Ryerson panel finds no proof Facebook led to cheating
Ryerson Facebook advocate Chris Avenir says he will be "a little more attentive to school policies" on things like cheating from now on, even though he has no regrets about running an online homework group that nearly got him expelled.
In a landmark ruling on student Internet use, a disciplinary panel at Ryerson University has ruled the first-year engineering student should not be expelled for helping run a Facebook study group in chemistry last fall, and should have his passing mark in the course restored.
In a seven-page ruling, the engineering faculty appeals committee found no proof the Facebook site actually led to cheating by any of its 147 users, even though it invited them to "post solutions" to homework worth 10 per cent of the final mark.
But the committee ruled because the site provided "the potential for large-scale cheating," Avenir should get zero on that 10 per cent of the coursework — but he will pass the course — and that he attend a workshop on academic integrity.
"I’m really relieved — it’s good news, and I guess I’ll be more attentive to policies (on academic misconduct) when my name is on the line — even though I don’t really have any regrets about the Facebook group," Avenir said last night.
"Maybe every student should have to go to this kind of workshop on academic integrity."
The committee also ruled Avenir should receive a disciplinary notation in his student record, which he can appeal.
The professor had said the homework was to be done independently, so upon discovering the homework site after the course had ended, he dropped Avenir’s mark to an F from an original B and recommended the 18-year-old be considered for expulsion for academic misconduct — both steps the three-person panel overruled.