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Author Topic: Plagiarism Chronicles  (Read 462714 times)
llanfair
Still reading past her bedtime and Very
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Whither Canada?


« Reply #1485 on: May 01, 2012, 8:18:02 PM »

Excellent, Polly.  A masterful exploitation of the suspect reasoning powers of undergrads.
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bioteacher
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Confused and sad. Or happy. I'm not sure...


« Reply #1486 on: May 01, 2012, 9:22:31 PM »

I've got one. Silly Sally is being a PITA about it all, too. Sally's early draft was an assembly of sentences from multiple sources (helpfully identified with citations). The next version relied heavily on quotes which is a problem in terms of the assignment, but an improvement in terms of plagiarism. The latest incarnation removed the quote marks, taking it back into the realm of plagiarism. Student is now yelling (via email) about how unhelpful I have been, now there cannot be any plagiarism in that version, and so on.

There will be an unpleasant, in-person meeting soon, but not immediately. I also want an enforced cool-down period via a delay in our meeting to hopefully diffuse the reaction. I'm also having a coworker sit in on our little chat.

Why can't they just do the dang assignment honestly? I don't enjoy a single bit of this. One big reason I put myself through it is to protect the value of the degrees that were earned. We don't pass them out like candy, kids!

I wish I could dig up stats like Polly does and use that. But my students probably wouldn't believe me even if I did. Magical thinking and all....




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rroscoe1
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« Reply #1487 on: May 01, 2012, 10:15:28 PM »

I define plagiarism quite explicitly and at some lengthy both in my syllabi and the term paper guidelines that I give my students. I also discuss plagiarism on multiple occasions in class. The penalty for plagiarism in my class is a zero on the paper, an F in the course and a misconduct report sent to the administration.

I have only had a few cases of plagiarism within the past year or two. However, this semester I suddenly have several cases on my hands, including one of my advisees and a student that with a B+ in the class. I find these quite distressing. All of these cases are blatant as they involve cutting and pasting whole paragraphs from internet sites. The students all confess that they plagiarized and admitted what they did was wrong. The general explanation is that they waited until the last minute to write the paper and plagiarized because they thought they wouldn't be caught, even though when I explained plagiarism to my classes I told them how easy it is for me to spot it and how quickly I can find papers on google or with turnitin.com.

I'm starting to wonder if I could do something else to educate my students about plagiarism. Does anyone have any suggestions on this issue? I thought that the threat of an F in the course would suffice, and it seemed to have work for some time. But that may not be the case anymore. What else could I do? Have students who plagiarize write a paper on why plagiarism is wrong? I suppose they might plagiarize it as well. My point is that I want students who plagiarize not only to suffer the consequences of their actions i.e. with their grades, but also to learn something from what they did so they will not so again in the future.

Any thoughts? I'm still reeling from several case of plagiarism these last last few days. 

Why do you need to "do something else to educate my students about plagiarism"??  You're already doing that.  The problem is not your failure to sufficiently educate them about the issue; in fact, your success in so doing is attested by the fact that the culprits openly recognize that what they did was plagiarism.  It's not ignorance that's making them plagiarize, it's the usual same-old reason: they "waited until the last minute to write the paper and plagiarized because they thought they wouldn't be caught."   

The appropriate response to students who decide to violate the policy anyway is to exact the appropriate penalty (which you are doing)--not to use precious class time to further belabor the point, to the detriment of the honest students who come to the class to learn.

BTW, good luck in getting your plagiarists to write essays on plagiarism.  Since they're flunking the class and being turned in anyway, why would they?

You know, I think you are correct that I am in fact educating my students about plagiarism. Still, it is frustrating, as well as initially puzzling, to deal with so much of this lately.

I nailed several students for plagiarism a few years ago and gave them Fs in the course. I have never students to come speak to my classes about their post-plagiarism experiences as polly_mer suggested. However, I did have a snowflake, one of those who received an F a few years back, who upon taking the class for a second time loudly announced to the class that I failed her for plagiarism when I went over the section on the syllabus on plagiarism on the first day of class and then AGAIN when I discussed the term paper later in the semester. It was great. And I didn't even ask her. Perhaps what I have experienced of late is simply the result of my reputation as a plagiarism harda$$ fading recently, as you mentioned has been the case with you.

