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Posted on July 9, 2011
Posted on April 1, 2010
Last Updated: Thursday, March 6, 2008 | 4:39 PM ET
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.
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.
If the committee rules against him, Avenir can appeal the decision to the university’s senate.
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.
The professor who taught the chemistry course gave Avenir a “F” after he found out about the group. Before that, he had given Avenir a “B.”
A search for the group on Facebook now turns up nothing. On his profile page on Facebook, Avenir wrote Thursday he is “overwhelmed with support and midterms.”
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.
‘This is not a bunch of old academics sitting around a table saying, “Oh, this scares us.” That’s not what’s happening.’—James Norrie, Ryerson spokesman
“We want them to achieve. But that also means that they sometimes have to do the hard work of learning and not take the easy way out,” he said.
Norrie, also director of the Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management at Ryerson, said the university must ensure any charge of academic misconduct is investigated, and academic integrity is protected.
“It is not fair to students to perpetuate the myth — and it is a myth — that they can do what they like online and that they’re protected because that’s only a forum for young people where they can do what they want to do, and that’s really not accurate,” he said.
“It is our job to protect academic integrity from any threat. And if that threat comes from new online tools, we have a responsibility as academics to understand the risks, to assess those risks and threats, and to educate people about how to avoid misconduct.”
Students shocked by allegation
Norrie said the university understands the nature of Facebook and its groups.
“This is not a bunch of old academics sitting around a table saying, ‘Oh, this scares us.’ That’s not what’s happening,” he said.
Norrie said the university wants to make it clear that its academic code of conduct applies to online behaviour of students.
Students interviewed by CBC News are appalled by the accusations against Avenir.
“They’re just trying to cut him down, and I don’t even know why this prof is doing this,” said Evan Boudreau, a second-year journalism student.
“It’s just completely ridiculous.”
Posted on December 6, 2009
Groom updates relationship status during ceremony
By Kevin Jess.
Dec 4, 2009
Dec 4, 2009
A Maryland couple have created a story that has seen their wedding video go viral on YouTube when the groom interrupted the ceremony to update his relationship status on FaceBook.
When Dana Hanna of Abington, Maryland was standing at the altar with his bride last month he was unaware that when he interrupted the ceremony and took out his Blackberry to update his Twitter account and his relationship status on FaceBook that he would go down in YouTube history with a video that would go viral. In the video you can see Mr. Hanna reaching into his pocket just after saying his vows. Just after being pronounced man and wife the minister said, “Oh, Dana is updating his relationship status on Facebook,” as those in attendance laughed. Hanna then twittered that he and his wife Tracy were married and the ceremony continued. The Twitter post, which is what started the couple’s online fame said, “Standing at the altar with @TracyPage where just a second ago, she became my wife! Gotta go, time to kiss my bride. #weddingday 1:48 PM Nov 21st from Twittelator.” When the ceremony continued the minister officiating said, “As I was saying, I now pronounce you husband and wife. It’s now official on Facebook. It’s official in my book. Dana you may kiss your bride.”
Mr. Hanna, a computer programmer, said to TechCrunch, “No one knew about this except the minister, and myself.” He said that his wife was as surprised by the action as the guests. According to Reuters, Hanna may be a bit overwhelmed by the attention and has posted a new comment on his Twitter account saying, “To all the criticizers of my video out there questioning my sanity: You don’t get it. I was having fun at MY wedding! Loosen up, have fun!” His new wife, Tracy who may also be feeling a bit twitterpated posted, “Can’t sleep, very anxious about this new fame. What will become of it?”
Posted on November 21, 2009
By Tamsyn Burgmann, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER, B.C. – A B.C. teenager intends to plead guilty to posting a hit list on Facebook targeting 117 of his peers and teachers because it’s a charge the Crown could prove, his lawyer said Friday.
Defence lawyer David Karp said his 19-year-old client has agreed to plead guilty to three of 11 charges in a deal that will ensure he gets no jail time.
“What the prosecutor has offered is a reasonable offer,” Karp said in an interview.
“After sitting down with my client, he’s decided to take the offer as opposed to running the risk of going to trial and being convicted of some things and having a more serious sentence imposed at the end of that.”
