In a summer Psychology exam, Trinity students were given the opportunity to cheat after a venue change meant they had to use their mobile phones in order to access online scientific calculators.
In May of this year, noise from Luas construction works forced a Psychology exam to move from Áras an Phiarsaigh to the Chemistry Building. The exam was worth fifty per cent of the overall mark in the ten credit Statistics module.
Áras an Phiarsaigh had the computers necessary for the test while the Chemistry building did not. The Department of Psychology sent out an e-mail advising students to bring in their mobile phone to use as a calculator in the absence of the relevant facilities.
Speaking to Trinity News, Psychology student Johnny Halligan explains how the situation unfolded:
I just assumed bring a scientific calculator but he [module co-ordinator Michael Gormley] actually wrote at the end of the email to bring your mobile phone in and I heard people afterwards saying ‘sure I’ll just go on Blackboard and you know Google the answers’. There was a few theoretical questions that constitute a fairly big chunk of the exam that was available to a few people.
Normally you wouldn’t have any mobile phone, the computers in the lab are monitored to see if you’re on the internet so you can’t do that so it’s tightly controlled for that.”
He continued: “I usually get a first in every statistics exam and this one I didn’t. I think the department should be held accountable because there was no proper measures, the person who’s overseeing the exam…didn’t go around the room to check to see are you on Blackboard or whatever. It’s not fair, cause other people had access to the material or potentially could have [access]. The very fact of the matter is that he [Gormley] can’t promise me that wasn’t the case cause he didn’t put any restrictions in place.
The results the students received in this examination remain part of their module result, were not changed to account for this incident.