An obvious contrast to the peer grading efforts in Dr. Chuck’s Class
title ‘Internet History,Technology and Security’ and ‘Science Fiction:
The Human Mind, Our Modern World’ exists.
1) ‘Internet History, Technology and Security’ has a far more lenient
rubric to follow in comparison to the ‘Science Fiction’ class.
2) I’ve observed that the essays in ‘Internet History,Technology and
Science Fiction’ are far more thoughtfully written and at-least follow
the question for the peer response instead of a brief recap of work
covered in the reading.
I’ve had to evaluate responses which describe in a way such as ‘I read
Alice in Wonderland was my favorite story when I was small…….’, for a
question which clearly states that you need to form a thesis(or a
perspective view) for the reading material/novel/assignment for the
3) A major reason for this might be the obvious. ‘Science Fiction’
class releases videos of possible interpretations after the peer
response whereas the ‘Internet History,Technology and Science class’
releases videos on the topic, therefore equipping its students to
tackle the peer responses.
Also a funny thing occurred on the Coursera forums where ‘I was
accused of cheating(plagiarism) from my own blog when I merely
submitted my Peer Response anonymously while posting my copy on my
Personal blog. The other students did not have an idea of who I was
‘since the peer grading’ process is anonymous.
However, there were students smart enough to recognize that it was
perhaps the blog of the ‘person who submitted ‘ and the issue was
Thanks to [person] for bringing this to my notice and arguing the
case in my favor. Also a note: Coursera’s plagiarism check systems
should probably account for these when it does come into place.
The above block-quote is from my blog. I find it to be relevant to this question.
This accusation of plagiarism happened with me as well. I was luckily contacted by one of the other students taking the course and I could talk the other student out of down-grading me.
This could be a problem even with OpenAccess accounts as some people may like to post work which they did in classes elsewhere.
I also took part in the programming-based classes such as Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing. NLP was tough, with real life problems to be solved. However, despite being forbidden to share their programs online, a lot of students did so, because it seemed to be the only way to make something out of the course(the certificate would not count).
The reasoning being, that if I learn some concepts from these courses, I could use my github account to appeal to an employer about my skills.
'By sharing programs online, I mean people started public repositories from which any student could cheat and get a working program for submission.' Not even the best auto-grader could possibly prevent this from happening. I don't think this can be stopped in universities as well. Sure you have a honor code, but people can copy parts of code from all over the web. Make it a little original perhaps.
There's also the 'theory' that 'don't re-invent the wheel'.
'Most students would not bother with programming a separate module for
Fourier Transform calculations for part of a academic program. or
doing this they may use a library from elsewhere to directly import a
function.' Would this be considered as copying or plagiarism? Probably
However, some universities(which include mine) think that programming
Fourier Transforms is an important part in understanding them. So my
university gives us programming assignments in a computer lab without
access to the internet. All we are allowed to rely on is the already
available libraries on the system. The systems are wiped clean every
This becomes frustrating when we need to move from AM to FM to delta
modulation and so on. We need to repeatedly write the same piece of
code for fourier tranforms and this drastically reduces our
So getting an optimal solution between preventing plagiarism and 'not re-inventing the wheel' is pretty important if Coursera or any online program would need to get. Right now, there is too much focus on plagiarism and not enough effort to realize the problem of redundancy in the system.