I do like your idea of mentioning something along the lines of "If you come to every class, do the reading, really think about and discuss the concepts, and turn in all your papers, you'll have a very good chance of passing the class. Usually only about 10% of students flunk my class, and that's mostly just for plagiarism." This certainly applies to my classes this semester.

Oh, I do take late papers, although students can lose points quite quickly for them. It might be worth warning students around the time of the deadline about the consequences of plagiarism and the importance of not procrastinating. They may or may not listen, but it really is the same story every time. Students wait until the last minute to write a paper, panic and then cut and paste whatever they can find off the internet hoping that they won't get caught.

Dealing with this crap is one of the worst things about this job. Nonetheless, I agree with bioteacher that it is necessary to protect the value of a college degree.

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peppergal
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« Reply #1488 on: May 02, 2012, 5:22:23 AM »

"I have in the past had students expelled from the university for plagiarizing in my class, and I will not hesitate to do it again.  So before you try, consider whether the risk of expulsion is worth it."

Hmmm ... I wonder if I'd go to hell for [untruthfully] using this line?

Well, I omit the fact that the expulsion happened at a different (and stricter on academic dishonesty) university.  ;)
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polly_mer
practice makes perfect
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Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #1489 on: May 02, 2012, 7:55:36 AM »

I wish I could dig up stats like Polly does and use that. But my students probably wouldn't believe me even if I did. Magical thinking and all....

I'm not sure how convincing the stats alone are, because of that magical thinking.  I am certain that several people every term complaining that they got a zero and a trip to the dean for plagiarizing a lousy ten-point assignment (the primary purpose of that assignment is to emphasize that I mean cite your sources and summarize) or complaining about a zero and a trip to the dean on a draft (yes, I am serious, cite your sources and use your own words) makes my point better than anything else I could possibly do.
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fosca
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« Reply #1490 on: May 02, 2012, 8:35:19 AM »

It's the personal fable common in adolescents:  I'm completely unique and therefore the rules don't apply to me and nothing bad will happen to me because it only happens to other people.  Which is why so many of my students think that they can not study and not read the text and plagiarize but they won't get caught/fail.

I tell them over and over and over that there is no out-of-class extra credit, and I STILL have students ask me, in person or via e-mail, for extra credit, because obviously that rule is just for other people, not them, because they are SPECIAL. 

(I'm glad I'm taking a leave next year; as you might be able to determine, I'm a bit burnt out)
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They equate learning with "understanding magically everything that [the professor] teaches us because it's all so easy" not "expanding their knowledge and ability to apply that knowledge to new situations and problems."
llanfair
Still reading past her bedtime and Very
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Posts: 31,349

Whither Canada?


« Reply #1491 on: May 02, 2012, 10:37:06 AM »

"I have in the past had students expelled from the university for plagiarizing in my class, and I will not hesitate to do it again.  So before you try, consider whether the risk of expulsion is worth it."

Hmmm ... I wonder if I'd go to hell for [untruthfully] using this line?

Well, I omit the fact that the expulsion happened at a different (and stricter on academic dishonesty) university.  ;)

See you in Purgatory, then, Peppergal.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 10:38:24 AM by llanfair » Logged

Stop looking for zebras when the horse is already standing on your foot.
stanwyck
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« Reply #1492 on: May 02, 2012, 10:40:35 AM »

I wish I had only ONE plagiarist. I'm about to fail 13 students. Setting aside my feelings about the cheating, I'm completely pissed off about the time it's taken to fully document their behavior. Create 13 files, print out 13 original sources, highlight the duplicate passages, write up the evidence, blah blah blah. Because I had tons of free time this week. Just tons.

And you know what you don't want to hear from your TA after you've just spent the afternoon documenting plagiarism? You don't want to hear: "Here's my stack of essays. You're probably going to need to re-grade them because they weren't doing very well, so I raised all their scores."

