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Author Topic: Plagiarism Chronicles  (Read 534761 times)
burnie
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« Reply #1485 on: June 11, 2012, 3:21:18 pm »

Thank you, Geonerd, Burnie, and Dr_Know.

I gratefully accept all three.

And I do hope that none of you really expect me to return the dish, the bottle, or the rest of the cake.  

It was a full bottle, and it was all yours :)
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usukprof
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Posts: 11,492

.


« Reply #1486 on: June 11, 2012, 3:23:53 pm »

Stupidly, I had hoped to get through my first academic year at Favorite University in Favorite City without dealing with any cases of academic dishonesty.

I am grading final exams and final papers for two classes, and guess what?  Student whose grades throughout the quarter have hovered between high Bs and low As has plagiarized on his final paper.  

Sigh.

I had this happen to me twice this semester; once from one of my own MS thesis advisees, and on a paper that might have been submitted for publication.  (Maybe I'll write it up as a separate entry later.).  I just want to smack them and say "why are you doing this to me"?  I drank too.
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stanwyck
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« Reply #1487 on: June 19, 2012, 10:44:20 am »

I thought I had finished with my plagiarism venting, but I guess not.

Spring semester, I filed more academic dishonesty cases than I have fingers. The process was--continues to be--long and unpleasant.

Step 1: meet with the students in office and discuss the alleged plagiarism. Ignore the tears and lies.

Step 2: send formal letters with allegations to students in electronic format (one version of university letterhead) and in hard copy (different version of letterhead with different formatting requirements).

Step 3: don't forget to include a scanned/hardcopy of the assignment with plagiarized passages marked. (Thank goodness it occurred to me to photocopy the assignment before handing back the originals.)

Step 4a: wait a certain number of days for students to respond to my allegations.

Step 4b: answer a series of angry, knee-jerk e-mails; advise the students to re-read the letter and follow the instructions for filing a formal response.

Step 5: discover that this process is too long to complete before the end of the semester, issue Incompletes to all students involved.

Step 6: answer several angry e-mails about the Incompletes when final grades are released by the registrar

Step 7: if students responded to my allegations, consider the merits of their explanations. Decide if they plagiarized or not.

Step 8: issue letters with final ruling, hardcopy/electronic copy.

Step 9a: wait a certain number of days to give students opportunity to file appeal.

Step 9b: answer five angry e-mails from one student who can't seem to understand the sentence, "If you do not file an appeal before the date indicated in the letter (note: the date is bolded in the letter), the department will substitute the final grade you earned in the course (see CMS for your grades) for the Incomplete." Rephrase the sentence five times. Refuse to answer sixth e-mail.

Step 10: if no appeal is filed, navigate the late grade change system to record the final grade

Step 11: if appeal is filed, hang tight; in two or three weeks, the university will write to inform you (hard copy only, btw) that a departmental hearing will be held fall semester to settle the issue

Step 12: log in and vent on the fora. Point out that:

1) this was a visiting position, so I will not be on campus, or even in the state, next semester;
2) in the student's initial response, he admitted that he plagiarized but he didn't mean to do it. In the stress of trying to finish the assignment on time, he was just sloppy with his sources;
3) the student had the assignment in hand for at least five weeks before the due date, so there should have been no stress;
4) it wasn't a research paper, so there was no reason for the student to look at outside sources (much less copy them);
5) the student code is clear that "didn't mean to" is not an acceptable excuse;
6) I've been off contract for more than a month now and I'm not interested in giving up more of my time to this stupidity.
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seniorscholar
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Posts: 7,821


« Reply #1488 on: June 19, 2012, 11:16:04 am »

Stupidly, I had hoped to get through my first academic year at Favorite University in Favorite City without dealing with any cases of academic dishonesty.

I am grading final exams and final papers for two classes, and guess what?  Student whose grades throughout the quarter have hovered between high Bs and low As has plagiarized on his final paper.  

Sigh.

I had this happen to me twice this semester; once from one of my own MS thesis advisees, and on a paper that might have been submitted for publication.  (Maybe I'll write it up as a separate entry later.).  I just want to smack them and say "why are you doing this to me"?  I drank too.

This has been my consistent experience: plagiarists are either (1) students with an average to date of 38 points (out of 100) who turn in graduate-level papers or (2) students with an 89 (high B+) average who have already talked to me several times about applying to graduate school.
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llanfair
Still reading past her bedtime and Very
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Whither Canada?


« Reply #1489 on: June 19, 2012, 11:50:09 am »

I thought I had finished with my plagiarism venting, but I guess not.

Spring semester, I filed more academic dishonesty cases than I have fingers. The process was--continues to be--long and unpleasant.

