Online resources – is it cheating?, a new online help resource

With the internet being such a big part of our lives, it’s no surprise that many students turn to the internet for help with school work. Opinions are split on these online resources; some find them helpful, while others consider them cheating. What do these resources do for students, and is using them considered cheating?

One of the most well known online resources is Sparknotes, a popular site that has everything from English help and test prep to blogs about recent trends. Sparknotes is very well known for their “No Fear Shakespeare”, which translates many of Shakespeare’s most famous piece into modern English.  Many students use this website for help with classes, and it’s no surprise that some people disagree with it. Sparknotes receives an average of about 25,000 views per day, but they can peak out at nearly 100,000 unique visitors in a single day.

Sparknotes is one of the biggest online resources out there, but it’s not the only one., a relatively new website, founded in part by one of our own, Karan Khanna (grade 11), is another help website founded by a group of four teens from Canada and the US. It aims to cover a wider variety of topics, and  almost every school subject. Users can log onto the site and post their questions, and get help understanding the topics and the answers they need. Teenmesh aims to do more than simply provide the answers; their goal is to help their users really understand the topics. Since its founding in January 2013, it has gained over 1,000 users, in countries all across the world.

Sites like these are popping up more frequently, but are they here to stay?  Some schools have considered banning them from their networks, while other schools accept and even encourage their students to use them.  Michael Hougen, a grade 11 student at St. George’s says, “Sparknotes is an excellent resource for summaries of the key points in novels, but it’s definitely not the same as actually reading the book.”