What to do about cramster.com?
February 7, 2013 2:03 PM Subscribe
I'm seeking suggestions for dealing with the existence of internet cheating sites that provide answers to university homework problems.
posted by anonymous to Education (30 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I teach a freshman-level engineering class. This week a student emailed me with a link to a page on cramster.com apparently created by someone in my class. (Cramster describes itself as a source of "Textbook Solutions", "Homework Answers", and "Subject Experts"; it is a combination of answer repository and expert network, designed to assist students to cheat.)
The linked page contains an upload of the first homework assignment, along with several anonymously contributed hints and answers, some better than others. I don't know who created the page.
I've already talked to my class about this, telling them that it's not right to upload stuff that I wrote (it's both a copyright violation and a university honor code violation), and asked whoever put it up to remove it. I have also updated the course syllabus to clarify what I consider to be acceptable collaboration. (I encourage people to work together on homeworks, but I don't want them consulting previous year's homework solutions, people who've taken the course before, and certainly not J. Random "Expert" Person on the Internet.)
I understand that sites like this are the future (cramster has raised $millions in VC), and it's pointless to fight the tide. Still, I wonder if there is something else I should be doing. I have designed my class to require the students to think a lot about the problems I assign; having a shortcut to the answer will make the course considerably less meaningful and useful. Colleagues have suggested that I
- request a DMCA takedown of the page
- request the university to track visits to the site
- base the course grade entirely on exams and zero percent on homework
- offer a reward for the identity of the perpetrator and pursue honors charges
- just chill out and let nature take its course
Have you had to deal with anything like this in your class? Advice and suggestions solicited. Throwaway email: firstname.lastname@example.org.