Faculties need web policy

A group of students taking the course NURS 403 have filed academic grievance complaints with the AMS over inconsistent evaluation.

Some students obtained practice test questions posted on Queen’s WebCT website over the summer. NURS 403 professor Ann Brown used some of those questions in her fall term tests.

After a presentation on academic integrity and class discussion on Nov. 19, Brown e-mailed students saying she would re-weight the tests containing questions from the WebCT practice tests. But in a follow-up e-mail sent Dec. 1, Brown reinstated the original marking scheme for the course.

Students are now waiting for the School of Nursing to make a decision on their appeal of their final marks.

Vice-Principal (Academic) Patrick Deane said departments don’t have a standard protocol for using WebCT and the University has no plans to create one.

It’s discouraging that the School of Nursing’s response to students’ concerns was to challenge their academic integrity before considering the professor’s actions. Brown should perhaps be asked why she used practice test questions on graded evaluations.

In a small school where a good rapport between students and their instructors can make for a better learning experience, it’s important for the school not to jump to conclusions and automatically side with instructors in conflicts.

Regardless of whether the department follows up on academic misconduct charges, it’s unfair to equate a resourceful group of students, who legitimately accessed test questions on their course website, with students who cheat on evaluations.

Information on the course website should have been monitored by the instructor and those responsible for maintaining the WebCT program; students, who can’t post items on WebCT aside from discussion board comments, can’t be blamed for what appeared on the NURS 403 website.

It’s irresponsible of the departments not to create their own policy governing WebCT use as it becomes more popular.

The University should require all departments to have set guidelines on the appropriate use of WebCT, or any other course website, and procedures for dealing with Internet-related issues.

By their actions, the students have shown they take the course—and their performance in it—seriously; now the School of Nursing needs to do the same.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Queen's Journal

© All rights reserved.

Back to Top
Skip to content