A University of Guelph professor came under fire over the weekend after criticizing students for using a group study sheet before later citing a miscommunication.
A post on the public Overheard at Guelph Facebook group included screenshots of an email that went out on Saturday from her HIST 2890 teacher accusing a student of academic misconduct — a serious allegation.
Commonly known as a “cheat sheet”, a male student created a cloud study document for others to add to and “circulated” the notes.
The professor wrote in the email apparently considering the group study technique usually encouraged by most academics as an effort to cheat on an upcoming midterm.
A follow up email on Sunday from the professor seen by the Post that cited a miscommunication where she thought an individual study sheet given to one student was being used for cheating, not group studying.
The student “understood the study sheet to be available for group study”, explained the faculty prof.
“I have absolutely no problems with students studying together and helping one another understand the content in a course,” the second email read.
“I encourage it, especially since the amount of material and its potential unfamiliarity to many in the class may make it seem a daunting task to absorb it all.”
Several students were quick to point out that a group study document is not explicitly prohibited by the Undergraduate Degree Regulations and Procedures.
The professor teaching the HIST 2890 course, titled “Early Islamic World”, is identified as Renee Worringer.
“I most definitely believe our professor was in the wrong, however I do recognize that there was a misunderstanding,” a student who asked not to be named told the Post.
“I think that going forward, professors should continue to educate themselves on the technology their students use to succeed. I believe that a shared google doc used to exchange and share notes is no different from an in-person study session.”
The Guelph student, who is enrolled in Worringer’s course, said that she didn’t know how the professor discover there was a document being circulated.
“My only guess is that she was either on the email list that shared the link to the Google Doc, or a student reported it to her. I would’t be surprised if a student informed her, however I can’t be sure or what the students intentions might have been,” she said.
Google Drive documents can be shared via direct email addresses or link sharing can be activated for access to anyone with the exact web address.
The Guelph student said that, despite the professor’s mistake, herself and all her peers in the class are “being punished in a sense” due to the prof’s decision not to provide a study sheet for the final exam.
“Which honestly, will probably lead to another shared google doc, because of the lack of information or clarity on what we are expected to study.”
More details to follow. Image of University of Guelph from previous files.