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Questioning Cell Phone Use

Photo by Claudio Calligaris

While entering an exam room, you realize that you forgot your watch, but are not concerned since your cell phone has a clock on it. During the exam, you take out your cell phone to check the time. Have you violated the Code?

Answer

Yes.

Why is this an issue?

Knowing the time during an exam is important for effective time management, but unlike watches, cell phones can receive and display text messages, pictures, and even diagrams. Furthermore, allowing you to use a cell phone during an exam may create the impression that you enjoy an advantage over your peers, even if it is only used for time checks. It also creates an opportunity for cheating to occur.

An interview with the disciplinary officer will be required. See the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures in the Handbook on Student Rights and Responsibilities for more details.

How can it be avoided?

During an exam, all students — even those without a watch — should know how much time is available to complete the exam. At the beginning of the exam, your instructor or TA should explain that cell phones are absolutely forbidden, but that regular time updates will be provided. This ensures fairness for everyone, provides an effective time management mechanism and removes an opportunity for cheating.

Related Information
"Twelve students were accused of cheating on an accounting exam after friends text-messaged them the answers from a bogus key that was posted online in an effort to catch cheaters. Some students were thought to have directly accessed the key using cell phones capable of browsing the Web." - Selingo, J. (2004). The cheating culture. ASEE Prism, 14(1). Retreived from Prism Magazine.