To future ECE students,

Electrical and Computer Engineering is an extremely challenging major, especially at Purdue. There will come a time when you feel like it is necessary to do something ethically questionable for the sake of a grade. This could mean a lot of things, like giving your iClicker to a friend to take to lecture for you, using solutions to problems that you find online, or even cheating on an exam. It may be tempting to follow one of these options, but is it really worth it? The answer is, of course, no. There are several reasons why keeping clear of cheating is beneficial, but I’ll just focus on two: you’re hurting yourself by doing it and you’re taking away the work put in by other students.

Let’s focus on the first reason for a moment. What do you gain from finding the solutions to your homework on the internet, or copying a friend’s homework? Do you learn the material better, or do you just get your grade and move on? Classes you take in college are about much more than grades. They’re about learning new material. ¬¬How well do you learn something by copying it down? Granted, it’s easier to copy, but what are you doing to yourself to save a couple hours every week? The last thing you want is to walk into an interview for your dream job and not know how they do what they do. The classes you take at Purdue in ECE form a foundation for almost all electrical and computer engineering, and if you don’t master these, no company will want to touch you. They would rather hire the graduate who knows their stuff.

This person put forth the effort in their classes. You may not see them out much, and they probably always look tired, but they are putting in the hours. They earn their grades at the end of the semester. How do you think this person feels when they end up with the same grade as someone who never goes to lecture, never goes to office hours, and never puts in the time? What reason would anyone have to work hard and learn something if everyone else is just cheating? I have been in this situation before. There was once a time when a very close friend of mine stopped going to lecture, and still expected me to do homework with him. I essentially had to teach my friend signal processing because he was too lazy to learn it on his own. I was disappointed and angry. That was extremely unfair to me and extremely unfair to him as well.

Hopefully you make the right choices when entering ECE. It’s very challenging, and certainly not for everyone, but that’s why you came here. Purdue is doing everything they can to mold you into a better engineer and in the process, some things might hurt, but that doesn’t mean you are allowed to take the easy road. The work pays off in the end, so you might as well do it.

Tom Craddock
Senior in EE

  • You may take comfort in the fact that students who copy the homework or don't come to class generally get significantly lower grades than those who do. -pm (instructor for the aforementioned signal processing course).
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