Shvoong Homework, the student collaboration service I covered here ( Homework Collaboration Via Shvoong Homework ) has answered my question regarding students copying each others homework. In my last article, I asked the following question:
I’ve sent in an email to Shvoong Homework wanting to know how they plan on preventing students from copying each others work over the net. Whenever I see the words Homework and Sharing in the same sentence, I think COPY
Here is their response:
Sharing, and in essence copying, class notes and homework among teenagers has always existed in some form or another. That form in today’s technologically advanced and connected world is online. Many students already do homework on personal computers (for example using MS Word) and share it with friends simply by emailing or IM’ing each other. So while it can be argued that Shvoong Homework now makes it easier since the writing and emailing/sharing is in one program and automated, we believe that the positives are much greater than the negatives and that the results will show that.
The interactive environment which we’ve built will in fact encourage students to do more work not less. They will want to participate and feel a part of the community. Furthermore, the sharing element is optional and on a case by case basis for each piece of content. The person that wants to let his best friend copy will do so anyway, with or without Shvoong Homework. The site will not make any person suddenly share with classmates who are not close friends because we don’t reward users that share more than others. The only incentive to share with others is if it goes both ways which means that both sides do the work.
It should also be noted that Google’s Docs & Spreadsheets platform also allows for the sharing of homework so it’s not as if we are breaking boundaries here. Google even promotes an education package (http://www.google.com/educators/tools.html), that includes the Docs & Spreadsheets, directly to students. Even Facebook encourages or turns a blind eye on homework and document sharing (like term papers, dissertations, etc.) through the use of the Scribd “homework sharing” Facebook application. What we’re doing that’s different is that we’re creating niche study group communities around this concept.
I hope this answers your question and I welcome you to contact me again for any further information.
All the best,
Head of Business Development
Shvoong Holdings Ltd.
Thank you for the well informed answer Tal. You make some valid points. Those who want to copy each others homework will definitely do so with or without your service. I wish these types of services were around when I was a few years younger. I’m 23 years old and the web makes me feel old.