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17 Dartmouth medical students accused of cheating thanks to Canvas

Administration at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, has accused 17 of their students of cheating on exams. The school says that the learning management system on Canvas indicated that students had looked up questions while exams were being administered.

At the core of theses accusations is the controversial topic of student browser history being tracked by Canvas without the student’s knowledge.

22 year-old Sirey Zhang, one of those accused who claims he had not cheated, reported to the Seattle Times. “What has happened to me in the last month, despite not cheating, has resulted in one of the most terrifying, isolating experiences of my life,” Zhang said.

Students of Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine protest at their dean's office after administrators accused 17 of their classmates of cheating during remote exams, in Hanover, N.H., April 21, 2021. (Kelly Burgess/The New York Times)
Students of Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine protest at their dean’s office after administrators accused 17 of their classmates of cheating during remote exams, in Hanover, N.H., April 21, 2021. (Kelly Burgess/The New York Times)

The students claim the university suggested to those accused that instead of fighting the claims, the students would be better off showing remorse for the actions they were being accused of committing.

Despite the dean of Geisel School of Medicine, Duane Compton, claiming that the data collected and used to accuse the students was fair, the students say that no data logs were provided to them and that they were given only two minutes to appeal their accusations in online hearings.

7 students have had their cases dismissed, while 10 student have either been expelled or suspended while their cases and appeal processes are ongoing.

Cooper Quintin, security researcher and senior staff technologist at Electronic Frontier Foundation, analyzed the methodology at which Dartmouth used to support their accusations. Quintin stated, “If other schools follow the precedent that Dartmouth is setting here, any student can be accused based on the flimsiest technical evidence.”

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