even admire cave art from 30,000 years ago; much of modern graffiti is almost like our equivalent of cave art:
https://www.google.com/search?q=graffiti&num=5...

Some have messages, some have an artistic purpose, and some simply reflect a desire to have something that says, "I am not an insignificant insect on the face of the earth." Not that different than, say, Jackson Pollock or Andy Warhol; in some respects, some of the graffiti artists are more artistic than some of Pollock's work.


TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

If you have made it this far without cheating, then you are to be congratulated and encouraged, and don't start cheating at this point unless it is a life or death decision. Regardless of how successful you become, you would always be able to say to yourself that all of your accomplishments were made without cheating. However, the majority of people would differ with that conlcusion, and probably have the opinion that such behavior is not "rational" .

There are a lot of cheaters out there, and their capacity is extended to cheating on taxes, marriage, drug laws, publications, etc. There is also no shortage of rationales that can be applied to justify cheating, and politicians of course are thoroughly educated on such rationalizations. In some respects, one could argue that studiously following arbitrary rules which are contrary to your immediate interests and gains represents a sort of immaturity as it can be seen as a prolonged child-like behavior pattern,but society depends on a large fraction of the population behaving in that mode for stability .

"...when logic, and proportion, have fallen, sloppy dead..." Grace Slick

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Howdy Scrip,
My Dad always used to say:
"There are two roads that will take you where you want to go, the high-road and he low-road. Always take the high-road, it's faster due to less traffic."

Yah, you'll be OK. The good guys always win in the end.
GG

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

I was hoping I might get the odd win here and there before 'the end'. winky smile

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

"Cheating" in the context of being able to find an answer even if it isn't yours should be encouraged in the workplace. There are a lot of successful engineers that haven't had an original idea but knew who to search out. The rule for reinventing the wheel is don't.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

I've always heard it called "research" in the professional world and cant fathom how the jump to a word with such a negative connotation like "cheating" was made.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

I am just going my the context of the original post with people not doing their work in school and copying and pasting stuff without understanding it fully. That is basically encouraged in consulting.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Copy and paste is good because it's efficient and it would be dumb to redo something the same way gain. Like interchangeable car parts. Not understanding what is being copied and pasted is bad. Let's not assume the two always (or even most of the time) go hand in hand.

RE: On Cheating, Engineering and Millenials

Ahhhh....I see. Sadly that attitude is somewhat encouraged throughout engineering. "Garbage in = garbage out" earns many paychecks as do pretty pictures, powerpoint engineering, and a host of other nonsense. IMHO it does seem rather prevalent in consulting and consumer goods tho.

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