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Author Topic: Plagiarism Chronicles  (Read 494228 times)
dr_alcott
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« Reply #1395 on: May 06, 2012, 8:40:29 pm »

So, does anyone have a set of rules for creating plagiarism-proof assignments that I can appropriate without giving due credit?

I'm not sure if this is the kind of thing you're looking for, but here are some guidelines that you probably already know about:

--Create assignments that aren't easily found on a paper mill site. For example, require students to quote/paraphrase/summarize an assigned reading or two.
--If it jives with your syllabus, allow late assignments, with a penalty and for a limited number of days, to ward off the plagiarism that results from last-minute panic.
--Remind them (again) not to plagiarize; include in your rubric language that makes it clear that lack of citation and/or quotation marks IS plagiarism.
--Remind them that you're VERY good at catching plagiarism; make consequences clear (again). Scare them. 

Not rules, exactly, and all stuff that's been talked about on this thread and elsewhere.
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mended_drum
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« Reply #1396 on: May 06, 2012, 11:26:30 pm »


--If it jives with your syllabus, allow late assignments, with a penalty and for a limited number of days, to ward off the plagiarism that results from last-minute panic.


I've been following this one for a decade, but I might have to stop.  Almost every other member of my department has a flat "no late papers" rule, with exceptions only with documentation.  As a result, my assignments are always the last ones my majors complete, and I'm getting a quarter to a third of the class turning in work late which plays havoc with my schedule.  I've rearranged due dates to no avail.  At the very least, I'm going to have to up the penalty somehow.

Bleh.  I'm going to spend the summer figuring out a new approach.
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barcrossliar
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« Reply #1397 on: May 07, 2012, 8:04:04 am »

So, does anyone have a set of rules for creating plagiarism-proof assignments that I can appropriate without giving due credit?

I'm not sure if this is the kind of thing you're looking for, but here are some guidelines that you probably already know about:

--Create assignments that aren't easily found on a paper mill site. For example, require students to quote/paraphrase/summarize an assigned reading or two.
--If it jives with your syllabus, allow late assignments, with a penalty and for a limited number of days, to ward off the plagiarism that results from last-minute panic.
--Remind them (again) not to plagiarize; include in your rubric language that makes it clear that lack of citation and/or quotation marks IS plagiarism.
--Remind them that you're VERY good at catching plagiarism; make consequences clear (again). Scare them. 

Not rules, exactly, and all stuff that's been talked about on this thread and elsewhere.


Scaffolding is helpful: Topic due date 1, this part due date 2, etc.  Keeps students on pace for success, plus it's unlikely that they can plagiarize all the lead-up steps.
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dr_alcott
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Posts: 11,542


« Reply #1398 on: May 07, 2012, 10:02:49 am »

So, does anyone have a set of rules for creating plagiarism-proof assignments that I can appropriate without giving due credit?

I'm not sure if this is the kind of thing you're looking for, but here are some guidelines that you probably already know about:

--Create assignments that aren't easily found on a paper mill site. For example, require students to quote/paraphrase/summarize an assigned reading or two.
--If it jives with your syllabus, allow late assignments, with a penalty and for a limited number of days, to ward off the plagiarism that results from last-minute panic.
--Remind them (again) not to plagiarize; include in your rubric language that makes it clear that lack of citation and/or quotation marks IS plagiarism.
--Remind them that you're VERY good at catching plagiarism; make consequences clear (again). Scare them. 

Not rules, exactly, and all stuff that's been talked about on this thread and elsewhere.


Scaffolding is helpful: Topic due date 1, this part due date 2, etc.  Keeps students on pace for success, plus it's unlikely that they can plagiarize all the lead-up steps.

Oh, good one. This really helps too.
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You must be your own snow, Dr_Alcott.  You must lift, and sparkle, and then melt away.

I love everyone here!
usukprof
Not sure he's been around long enough to really be a
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.


« Reply #1399 on: May 07, 2012, 10:09:17 am »

I also do this to help flow control so the term papers or final project reports aren't done at the last minute.  Milestones are:
1. Two 1/2 page ideas with 2 refs each
2. 1-2 page proposal on selected idea with 5 refs
3. Full outline
4. Draft paper
5. Final
In addition to getting most citation style issues sorted early, grading the final papers is noticeably less painful than before I required the milestones.  While I don't assign a numerical grade for the milestones, I call them mandatory and make it sound like the entire paper will be graded down.  They occasionally are late, but I've always gotten them.  These are in my graduate courses, which probably helps.
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canuckois
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Posts: 2,938


« Reply #1400 on: May 07, 2012, 11:57:17 am »

So, does anyone have a set of rules for creating plagiarism-proof assignments that I can appropriate without giving due credit?

