Monday, January 08, 2007

Plagiarism (2 of 2)

See you tomorrow for something that isn't plagiarized.

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Blogger whit said...


i hope these people are caught and kicked out of their schools. a friend just had someone plagarize his work and the kid got kicked out of the college of engineering, but it still makes me so mad that people do that.


2:25 AM  
Anonymous Skullturf Q. Beavispants said...

I actually thought this one was a little more borderline and not quite as blatantly obvious as the other plagiarism examples posted on this site. There's at least some attempt to express the underlying facts in the author's own words.

But yes, the opening paragraph mirrors the Wikipedia article too closely. At best, it's lazy -- it almost announces "I used Wikipedia as my only source!" And I suppose it does count as plagiarism if you essentially just copy-and-paste someone else's opening paragraph, reword each sentence a little, but keep the same structure.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Luke said...

I agree with skullturf, it isn't clear copy and paste as they used their own words and for me, that is cutting it just a little to close. I wouldn't call plagiarism out fully, however I would talk to the student and say that if any event like this happens again, there would be repercussions.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous heidi said...

Copy and paste aside, it's unattributed information use. There should be a citation or a footnote, period. Lacking that, it's plagiarism.

This whole topic is scary and unsettling for me, in part because there is no way that with 50 papers to grade I can possibly check for plagiarism thoroughly enough to be assured that I'm catching it when it happens. Pre-emptive planning is the only way to go - assigning topics that are geared towards analysis rather than facts and making sure that the question is original enough that you're fairly certain there aren't scads of papers floating around on the same topic on the internet. At the most basic level, though, is the issue of academic integrity (or just integrity, period), which is apparently something we don't care to teach our children in this society. It's more important to fool people into believing that you're succeeding than to actually succeed on your own work and merit. Hellooo... ticket to the middle class.

It's probably a good thing I'm not teaching this term. My vitriol is getting out of hand.

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Luke said...

Heidi, you ever tried / used

It's used heavily at our school and I know of a couple of universities that use it. It's captured a ton of plagiarists.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Are we missing a bigger question here? Like the one regarding why students are forced to regurgitate facts like these instead of developing their own innovative and interesting ideas?

I'm not suggesting that plagiarism is acceptable, but I'd rather see a paradigm shift in the methods of undergraduate paper assigning and writing as opposed to the current focus on plagirizing lists of facts off wikipedia.

Maybe this is just wishful thinking.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous heidi said...

Jessica - An overwhelming majority of my students when asked to present innovative and interesting ideas will respond: ".... so what do you want me to say?"

This is not wholly their fault, but it is terribly frustrating. I agree with you wholeheartedly about re-evaluating what we ask students to do, but this cannot begin at the college level and will require a total rehaul of what kind of educational values we choose to promote.

3:34 PM  
Blogger AHFB said...

thanks for posting heidi! i was hoping you'd have something to say about this all.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bottom line is that THREE or FEWER words is considered plagizarizing. Even if they "changed" a couple of the words or changed the syntax of the paper, it's still plagiarizing.

What's sad/pathetic about seeing this is that these are college students. I mean, yeah, my sister catches 7th grade students plagiarizing their papers. But people at Umich doing that? It's pathetic.

3:02 PM  

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