Wow. I read this link, and it has me quite furious! Here is another link to a CBC article on the same issue.
Basically, Ryerson University is saying that studying with someone else is cheating. Their intent, I believe, is to make sure that students don't abuse the internet and networking, and they are truly concerned over making sure that their students learn the content.
However, how many times have you gone into a study hall in a high school or at a university in any number of areas, and seen a group of students studying together? Isn't that the same? It's just a different forum. It's online as opposed to face-to-face.
Now, I think that this is a GREAT way to use social networking in education. As a CFF Coach, I use my network ALL THE TIME. I don't get accused of cheating. I get thanked for being able to access the knowledge to learn and share with others. Let's face it. Learning IS social. That's why we go to schools instead of learning just by reading on our own. In the 21st Century it's not about knowing facts anymore. It's about being able to find the facts, analyze them, and apply them, and being able to work with others.
Now, there is also the fact that some homework answers were posted online. Now we're in the part where we get to trouble. There is a difference between studying together and just posting and taking answers from someone else. I imagine that is the issue, and that is wrong. But, since there is one small part that is bad, the university is attempting to take away to good with the bad.
The way I see it, this university has two options: The first is to expel the young man that was the moderator of the group, even though he did not post any answers. This will lead to a large resistance by the student body, as they will see this as going against everything they have been learning and how they have been learning. The second option is to work on assessing the problem. All sides need to look at what the pros and cons are of new technologies. Both sides need to work together to reach a compromise. Accountability needs to lay on both the students and the university staff. The students need to make sure that if someone is misusing the technology, they point it out. The staff needs to make sure to lay out the guidelines as to how they expect to see this used. And don't restrict it, promote it. Model it. The more the staff takes the lead in these situations, the better these situations will end.