As web sites like Cramster and SparkNotes are transforming the way undergraduates study, some are questioning whether they encourage cheating and undermine learning, reports the New York Times. On Course Hero, for example, students can type in a college name and course number to unearth the previous semester’s particle physics final exam or find examples of research papers on, say, the causes of World War I. "There are professors who don’t change their questions from semester to semester, and one of the things that this raises is how problematic that is," said Teddi Fishman, director of the Center for Academic Integrity, which is part of the Rutland Institute for Ethics at Clemson University. "Part of what’s valuable about homework is that it gives you a safe space to practice and struggle." But defenders of the web sites–including some professors–say teachers should not be recycling exams and that students who simply copy homework solutions hurt themselves at exam time. "As faculty, we need to be better educated about what the possibilities are, and the truth is you can’t put the genie back in the bottle," said David A. Sachs, an associate dean in the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University. "If Cramster and all these companies disappeared tomorrow, you could still do a Google search and find what you’re looking for in five minutes."
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