WTF. This is after the TAs asked for a three-day extension of the turn-around window. This is after this particular TA didn't show up at class with the stack of graded essays and didn't answer my e-mails about the location of the essays. I'll tell you what--if you're going to show up seven hours late, you'd better not say things like "You're going to need to re-grade them."
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usukprof
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.


« Reply #1493 on: May 02, 2012, 10:47:05 AM »

Perhaps this will be the last time this student is a TA?
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Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.  --Dean Vernon Wormer
stanwyck
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« Reply #1494 on: May 02, 2012, 11:25:25 AM »

Perhaps this will be the last time this student is a TA?

No, I suspect the student will be a TA again, if only because my evaluation had to be submitted weeks ago. I can report this to the program director, but I honestly don't think it's going to make any difference.
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zombie_librarian
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« Reply #1495 on: May 02, 2012, 6:22:10 PM »

My student just failed a process paragraph assignment because she copied directly from a Wikihow article. I fill out the paperwork, copy her on it, and so forth. Pretty straight-forward.

Immediately, I get an email from her asking if she can rewrite it because, get this, she thought they just "had to find an example of a process paragraph."

Um, snowy, you wrote a topic sentence and a concluding sentence, and pulled sentences from various parts of the article to build your paragraph. If the assignment was to find an example paragraph, you also failed that.

The worst part is that I suspect my Dean will want to allow the rewrite...
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bioteacher
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Confused and sad. Or happy. I'm not sure...


« Reply #1496 on: May 02, 2012, 6:27:28 PM »

... I'm completely pissed off about the time it's taken to fully document their behavior. Create 13 files, print out 13 original sources, highlight the duplicate passages, write up the evidence, blah blah blah. Because I had tons of free time this week. Just tons.

That's one thing I like about Turnitin.com. Download and email or print the originality report, done. There are other forms to fill out of course, but documenting blatant plagiarism is easier with that tool. And yes, I'm in the midst of this now. Sigh.
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citrine
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Beware the Annoying Bad Luck Snail


« Reply #1497 on: May 02, 2012, 7:59:25 PM »

Finals week just started here and the academic integrity board chair is already emailing me and all the other board members about scheduling hearings for appeals, including two back-to-back ones for seniors who got caught plagiarizing in their senior capstone course. It's going to be a busy week...
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barcrossliar
I guess anyone can be a
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« Reply #1498 on: May 02, 2012, 10:04:44 PM »

I wish I had only ONE plagiarist. I'm about to fail 13 students. Setting aside my feelings about the cheating, I'm completely pissed off about the time it's taken to fully document their behavior. Create 13 files, print out 13 original sources, highlight the duplicate passages, write up the evidence, blah blah blah. Because I had tons of free time this week. Just tons.


Holy Carp! 13!
Good on you for following through.

And your TA should be booted.  I used to have to get lab papers to a prof in time for a 9 a.m. course and students were allowed to drop off their work until 10 pm THE NIGHT BEFORE.
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Every educated person's not a plumb greenhorn.

"where whining mendeth nothing, wherefore whine?"--R.L. Stevenson

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polly_mer
practice makes perfect
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Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #1499 on: May 03, 2012, 8:34:56 AM »

... I'm completely pissed off about the time it's taken to fully document their behavior. Create 13 files, print out 13 original sources, highlight the duplicate passages, write up the evidence, blah blah blah. Because I had tons of free time this week. Just tons.

That's one thing I like about Turnitin.com. Download and email or print the originality report, done. There are other forms to fill out of course, but documenting blatant plagiarism is easier with that tool. And yes, I'm in the midst of this now. Sigh.


My SafeAssign doesn't catch too many plagiarists.  In fact, the last two that were blatant to my eyes earned very low scores in Safeassign because the students had done just enough to monkey with the word order.
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I've joined a bizarre cult called JordanCanonicalForm's Witnesses.  I have to go from door to door asking people things like, "Good evening, sir!  Do you have a moment to chat about Linear Transformations?"
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