I'm not sure if this is the kind of thing you're looking for, but here are some guidelines that you probably already know about:

--Create assignments that aren't easily found on a paper mill site. For example, require students to quote/paraphrase/summarize an assigned reading or two.
--If it jives with your syllabus, allow late assignments, with a penalty and for a limited number of days, to ward off the plagiarism that results from last-minute panic.
--Remind them (again) not to plagiarize; include in your rubric language that makes it clear that lack of citation and/or quotation marks IS plagiarism.
--Remind them that you're VERY good at catching plagiarism; make consequences clear (again). Scare them. 

Not rules, exactly, and all stuff that's been talked about on this thread and elsewhere.


Scaffolding is helpful: Topic due date 1, this part due date 2, etc.  Keeps students on pace for success, plus it's unlikely that they can plagiarize all the lead-up steps.

Chime.
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anakin
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Goes to 11


« Reply #1401 on: May 07, 2012, 4:31:12 pm »

Polly, after the spring semester you've had with the 20% (right?) plagiarism frequency, that conversation should be a proud, proud moment. P1, P2, and P4 have clearly worked out Important Stuff in your class!

(I think P3 just wanted to be right.)
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barcrossliar
I guess anyone can be a
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« Reply #1402 on: May 07, 2012, 4:45:56 pm »

Good for you, Polly!  For the record, P3 was not in my class.
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Every educated person's not a plumb greenhorn.

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

+-LR is wise. Listen.
chumleypaine
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Posts: 14


« Reply #1403 on: May 08, 2012, 10:16:39 am »

Ladies and gentlemen of the fora, I am a relatively new persona in these environs, both here at chronicle.com, and teaching at a university. I have a dilemma, and would welcome any advice you could give me.


I have accused a student of plagiarizing multiple times and decided to fail them for the class. They have decided to file an appeal, but personally requested that I let them take the remainder of the class in case their appeal goes through successfully. Now, I am pretty sure I am in the right here on catching them a second time...I don't know if it would be doubly unfair to the student to ban them from taking the rest of the course. Have any of you experienced this before, and if so what action did you take?

On another note, have any of your accusations been overturned by an appeals committee? Why so?

The reason I ask is because, once again, I am new to this. I cannot help but feel worried that the report lacks some minutiae in the left corner of a document somewhere, thus destroying the integrity of the claim. I take this very seriously and don't want anyone to get away with this, doubly so due to my ignorance. Perhaps I am being too paranoid?

Thank you for your time!
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zuzu_
Frakking
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« Reply #1404 on: May 08, 2012, 10:24:31 am »

Ladies and gentlemen of the fora, I am a relatively new persona in these environs, both here at chronicle.com, and teaching at a university. I have a dilemma, and would welcome any advice you could give me.


I have accused a student of plagiarizing multiple times and decided to fail them for the class. They have decided to file an appeal, but personally requested that I let them take the remainder of the class in case their appeal goes through successfully. Now, I am pretty sure I am in the right here on catching them a second time...I don't know if it would be doubly unfair to the student to ban them from taking the rest of the course. Have any of you experienced this before, and if so what action did you take?

On another note, have any of your accusations been overturned by an appeals committee? Why so?

The reason I ask is because, once again, I am new to this. I cannot help but feel worried that the report lacks some minutiae in the left corner of a document somewhere, thus destroying the integrity of the claim. I take this very seriously and don't want anyone to get away with this, doubly so due to my ignorance. Perhaps I am being too paranoid?

Thank you for your time!

More information will be helpful.

You say you have accused the student of plagiarism. What is your evidence? How clear cut is the matter? Is there any gray area?

I agree that you probably cannot prevent the student from staying in the course until the appeal is complete.

Whether or not the issue will be overturned varies greatly from institution to institution. Again, I think we could be more helpful if you provided more details--we might help to identify any counterarguments that you might anticipate. You also need to review whatever policies and procedures are in your student handbook/code of conduct/honor code, etc.

Try not take this too personally. Yes, we should hold students to rigorous standards, but if things get ugly, you don't need to be a martyr.
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chumleypaine
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« Reply #1405 on: May 08, 2012, 10:46:27 am »

Thank you for the quick response!

Basically the student had to write a short paper on a book in class. I found that in this particular paper large chunks of text were copy/pasted from the publisher's website blurb. The problem was that the student had slightly rearranged the sentence structure, or occasionally changed one word within the sentence. At first I thought this would be a stretch, until I realized their paper format fit the blurb in its progression:


Editors Blurb:

Sentence A, Sentence B, Sentence C, etc.

The student's paper looked like this:

Sentence B, (Slightly edited) Sentence A, Sentence C

By slightly edited, I mean that one or two words were changed, suggesting that the student was mindfully covering their tracks. Instead of using "coordinated" in the editor's sentence, the student instead used "conducted". This occurs for about half of the assignment with the occasional personal opinion.

I hope this makes sense?
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weedinthewheat
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« Reply #1406 on: May 08, 2012, 11:20:36 am »

Hello wise forumites. I am also looking for advice. This is the first time dealing with a potential plagiarism issue...


