Last night's class went OK. Tough subjects even during my better classes - ethics and academic honesty. I always get a lot of "lip" from a few - they argue that cheating is not so bad / justified / not a reflection of students' moral character etc. depending on the situation. I always wind up telling them this is not a relativist subject and while I favor constructivism as a learning style, in this case I am a strict objectivist, as is the university, and their "feelings" don't matter. It comes as a surprise because I generally encourage all types of debate.
I knew it would be especially explosive last night in this class, and it was. A lot of the usual push back, but there is a student who is quite bright and participatory who argued a different (and I confess interesting) angle: if someone who excels in science is a bad writer, what is the big deal with cheating in a general education requirement? Of course I discounted that perspective, asked why is the university admitting students with bad writing skills? Agreed that gen eds may be BS, but that's the deal with getting a degree and the way to address it is not through cheating, that such strategy equals low ethics and raises doubts about whether such students would eventally find reasons to justify falsifying research in their fields. Finished off with saying, these sort of people would never be my friends.
I guess this is why I was preoccupied yesterday. Glad it is over.