A first-year student at Ryerson University in Toronto who has been accused of cheating after helping run a Facebook study group could get expelled from school pending a hearing by a special committee.
'This isn't any different from any library study groups or peer tutoring' says Ryerson student Chris Avenir, who is being accused by the school of academic misconduct for being involved in a Facebook study group.
Chris Avenir, an 18-year-old studying computer engineering, denies the academic misconduct allegation, and will take his fight before the engineering faculty appeals committee Tuesday.
Avenir said Thursday he joined the online chemistry study group Dungeons/Mastering Chemistry Solutions last fall, then took charge of it as an administrator. The group was named after a study room known by students as the Dungeon.
He said the group was essentially a place on the internet where students could ask questions about homework assignments.
"This isn't any different from any library study groups or peer tutoring that has been happening," he said.
One hundred and forty-six students used the group to help each other with homework assignments.
Avenir faces one count of academic misconduct for helping to organize the group, and another 146 counts for every student who used the group.
Ryerson spokesman James Norrie declined to comment specifically on the case. But he said, speaking generally on academic policy, that the university has a responsibility to ensure students are doing their own work. Norrie said the university wants to make it clear that its academic code of conduct applies to online behaviour of students.
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Have you used Facebook as a study group? Is this a way for students not to do their own work? Is it cheating?