Karp said the charges relate to posting the Facebook threats, uttering threats against a peer and possession of a non-registered firearm.
“I felt that those were some of the counts they could prove. Several of the other ones they couldn’t prove,” he said.
The Vancouver student, who was 18 years old when he was arrested in June, cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
He was taken into custody after several students who saw their names on the list contacted police, though many students knew it had been online for months. Vancouver police said at the time it was the most serious school incident they’ve ever dealt with, while media made comparisons to the 1999 Colombine massacre and 2006 Dawson College rampage in Montreal.
Police seized an arsenal of weapons during the teen’s arrest, including a shotgun, ammunition, collapsible metal batons and a machete.
Karp says the judge must accepts the deal at a sentencing hearing on Jan. 19. The teen will be required to undergo a second psychological examination prior to sentencing.
“We’ve always taken the position that at no time did he pose a threat,” Karp said, adding the assessment is mostly a formality to ensure nothing has changed since the first one.
“That doctor stated emphatically that there was no immediate threat,” he said.
Sentencing may include probationary terms similar to those he’s living under now, Karp said.
Since the summer the teen has been free on bail, living at his family’s home and attending university for a degree in sciences. Karp said he’s suggested he would eventually like to study at medical school.
Posted on November 20, 2009
Tech Digest news — Gerald Lynch
And so end hopes of an online literary renaissance…
If you’ve ever suffered the crushing heartbreak of being cast asunder by an online pal, you’re probably pretty familiar with the term “unfriend”.Well, it look as though even the internet-phobic are set to become accustomed to the phrase, as “unfriend” enters next year’s edition of the New Oxford American dictionary.
The term, which originated on social-networking sites such as Facebook beat “sexting”, “intexticated”, “netbook”, “funemployed”, “hashtag”, “paywall” and “greenstate” for the title of Word of the Year.
According to a senior lexicographer, the term has (we kid you not) “lex appeal”…
Posted on November 20, 2009
By Marianne White , Canwest News ServiceNovember 19, 2009 6:02 PM
A Quebec woman on long-term sick leave is taking her insurer to court over a decision to cut her benefits based, according to her, on photos she posted on Facebook.
Nathalie Blanchard, 29, is on leave from her job at IBM in Bromont, Que., since she was diagnosed with severe depression in February 2008.
But her benefits were suddenly cut off at the end of October. When she called to inquire with Manulife, her insurance company, she was told they established she was ready to go back to work based on photos they saw on Facebook.
Blanchard had posted photos her herself enjoying the beach at a sunny destination and partying in bars with her friends.
“They didn’t ask her to explain those photos before making their decision,” said Blanchard’s lawyer Thomas Lavin.
Lavin said the Eastern Townships woman was encouraged by her doctor to take small vacations and go out more to try and forget about her worries and integrate herself back into her social network.
Blanchard is going to file a claim in Quebec Superior Court for wrongful dismissal and to seek damages against Manulife.
“She’s in a fragile position to begin with and this has certainly not helped her recovery,” her lawyer said Thursday.
Lavin said Blanchard also saw her mortgage insurance cut off because either Manulife or her employer called her financial institution to let them know what they saw on Facebook.
“That forced her to sell her house because she can’t afford to pay her mortgage, her credit has gone down the tubes and her reputation has been damaged. She’s not having a good time,” he said.
What people post on social networking sites like Facebook is increasingly being used against them in legal proceedings or criminal investigations.
Manulife acknowledged they are using information on such sites to investigate clients.
“We carefully assess and pay all valid claims, plus we would not deny or terminate a valid claim solely based on information published on websites such as Facebook,” the insurer noted in a written statement sent to Canwest News Service.
Lavin said despite repeated requests from him and Blanchard, Manulife has refused to give them the evidence to back up their decision.
Earlier this year, a British Columbia court ruled that a woman who claimed that a car accident left her unable to enjoy her favourite activities should have removed her Facebook photos that proved otherwise.
Photos of Mirae Mayenburg hiking and cycling were entered as evidence in her court case against the Insurance Corp. of B.C.
© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service