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    Re: Honesty (was Re: Mercator vs. Great Circle Charts)
    From: Richard B. Emerson
    Date: 2001 Aug 29, 8:51 AM

    Ms. Seefer, I stand by my comments.  Reiterating my remarks on Nav-L,
    had you said something about the situation, (e.g., I'm taking this
    course and I want to be sure I have my facts straight) that would have
    been one thing.  As Mr. Tripp rightly pointed out, it looked very much
    like a student trying to get Nav-L to do their homework for them,
    something that happens on occasion and is usually rebuffed as it
    should be when there's just a list of questions and "what are the
    answers" as was the case in your initial posting.  When Mr. Tripp
    pointed out that this seemed to be a another such case, you then
    offered, as an explanation, that you're taking this course "for
    personal enrichment" (as if that makes putting the task, answering the
    list of questions, on Nav-L readers somehow acceptable) and then
    announced your credentials as if that, in some way, put a seal
    of approval on the matter.
    The matter that I object to is not the questions, per se.  It is how
    the situation was presented which, to be kind, was lacking in candor.
    Again, students do this too often but someone with, referring to the
    enclosed, 14 years of academic background should know better.
    Unfortunately for everyone, in the follow-on postings, it appears you
    did, in fact, dosome work in advance of your posting.  Had you said as
    much and asked for confirmation of that work, the outcome would have
    been far happier.
    For the record, my own academic career, at Temple Univeristy and
    Beaver College (now Arcadia University) lasted only about six years
    and was, frankly, not my first calling.  Nonetheless in that time the
    most valuable lesson I learned was that of the value of academic
    honesty.  It is not a matter I take casually.
    An somewhat related observation from a brief 15 years on the water:
    navigators who are not honest with themselves and their shipmates go
    on the rocks.  It's not a question of "if" but "when" and the size of
    the rocks is not determined by the degree of dishonesty.  Morever,
    even the best of navigators will, some day, "take the bottom"; those
    that haven't, haven't sailed very far.
    Richard B. Emerson
    CCSeefer@aol.com writes:
     > In a message dated 8/29/2001 5:26:57 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
     > navsys@pinefields.com writes:
     > > Your argument that the
     > > course is being taken for personal enrichment (consider what this
     > > episode says about that goal) and that "being innovative" in seeking
     > > the answers is, to be blunt, little more than poor rationalization.
     > >
     > I must say that I was stunned by your message. What exactly have I done
     > that's wrong here? I'm taking a course in oceanography and am supposed to
     > learn about Mercator and great circle charts. I was given a homework
     > assignment (NOT a test) that involved plotting coordinates on both types of
     > charts using a parallel ruler, determining the latitude and longitude of
     > various coordinates, calculating the true directions of various legs, and
     > analyzing differences between the two charts. I spent hours yesterday doing
     > just that. I also engaged in extensive research on the Web to learn as much
     > as I could about these two types of charts and navigation in general. During
     > my research, I happened upon your mailing list. I decided to join the list so
     > that I could consult with experts in the field to learn even more. I was not
     > "using" you to do my homework for me; rather, I was consulting with you to
     > verify that I was on the right track.
     > I guess that I could have just gone to the lab at the college and asked the
     > lab assistants for the answers; after all, that's what most of the students
     > in the class will do. And will they learn as much as I have about these
     > charts? Absolutely not. I sought out the answers myself, and I've learned so
     > much in the process. Mr. Emerson, I did not do the bare minimum to complete
     > this assignment; I went way beyond the boundaries of this assignment because
     > I want to learn the material. It's a shame that there are individuals like
     > you who would try to impede anyone who is trying to learn.
     > I am also greatly offended that you attacked my character and my ethics. I
     > have been a college business instructor for over 14 years, and I pride myself
     > on my abilities in the classroom and on my honesty. Do I teach my students
     > ethical behavior? Absolutely! I happen to teach business communications, and
     > we cover ethical issues on a daily basis, including plagiarism, how to
     > properly cite sources, the importance of avoiding anything misleading when
     > writing business documents, the importance of honesty in the job search
     > process, ethics of using e-mail at work, etc.
     > I also require that my students join mailing lists and newsgroups when
     > conducting their research because I find great value in these communication
     > tools. I shudder to think that one of my students would be treated as I have
     > been on a mailing list.
     > I do thank those of you on the list who have provided help. You understand
     > what learning is all about.
     > Carolyn M. Seefer, MBA
     > Instructor, Business Division
     > Diablo Valley College
     > 321 Golf Club Road
     > Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
     > (925) 685-1230 x306
     > (925) 687-6384 (fax)
     > cseefer@dvc.edu

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