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Ryerson student faces expulsion for Facebook useGeist-48X68.jpg
Posted by Michael Geist

The big story in Toronto today is news that a student may face expulsion from Ryerson University for their use of Facebook. In this instance, the student was an administrator of a Facebook group that students in a chemistry class used to assist one another with assignments. It would appear that the group was not used to pass around answers (you don't need Facebook for that), but rather as virtual study hall where students could more easily pose questions to classmates. While that sounds like the sort of thing we should be encouraging, the student was given a failing grade after the professor discovered the group and charged with academic misconduct that includes "any deliberate activity to gain academic advantage, including actions that have a negative effect on the integrity of the learning environment." I have a hard time distinguishing between collaborative student work in the library, study hall or the telephone and doing the same within a Facebook group. Unauthorized sharing or duplication of answers is an obvious academic offence; using a platform like Facebook as a virtual study group - particularly where each student apparently received different questions - hardly seems like an offence worthy of expulsion.

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