This is not new, since the story broke a couple of weeks ago, but I haven’t brought this up before. Chris Avenir, a first-year Ryerson computer engineering student, is facing expulsion. His crime? Being the administrator on a Facebook group, which was intended to work the same way a study group works when conducted in person. Somehow, Ryerson officials feel that doing group study online is bad, while not online is somehow magically better.
I think this is absolute garbage. My university, Athabasca University, routinely uses online forums and conferences to allow students to do exactly that. The only thing we cannot do is post answers to exams or assignments. So we are not cheating, we are helping to tutor one another so that individuals can get over the rough spots, gain a better understanding of course material and do well if they work hard. Having online assistance available to you in no way is the “Easy Button”. No more than talking to a professor in class and asking him/her for pointers on the assignment that was just handed out.
I hate Facebook, but I just joined the group supporting Chris Avenir. His last name means “future” in French. Interesting that his case will help shape the future of how online study will be seen by the academic community.