Facebook study group equals cheating?

If university classmates join forces, through a Facebook group, to brainstorm solutions to questions posed by the professor, is that cheating? That seems to be the conclusion at Ryerson University in Toronto, where an engineering undergrad faces expulsion for setting up a Facebook group for his class mates in undergrad chemistry.

The story outlined in today's Toronto Star doesn't exonerate the student (Did they actually share answers to online questions posed to the class? The student missed initial meetings with faculty to discuss the Facebook group, where the situation might have been diffused), but what does the university's reaction say about how schools are adopting (or not) to the work habits of eternally wired teens?

"... The incident has sent shock waves through student ranks, says Kim Neale, 26, the student union's advocacy co-ordinator ...

"All these students are scared s---less now about using Facebook to talk about schoolwork, when actually it's no different than any study group working together on homework in a library," said Neale.

"That's the worst part; it's creating this culture of fear, where if I post a question about physics homework on my friend's wall (a Facebook bulletin board) and ask if anyone has any ideas how to approach this – and my prof sees this, am I cheating?" said Neale, who has used Facebook study groups herself..." (Toronto Star)

[tags] Facebook, student discipline, Ryerson [/tags]