Step 1: meet with the students in office and discuss the alleged plagiarism. Ignore the tears and lies.

Step 2: send formal letters with allegations to students in electronic format (one version of university letterhead) and in hard copy (different version of letterhead with different formatting requirements).

Step 3: don't forget to include a scanned/hardcopy of the assignment with plagiarized passages marked. (Thank goodness it occurred to me to photocopy the assignment before handing back the originals.)

Step 4a: wait a certain number of days for students to respond to my allegations.

Step 4b: answer a series of angry, knee-jerk e-mails; advise the students to re-read the letter and follow the instructions for filing a formal response.

Step 5: discover that this process is too long to complete before the end of the semester, issue Incompletes to all students involved.

Step 6: answer several angry e-mails about the Incompletes when final grades are released by the registrar

Step 7: if students responded to my allegations, consider the merits of their explanations. Decide if they plagiarized or not.

Step 8: issue letters with final ruling, hardcopy/electronic copy.

Step 9a: wait a certain number of days to give students opportunity to file appeal.

Step 9b: answer five angry e-mails from one student who can't seem to understand the sentence, "If you do not file an appeal before the date indicated in the letter (note: the date is bolded in the letter), the department will substitute the final grade you earned in the course (see CMS for your grades) for the Incomplete." Rephrase the sentence five times. Refuse to answer sixth e-mail.

Step 10: if no appeal is filed, navigate the late grade change system to record the final grade

Step 11: if appeal is filed, hang tight; in two or three weeks, the university will write to inform you (hard copy only, btw) that a departmental hearing will be held fall semester to settle the issue

Step 12: log in and vent on the fora. Point out that:

1) this was a visiting position, so I will not be on campus, or even in the state, next semester;
2) in the student's initial response, he admitted that he plagiarized but he didn't mean to do it. In the stress of trying to finish the assignment on time, he was just sloppy with his sources;
3) the student had the assignment in hand for at least five weeks before the due date, so there should have been no stress;
4) it wasn't a research paper, so there was no reason for the student to look at outside sources (much less copy them);
5) the student code is clear that "didn't mean to" is not an acceptable excuse;
6) I've been off contract for more than a month now and I'm not interested in giving up more of my time to this stupidity.

Stanwyck, when you're not there for the hearing in the fall, will the student get a free ride? What happens, I wonder? (Not that I'm suggesting you should go back there purely for the hearing - that's asinine.)

Maybe they'll get your evidence/comments via Skype.
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stanwyck
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Posts: 1,397


« Reply #1490 on: June 19, 2012, 12:07:58 pm »

Stanwyck, when you're not there for the hearing in the fall, will the student get a free ride? What happens, I wonder? (Not that I'm suggesting you should go back there purely for the hearing - that's asinine.)

Maybe they'll get your evidence/comments via Skype.

I don't know. As soon as I manage to detach myself emotionally from the problem, I'll e-mail and ask. Holding a hearing after the student confessed is asinine, if you ask me.
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llanfair
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Whither Canada?


« Reply #1491 on: June 19, 2012, 12:51:11 pm »

Stanwyck, when you're not there for the hearing in the fall, will the student get a free ride? What happens, I wonder? (Not that I'm suggesting you should go back there purely for the hearing - that's asinine.)

Maybe they'll get your evidence/comments via Skype.

I don't know. As soon as I manage to detach myself emotionally from the problem, I'll e-mail and ask. Holding a hearing after the student confessed is asinine, if you ask me.

That part sounds like CYA to me.
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cygnus21
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Posts: 6


« Reply #1492 on: July 02, 2012, 8:11:15 pm »

Last semester I followed two courses, a bachelor and master course. Both courses required us to write an essay. Since the essay for the master course came first and the topics were similar (you could choose your own topic for the bachelor one), I thought, lucky me, I'll just hand in the same essay again for the bachelor course. Considering the master essay was done at a higher level, it seemed pointless to me to reinvent the wheel just to do something I've already learned. I really didn't see anything wrong with it and I wasn't trying to engage in 'academic dishonesty' or anything, especially since I knew the professor would likely see both essays anyway as he was supervising the bachelor course and teaching the master course. I thought this 'double dipping' was pretty standard practice and it seemed pretty efficient to me, but now I have to come in to the professor's office to 'talk about my essay'. I have no idea what the penalty will be, but looking it up on google, it's considered self-plagiarism!? It's considered that severe?
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geonerd
Limerick cretin, Editor in Chief, Journal of Non-Rhyming Things Unlearned and a
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Posts: 7,899

Do not take the bait.


