1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2010
The negative grad student is way too steeped in high-theory and/or elite-level student body. If you teach average students at a mid-level university/college, this is the text for you. It also speaks to aspects of their actual day-to-day lives, rather than the usual applied ethics hit-parade of controversial/media-hyped "social issues".
7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2008
I bought this book because, as a grad student and aspiring academic, I hoped for an intelligent discussion of the various subtle and ambiguous ethical situations that occur in academia every day. I was hoping to get a nuanced discussion than most of what happens on campuses, having just recently taken a mandatory ethics test that was predictable and absurdly rigid. Instead, I got this book, which is apparently intended to be a college text but isn't even written at a college level.
I think the writing is what irritates me most. The diction is incredibly simple; as an example, "Ruth was caught buying a term paper from Ever-Ready Student Services, an organization that writes papers and take-home exams for college students in exchange for cash." (pg. 118) That's about as complex as the sentence structure - or indeed, any of the scenarios - in this book get. That, coupled with the fact that most of the examples are rather simple and straight-forward, makes it very difficult to get anything out of this book. It's also really irritating to read since this feels like it was written by an eighth grader.
Nearly everything in this book is a scenario followed by questions, with little or no discussion of the issues. It leaves the impression that all opinions are equally valid, and that's just not true. It doesn't get at the heart of what I think is a pretty major issue, that faculty and students simply have different understandings of the expectations in a class. It also doesn't get at a less discussed problem, that faculty don't always agree on what is cheating and what is not. In graduate school, I had one class where the professor was shocked and appalled to learn that some students had been looking up answers to homework problems on the internet and another (in the same department) who nonchalantly informed some students privately - but not the whole class - that he expected them to check their answers with solutions on the internet. This book would leave neither the student nor the teacher more prepared to to address this situation. Rather it would affirm that all have valid opinions.
This book has no subtlety and doesn't address realistic situations. We all know that buying or copying a paper is wrong. Is it wrong to look at other papers, which may be found on the internet? To ask a friend what he or she had done for the same assignment? What if it's a math or physics problem that has a defined answer? If students are allowed to work together on homework, when does team work become cheating? What rights does a student accused of cheating have? Do faculty always behave ethically when dealing with students accused of cheating? (In my experience, this often isn't true - once the accusation is made, the student is assumed to be guilty.) Most cases are not straight forward, and, having been a graduate teaching assistant and having proctored many exams, I can tell you most cases where a teacher suspects cheating have no hard proof. This doesn't prepare anyone for these subtleties.
Perhaps most importantly, this book doesn't discuss how to avoid these problems in the first place, which is what we'd all like.
So don't waste your money on this, and if you're a student in a class which requires this book, perhaps you'd be better off taking underwater basket weaving.