Study site sparks misconduct worries

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By Alexandra Macaulay Abdelwahab

More than 200 Ryerson students accessing a new study site could be charged with academic misconduct for posting and viewing old coursework.

The website, universityjunction.com, allows students to collaborate on work through forums and online chats.

Users can also upload and share documents like class notes, old assignments and exams.

Donna Bell, Ryerson’s academic integrity officer, is concerned with students’ ability to access and share old exams and assignments on the site.

“I’m all for websites that have collaborative opportunities for students,” said Bell. “But individual assignments need to be done individually.”

Mitch Reiss, one of the site’s two Ryerson promoters, knows the school doesn’t like the idea of sharing past tests and assignments.

“University Junction tells the reps to focus on aspects of the website that do not breach their school’s policy,” said Reiss, a second-year hospitality and tourism management student.

Computer science professor Sophie Quigley doesn’t mind her old exams being posted on the site.

“It’s a great tool,” she said.

Liz Mitchell, the site’s communications director, promotes University Junction as an ethical study site.

“When students first sign up, they have to agree to abide by their school’s ethics policy,” she said, adding that the site links back to each school’s academic policy.

Students can also flag content they think breaches codes of conduct, which is then taken down. If flagged more than once, the user’s account is disabled.

Two years ago, electrical engineering student Chris Avenir was almost expelled for his involvement in an online study group. Now in his third year, Avenir thinks University Junction could be useful for students who commute.

“The theory of it seems pretty cool,” he said, though he cautioned against using the new study site to break any codes of conduct.

Right now the website is available on 10 campuses throughout Canada and the United States.

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