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Author Topic: Plagiarism Chronicles  (Read 545813 times)
systeme_d_
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« Reply #1500 on: July 03, 2012, 7:14:22 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...

Facing your professor now is actually an extremely important thing.  The lesson here is not just to refrain from double-dipping [which, incidentally, is considered academic dishonesty at most universities] in the future, but also to speak to your professor about your situation. 

Hiding is easy.  Communicating with your professor is hard, but it must be done sooner rather than later.  Of course, be honest during this meeting.
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barcrossliar
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« Reply #1501 on: July 03, 2012, 10:31:42 pm »

You will also made a better impression if you make it clear that you know WHY it is wrong.  Mature students understand that the purpose of writing papers is to LEARN, about the topic, writing, analysis, etc.  With each paper, if you do your best, you improve in these abilities. 

Papers are not hoops to jump through.  The prof does not assign them because s/he would rather read your paper than spend time with loved ones and hobbies. 

Re-submitting a paper for which you already got credit suggests that you do not understand this.  We get paid the same whether you make use of your opportunities or not, but we're human and we resent wasting our time. 

Demonstrate that you have learned from your academic dishonesty.  It will make your prof feel better about not expelling you.
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cygnus21
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« Reply #1502 on: July 04, 2012, 11:58:50 am »

Thanks for the tips. Unfortunately the professor can't see me for another two weeks. I did find out he doesn't determine the sanction, but some board does.
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llanfair
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« Reply #1503 on: July 04, 2012, 12:06:40 pm »

Thanks for the tips. Unfortunately the professor can't see me for another two weeks. I did find out he doesn't determine the sanction, but some board does.

OK, then - as hard as it is, put it aside until you see him, and concentrate on your other work.  That's the only way to make the best of things right now.
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usukprof
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« Reply #1504 on: July 04, 2012, 12:16:47 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.

I'd qualify that a bit.  A brief statement about of why you did it is in order, but immediately followed by a statement that you should have known better and on reflection understand that it was wrong, is what I'd expect to see.

When I catch academic misconduct I expect an email or letter detailing:
1. What was done wrong
2. Why it is wrong
3. Why I should be convinced that the offender will never do it again
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llanfair
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« Reply #1505 on: July 04, 2012, 12:17:47 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.

I'd qualify that a bit.  A brief statement about of why you did it is in order, but immediately followed by a statement that you should have known better and on reflection understand that it was wrong, is what I'd expect to see.

When I catch academic misconduct I expect an email or letter detailing:
1. What was done wrong
2. Why it is wrong
3. Why I should be convinced that the offender will never do it again


Quite right.  Thanks, USUKProf.
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frogfactory
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« Reply #1506 on: July 04, 2012, 2:12:03 pm »

So, a thought occurs.  If a student is in a situation where one paper will mostly fit two assignments, how much tweaking of the papers is necessary before they're no longer considered "double dipping"?  Can you self-plagiarise a paragraph?
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cygnus21
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« Reply #1507 on: July 04, 2012, 2:19:34 pm »

OK, then - as hard as it is, put it aside until you see him, and concentrate on your other work.  That's the only way to make the best of things right now.

I already sent an e-mail similar to what usukprof suggested and it's summer break now, so there's not much else to be done. The last thing I want to do right now is stress about it while I should be enjoying myself. Based on his e-mails I do have my suspicions that the penalty is not going to be more than simply a failing grade and because the professor knows this, this is his way of making me sweat a little. I can't prove this obviously, but that's what I'm going to cling to until I see him.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2012, 2:23:24 pm by cygnus21 » Logged
fishprof
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« Reply #1508 on: July 04, 2012, 2:59:34 pm »

Two semesters ago, I had two students in my experimental design course who were also in senior seminar.  The seminar prof required a grant proposal, my class required an experimental design.  Both students met with us, and we agreed that they could combine the efforts, since the overlap, while significant, wasn't duplicating effort, as the grant's focus and the proposal's focus were complimentary, rather than redundant.

In the past, I've said no in other cases.
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burnie
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« Reply #1509 on: July 04, 2012, 3:13:39 pm »

So, a thought occurs.  If a student is in a situation where one paper will mostly fit two assignments, how much tweaking of the papers is necessary before they're no longer considered "double dipping"?  Can you self-plagiarise a paragraph?

What you do is go talk to both professors early in the process.  Most people are ok with an intelligent and strategic use of time and energy.  I've let people turn in basically the same assignment as they did for some other class because the nearly-double research time based on effort for both classes resulted in something fabulous.

The point isn't to have some arbitrary "thou shalt have 53.6% different material" gotcha so much as ensuring that students are practicing the required skills and showing sufficient mastery instead of recycling one B paper multiple times to get out of writing something new.  

