For the reason that onset of COVID-19 final 12 months, it’s not solely the virus that has perfected the artwork of copying. College students throughout the globe are acing it. With an expansive, completely out there repository at their fingertips, copying is a breeze. In on-line exams, college students have the selection of copying from one another, from the web and from different useful resource materials. Consequently, setting a query paper in these instances has grow to be tougher than answering one.
For many topics, analysis is a basically problematic activity anyway. When confronted with a solution, the evaluator has to transform the price of the reply right into a quantity. Even with a rubric at hand that is by no means easy. And it could be finest to not discuss concerning the reliability of those scores. Completely different evaluators at totally different instances and the identical evaluator at a distinct time would hardly ever give the very same marks to a solution. It’s such a fragile scoring system on which total careers are constructed. The pandemic has compounded the problem of analysis.
Do I give extra marks to a solution that’s unique however incomplete and even off-the-mark or to a solution that’s extra complete however is copied?
The opposite day, it struck me that I hold telling college students “write in your personal phrases” and I questioned why I hold utilizing this phrase on a regular basis. In whose phrases will they write if not their very own ought to have been the apparent comeback. However sadly, it isn’t. College students favor to write down in different folks’s phrases. With a lot textual content at their fingertips, writing has grow to be synonymous with looking, choosing and pasting.
Somewhat than reprimand these younger folks for his or her unethical behaviour, we have to seize this second and radically overhaul our schooling within the mild of the web. The web isn’t going to go away. Quite the opposite, it’ll proceed to develop not solely in dimension but additionally in its intelligence. By persevering with to show college students an enormous vary of subject material and overlaying numerous floor, we go away them with little or no time to know, internalise, mirror, probe and play with the concepts and ideas they be taught. And, then, as a result of their involvement in what they’ve learnt is so low, they don’t really feel assured to articulate or clarify it in their very own phrases. In any case, years of rote studying and copy have led to a insecurity whereas utilizing language to articulate any advanced concept.
We’ve got to recognise that on this battle the web is at all times going to win in terms of amount. We stand an opportunity if, and provided that, we concentrate on high quality. And that can imply a drastic reimagination of what and the way a lot we train. If we don’t give our college students the time and the instruments to learn, assume, articulate, write and, as an alternative, concentrate on how a lot content material they know, then we can be failing our college students in addition to our society.
This column first appeared within the print version on April 8, 2021 beneath the title ‘Past copy, paste’. The author is assistant professor, NMIMS College, Mumbai