1988: Be kind, please rewind (and don’t cheat)

Posted at 5:29 AM, Feb 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-23 09:28:52-05

INDIANAPOLIS — While some students work hard, procrastinators often work harder. At least that’s how it seemed in a 1988 report from WRTV’s Tracey Horth.

It explored a new concept creeping into central Indiana classrooms called video cheating. The term referred to students who watched a video adaptation of a book instead of reading the actual book.

Video cheating was possible thanks to the proliferation of VCRs and video stores like Mr. Video.

“Some of them will go, ‘I have this book report that’s due tomorrow, and I need this movie right away, can you get it for me?’” Debbie Barker, a manager at Mr. Video, told Horth. “If I don’t have it in my store, I will call the other stores.”

Some popular video adaptations at the time included “A Tale of Two Cities,” “Moby Dick” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Horth also spoke with students in a senior English class at Park Tudor. The students told Horth the movies should serve as a supplement and not a substitute.

When asked if watching a movie was cheating, one student said, “Yeah, if you’re pretending that you’ve read the book when you’ve only just seen the movie, it’s not a very good way to cheat because it’s fairly obvious when you’ve done it.”