As someone wrote upthread, the purpose of writing a paper is seldom just turning in something for the professor to read; professors do have pedagogical goals when they make particular assignments.  If you can meet all the goals for multiple classes with one big project this term, then the smart student will go ask if that's a possibility.  Many professors will say yes if asked before the double-dipping and the assignments are similar enough.

Chime.  I've had students tell me they're very interested in topic X and would like to apply it to two different class papers (once it was two of my classes, which was weird).  But in every case the assignments were different and so the papers were very different, just had some sources in common.  My response is always, only if the other prof also agrees, don't cave to the temptation to write one very generic paper that will fit both assignments.  I make some discipline-specific source suggestions and ask to see both finished papers.  Some of those students went on to grad school to continue their research, so I feel their requests were legit.  

That said, I admit I caved and recycled a couple of my papers in undergrad.  I found it to be more of a hassle than starting from scratch as I had to update the sources and re-draft sections to fit the assignment which usually resulted in a crummier paper.  

I found out from a colleague that some of our students-in-common were taking a group paper they wrote for my class and turning it into individual presentations for her class (I may have mentioned it on this thread, actually).  They were caught because her UTA was in my class.  We compared notes and decided that all guilty parties should get a letter grade reduction on the assignment in both classes, which they thought was too severe (I wanted to give them zeroes, but she was worried about her course evals and re-hire).  I now have a clear double-dipping clause in my syllabus.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2012, 3:14:23 pm by burnie » Logged

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mystictechgal
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« Reply #1510 on: July 04, 2012, 4:46:37 pm »

I have had professors agree to allow me to use a paper written in one class as the base for something done in another class. As Polly says, the key is to ask--although twice it has been one of the professors suggesting it, usually after having heard me reference something in relation to what we were talking about in the other class. If I am requesting it I come prepared to explain how the one logically builds on the other without entirely duplicating it. It's never just a matter of switching the name of the class in the header and handing it in. That doesn't cut it,  mostly because the assignments will be enough different that another paper is actually called for, but also because I don't ask unless it was a topic that I was interested enough in that I want to explore it more, whether that's more in depth, or because I can explore a different aspect, or look at the same aspect, but from a different perspective. The time savings comes almost solely from already having a lot of the research materials (or at least knowing where to find them), and, sometimes, from having already made notes applicable to the new paper that for whatever reason didn't fit or were cut from the original paper. I don't think that I have ever used the same base for two classes taken at the same time. I think I've mostly done it for classes in related areas (same discipline) taken in different semesters, but once it was for classes in very different disciplines that just happened to have an overlap that made sense with a shift in the focal area.
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usukprof
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« Reply #1511 on: July 04, 2012, 5:04:57 pm »

So, a thought occurs.  If a student is in a situation where one paper will mostly fit two assignments, how much tweaking of the papers is necessary before they're no longer considered "double dipping"?  Can you self-plagiarise a paragraph?

What you do is go talk to both professors early in the process.  Most people are ok with an intelligent and strategic use of time and energy.  I've let people turn in basically the same assignment as they did for some other class because the nearly-double research time based on effort for both classes resulted in something fabulous.

This.  I frequently let students use one topic for two class projects, or to extend.  The key is to get permission first so that there is an ethical outcome of some distinct work earned for each separate grade.
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notaprof
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« Reply #1512 on: August 11, 2012, 11:58:38 am »

Fareed Zakaria is the latest plagiarist apparently.  He has been suspended from CNN and Time as the details are investigated.

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/business/2012/08/fareed-zakarias-take-gun-control-strikingly-similar-new-yorkers/55652/
« Last Edit: August 11, 2012, 12:00:44 pm by notaprof » Logged

tinyzombie
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« Reply #1513 on: August 11, 2012, 12:01:54 pm »

Fareed Zakaria is the latest plagiarist apparently.  He has been suspended from CNN as the details are investigated.

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/business/2012/08/fareed-zakarias-take-gun-control-strikingly-similar-new-yorkers/55652/

I don't understand plagiarism, logistically or ethically. I don't understand the impulse to steal someone else's words. In this case, additionally, the reason why someone would plagiarize from an easily accessible, online source, that millions of people are likely to have read, is totally beyond me.
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dr_alcott
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« Reply #1514 on: August 11, 2012, 12:04:29 pm »

Fareed Zakaria is the latest plagiarist apparently.  He has been suspended from CNN as the details are investigated.

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/business/2012/08/fareed-zakarias-take-gun-control-strikingly-similar-new-yorkers/55652/

I don't understand plagiarism, logistically or ethically. I don't understand the impulse to steal someone else's words. In this case, additionally, the reason why someone would plagiarize from an easily accessible, online source, that millions of people are likely to have read, is totally beyond me.

Exactly. How could he possibly have thought that he could get away with stealing from a widely read publication like The New Yorker? Ethics aside, it's jaw-droppingly stupid.
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