The class project (worth 20% of the grade), was a group project that asked the students to apply techniques we learned in class to "real world" basket making. Most groups did simple, but perfectly acceptable, reports on how these techniques can be used for university-specific baskets (weaving in the mascot, etc). So, no real concerns for plagiarism there. One group, however, used a case study from the textbook, "Basket Weaving in the Pacific Islands". The google turns up a lot of results (liking to papers for sale) for this exact case study. In fact, some of the work done in their paper can be found on some slides online. The ease of finding material online combined with the slightly off topic makes me suspect plagiarism. Add in that the techniques they used were more advanced than we did in class and the fact that the paper was 2x longer than required makes me think that they bought the paper (also, it was written in 2 days with 3 edits- strange for group work). I have asked them to turn in the actual basket (the paper mentions they made such a thing), but have received only email silence (class is over- project was due on the day of the final).

My concerns: I do not have concrete proof that they plagiarized. How do I check if this paper is one that is available for sale online (my uni does not have a subscription to any plagiarism checkers that I know of). I can give them a bad grade on the project (they were required to turn in the basket), but that doesn't seem right. Any advice?



I forgot to note: they did not cite the case study. They did, however, copy / paste the entire case description (with no indication that it was not their original project). However, this was in the appendix, so I am not willing to fight with plagiarism charges with only this evidence.
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zuzu_
Frakking
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Posts: 4,687


« Reply #1407 on: May 08, 2012, 11:35:23 am »

Thank you for the quick response!

Basically the student had to write a short paper on a book in class. I found that in this particular paper large chunks of text were copy/pasted from the publisher's website blurb. The problem was that the student had slightly rearranged the sentence structure, or occasionally changed one word within the sentence. At first I thought this would be a stretch, until I realized their paper format fit the blurb in its progression:


Editors Blurb:

Sentence A, Sentence B, Sentence C, etc.

The student's paper looked like this:

Sentence B, (Slightly edited) Sentence A, Sentence C

By slightly edited, I mean that one or two words were changed, suggesting that the student was mindfully covering their tracks. Instead of using "coordinated" in the editor's sentence, the student instead used "conducted". This occurs for about half of the assignment with the occasional personal opinion.

I hope this makes sense?

Assuming there was NO attempt to cite this website, I think you have a solid case, and unless the appeals committee is whack. However if she happened to list this website on the Works Cited/References page, then a committee could argue that it's shoddy citation, and depending on institutional culture, they may lessen the penalty or allow a rewrite or something.

Good luck! It's no fun. Regardless of what happens, remember not to take any of it personally. It is not a personal affront to you. It took me awhile before I could let go of feeling offended in these types of scenarios.
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zuzu_
Frakking
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 4,687


« Reply #1408 on: May 08, 2012, 11:41:24 am »

Hello wise forumites. I am also looking for advice. This is the first time dealing with a potential plagiarism issue...


The class project (worth 20% of the grade), was a group project that asked the students to apply techniques we learned in class to "real world" basket making. Most groups did simple, but perfectly acceptable, reports on how these techniques can be used for university-specific baskets (weaving in the mascot, etc). So, no real concerns for plagiarism there. One group, however, used a case study from the textbook, "Basket Weaving in the Pacific Islands". The google turns up a lot of results (liking to papers for sale) for this exact case study. In fact, some of the work done in their paper can be found on some slides online. The ease of finding material online combined with the slightly off topic makes me suspect plagiarism. Add in that the techniques they used were more advanced than we did in class and the fact that the paper was 2x longer than required makes me think that they bought the paper (also, it was written in 2 days with 3 edits- strange for group work). I have asked them to turn in the actual basket (the paper mentions they made such a thing), but have received only email silence (class is over- project was due on the day of the final).

My concerns: I do not have concrete proof that they plagiarized. How do I check if this paper is one that is available for sale online (my uni does not have a subscription to any plagiarism checkers that I know of). I can give them a bad grade on the project (they were required to turn in the basket), but that doesn't seem right. Any advice?



I forgot to note: they did not cite the case study. They did, however, copy / paste the entire case description (with no indication that it was not their original project). However, this was in the appendix, so I am not willing to fight with plagiarism charges with only this evidence.

I would avoid formal plagiarism charges and deduct credit for sloppy work and unoriginality. You might even comment that "technically, this is plagiarism." If it was a straight cut/paste job from a purchased paper, it would probably turn up on google even if the paper was locked for purchase. Those TurnItIn services are overrated and I haven't found them to be any more useful than Google in plagiarism detection.

Was it clear in the assignment instructions that they were required to turn in the basket?
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fishprof
It's not stupid; It's advanced.
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« Reply #1409 on: May 08, 2012, 12:20:38 pm »

If the basket is required, issue an Incomplete.  Then it's on the student to come resolve it and you buy yourself time to sort out the institutional practices and adminicritter support....
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I know I "can't care more than they do", but my presence here alone renders that impossible.
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