One could argue that naval gazing 101 shouldn't require cheating ("Eyes on your own navel!"), but if it were that simple, then the idea that students in one of the most expensive, elite colleges in the nation, a college whose degree opens doors throughout business, academia and government, were so incapable or unwilling to do coursework in a gut course that they resorted to cheating, would be disturbing on its own. After all, how much is a Harvard degree really worth if you not only take idiotic classes, but don't have to do the work that they require? But, unfortunately, that's not why this matters, and it does matter. First, look at the course itself:
Originally Posted by Novaheart
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Introduction to Congress
This course seeks to provide students with a comprehensive introduction to Congress. The first half of the course addresses the nuts and bolts of how Congress operates in terms of foundational theories, the committee system, congressional elections, and congressional procedures. In the second half of the course we apply this knowledge to an exploration of how and why Congress pays attention to certain issues rather than others. Students are encouraged to view Congress not only as an institution unto itself but also as an institution that interacts with a variety of actors to shift public policy. The recorded lectures are from the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences course Government 1310. (4 credits)
GOVT E-1310 Introduction to Congress (23500)
Course tuition: noncredit $1,045, undergraduate credit $1,045, graduate credit $2,000
This isn't some phys-ed class for jocks, it's part of the Harvard School of Government. It provides credit at the undergraduate and graduate level for students of government. Students who take this course are going to go on to careers in government. Ask yourself how many of the students who cheated their way through this class are now working in Washington? How many of them hold positions of responsibility? How many of them were taught to cheat in Harvard, and are now applying that ethos to their regulation of our lives?
Second, look at the cost per credit. Taking that kind of money and encouraging cheating constitutes fraud. We're allowing academic institutions to cheat their students, foist those cheated students on the rest of us and create a culture of fraud throughout our culture.