« Reply #1493 on: July 02, 2012, 8:28:51 pm »

Last semester I followed two courses, a bachelor and master course. Both courses required us to write an essay. Since the essay for the master course came first and the topics were similar (you could choose your own topic for the bachelor one), I thought, lucky me, I'll just hand in the same essay again for the bachelor course. Considering the master essay was done at a higher level, it seemed pointless to me to reinvent the wheel just to do something I've already learned. I really didn't see anything wrong with it and I wasn't trying to engage in 'academic dishonesty' or anything, especially since I knew the professor would likely see both essays anyway as he was supervising the bachelor course and teaching the master course. I thought this 'double dipping' was pretty standard practice and it seemed pretty efficient to me, but now I have to come in to the professor's office to 'talk about my essay'. I have no idea what the penalty will be, but looking it up on google, it's considered self-plagiarism!? It's considered that severe?

It was a poor decision on your part. Whether it is "severe" depends on your professor and your university. What does the course syllabus say about plagiarism? What does your student handbook/code of conduct say about plagiarism?
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llanfair
Still reading past her bedtime and Very
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Posts: 32,664

Whither Canada?


« Reply #1494 on: July 02, 2012, 8:37:32 pm »

Last semester I followed two courses, a bachelor and master course. Both courses required us to write an essay. Since the essay for the master course came first and the topics were similar (you could choose your own topic for the bachelor one), I thought, lucky me, I'll just hand in the same essay again for the bachelor course. Considering the master essay was done at a higher level, it seemed pointless to me to reinvent the wheel just to do something I've already learned. I really didn't see anything wrong with it and I wasn't trying to engage in 'academic dishonesty' or anything, especially since I knew the professor would likely see both essays anyway as he was supervising the bachelor course and teaching the master course. I thought this 'double dipping' was pretty standard practice and it seemed pretty efficient to me, but now I have to come in to the professor's office to 'talk about my essay'. I have no idea what the penalty will be, but looking it up on google, it's considered self-plagiarism!? It's considered that severe?

It was a poor decision on your part. Whether it is "severe" depends on your professor and your university. What does the course syllabus say about plagiarism? What does your student handbook/code of conduct say about plagiarism?

MyUni and MySLAC both prohibit this sort of thing under "other academic offenses", banning (quote) submitting identical or substantially similar work for one course or program of study, which has been or is being submitted for another course or program of study, without the prior express knowledge and approval of the instructors.

Both universities also require all instructors to make it clear to students that the responsibility for knowing the regulations lies with the students.  IOW, ignorance of the law is no excuse. 

Your best option is to tell the truth, accept whatever penalty is assessed, and learn from this mistake.  But you knew that already.
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cygnus21
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« Reply #1495 on: July 02, 2012, 8:43:47 pm »

It seems I may get off lightly, as the university's website says something along the lines of ''while not technically considered fraud, double dipping is not allowed. The penalty will be a failed grade'', though it doesn't say if that's for the paper or the entire course. If that's the penalty then I will gladly accept that, the embarrassment of having to face my professor on the other hand...
« Last Edit: July 02, 2012, 8:44:18 pm by cygnus21 » Logged
llanfair
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Whither Canada?


« Reply #1496 on: July 02, 2012, 8:45:44 pm »

It seems I may get off lightly, as the university's website says something along the lines of ''while not technically considered fraud, double dipping is not allowed. The penalty will be a failed grade'', though it doesn't say if that's for the paper or the entire course. If that's the penalty then I will gladly accept that, the embarrassment of having to face my professor on the other hand...

You show promise, young Cygnus.  If you weren't embarrassed, there'd be no hope for you.

Sometimes they put a letter in your student file, but that's often removed if there are no further instances of plagiarism.
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Stop looking for zebras when the horse is already standing on your foot.
cygnus21
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« Reply #1497 on: July 03, 2012, 3:02:54 pm »

On the university website it states that ''handing in previous work is not technically fraud, but will result in a failing grade''. It seems they handle things on a case by case basis, so if they decide to punish me more severely than just a failing grade, could I fall back on what it says on the website?
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cygnus21
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« Reply #1498 on: July 03, 2012, 5:24:42 pm »

If that's all the punishment I get, I would be grateful, but I'm just worried it will be more severe.
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llanfair
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Whither Canada?


« Reply #1499 on: July 03, 2012, 7:04:14 pm »

If that's all the punishment I get, I would be grateful, but I'm just worried it will be more severe.

Try not to worry till you talk to your prof.  It's a waste of adrenaline.  And when you do talk to him/her, don't try to give any explanations.  They don't matter; what matters is that you're taking responsibility for what happened, and will make sure nothing like this happens again.
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Stop looking for zebras when the horse is already standing on your foot.
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