Santa Clara University


The Big Q

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The following postings have been filtered by category Grades, Classes, Academics. clear filter
  •  Let Me See Your Grades

    Monday, Sep. 19, 2011

    Juliana was a good student in high school. She wasn't valedictorian, but she got mostly As and Bs. Her parents thought they had to sit on her to get her assignments done, but she thought they worried too much. After all, she did get into the college of her choice and was starting her freshman year at school.

    Juliana was looking forward to the independence of the college environment. There was only one hitch: her parents were insisting that she allow them to see her grades. Because she was 18, by law, she was an adult. But by her parents' law, she was either going to make her records accessible or they weren't going to pay for school.

    Was it right for them to invade her privacy like this?

    Here are some useful resources:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making 

    Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

    Photo by quinn.anya available under Creative Commons License.

  •  Dangerous Curves

    Monday, Aug. 1, 2011

    Best student comment wins a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate.  Responses must be received by midnight August 7, 2011.

    Francesca is taking an introductory chemistry class this quarter with a bunch of people from her dorm. Knowing that chemistry is not her strongest subject, she studies regularly. Before the midterm, her friends from the dorm go out partying, but she stays up all night going over the material.

    Francesca goes into the exam feeling somewhat confident. She knows the professor will grade on the curve, and she will probably do better than her dormmates, who have hardly cracked the book. During the exam the professor leaves the room temporarily. While he is gone, Francesca notices Nick, a guy from her dorm, sneakily pulling out his IPod and consulting a crib sheet he has downloaded. He then passes the IPod over to Chloe. Both of them notice her watching, and wink at her.

    Should Francesca inform the professor of this cheating? Won't her dormmates suspect she was the "snitch"? She has to live with these people for the rest of the year.


    Here are some resources you might find useful

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    Cheating in College is Widespread - But Why?

    What Does It Really Mean to Curve Grades?


    Photo by Jixar available under Attribution- Non Commercial- No Derivs License.


  •  Get Me Out of This!

    Tuesday, May. 31, 2011

    $50 Amazon gift certificate to the best student response on this case received by midnight, June 5.

    Since he was a little boy, Sam has always been able to count on his father. When Sam was in grade school, his dad went to bat for him if a teacher didn't treat him fairly. In high school, Sam appreciated when his father made sure he got plenty of playing time on the basketball team, and he learned more from his father than from the English teacher when his dad helped him with assignments.

    Now, at the end of his freshman year of college, Sam has a real problem. His psychology professor has found a couple of lines in the final paper he just turned in that were copied directly from an article in a professional journal. Sam does not dispute that the lines were from the journal, which he included in his bibliography, but he explains to the teacher that he simply forgot to put quotations around them and cite them in this one instance. The teacher is not impressed by his explanation, and has given him a failing grade on this very important assignment.

    Sam calls his dad to complain about the situation, and his father is indignant that the professor is being so "rigid." He offers to call the department chair and protest Sam's grade. Should Sam involve his father in this matter?

    Here are some resources that may be helpful:

    Here are some resources that may help:

    Helicopter Parents (The Tufts Daily)

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making



  •  I Can't Get a C

    Monday, May. 9, 2011

    Tell us what you think.  Best student response wins a $50 Amazon gift certificate.

    Melissa is a pre-med student at a large university. She prefers taking classes that relate directly to her emphasis. However, Melissa knows that she has to take general education requirements to graduate. She decides to take "An Introduction to Art History," an easy class, to balance out the hard science classes she must take this quarter.

    It turns out that Art History has weekly homework assignments--nothing difficult, but Melissa never seems to have time to do them. She reasons that she shouldn't waste her energy on class content that she will never use. Still, the teacher does grade the homework and Melissa cannot afford do poorly in the class because medical schools will care about her GPA. She ends up copying a classmate's homework on a weekly basis. Does Melissa really need to spend time on this gen-ed when she has more important classes to worry about?

    Here are some resources that may help:

    Cheating in Academic Institutions: A Decade of Research

    Fundamental Values Project--Center for Academic Integrity

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making



    Photo by Dany Sakugawa available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

  •  Group Project

    Monday, May. 2, 2011

    Kyle, Mia, Raymond, and Jasmine have been friends since they started college as communication majors three years ago. This semester, they're all taking the quantitative research methods class, which requires a group project instead of a final exam. The four of them decide to work together on the project, which includes designing and carrying out a survey, and writing a report on their findings.

    Problems crop up pretty quickly. Mia is also taking a TV production class at the same time, which is enormously time consuming. She misses the meeting where the group finalizes the wording of the survey and divvies up the responsibilities for administering it. When she learns what her group has assigned her, she tells them right away that there's no way she can complete so many surveys by the deadline because of all the work she has for TV production. Instead, she offers to take on more of the writing when the time comes to do the report.

    Although the others aren't thrilled with this arrangement, they cover part of her assigned surveys so that they can stay on schedule. Mia makes good on her promise to do extra writing for the final report, but she's really pressed for time, and the rest of the team is very unhappy with the quality of her work. Should they hand the report in as is or rewrite it? If they rewrite it, should they tell the professor that Mia did not do her share?

    Best student comment wins a $50 Amazon gift certificate.  Comments must be posted by May 8, 2011, at midnight.

    Here are some resources:

    Group Project Tips for College Students

    Ethics of Team Work

    Framework for Ethical Decision Making


    Photo by hackNY available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

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