Plagiarism Chronicles

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Quote from: airball on December 11, 2008, 12:16:00 pm

Is it part of a larger assignment or series of assignments?

The latter. It is one of five short assignments that cumulatively total 10% of the final grade. I reviewed her record, and her previous submission received a much better grade than earlier ones, but I took another look at it (and googled it) and I'm pretty sure it's legit. Which makes this all the more sad: she has shown she can do the work, if she puts in the effort.

In this case, I don't buy the "she didn't realize it was wrong" argument. It's not that she failed to use quotation marks or citations: this is not an assignment that called on them to consult other sources at all - much less the publisher's blurb. They were to read the book and write a short evaluation of it. In lieu of doing that, the student googled the book, found the publisher's website, and presented a portion of the publisher's blurb as her own opinion. I don't see much gray area there.

I'll discuss the case today with my colleagues. I've asked the student to meet with me after our next class meeting. We'll see.

It would be nice to keep all discussion of plagiarism in one thread. Kudos for this thread.

Quote from: tangy_rakish_babe on December 11, 2008,  4:23:02 am

... (first-time offender - as far as I know, of course - and only a portion of a minor assignment) ...

The "as far as I know" bit is why I refer all plagiarism cases up the food chain.  My institution explicitly lays out that grade penalties and academic referral are two different (but not mutually exclusive) options.  If your syllabus states that you will fail the student on that assignment than do that, but also write the referral so that the student can be slapped on the wrist and it will be on file.

Personally, my syllabi specify that a failing grade will be awarded for the assignment and the course, so if anything I'd have the opposite concern in this case (but would fail her anyway).  A student would have to be really out of touch to risk her entire grade for a 2% assignment!

I've had two big ones this term.  One person was, it seems, paying someone else to do her work; that someone else fed her an essay available for purchase on the internet, and she turned it in.  Her main response to me: "I can't believe he would do that to me!"  She has failed the course for that one. 

The second copied 75% of his essay from Wikipedia.  It then works out that prior to submitting it he had already been caught twice in another class -- so in addition to failing my course he is getting his sorry a$$ suspended by the dean.

I take pride...

Quote from: qrypt on December 11, 2008,  4:40:53 pm

The second copied 75% of his essay from Wikipedia. 

well, a good friend who teaches at a SLAC just had this happened, but it got better. The student copied 100% of the assay from Wikipedia and when caught simply said that she actually wrote the Wikipedia article. My friend, who thinks she's pretty net savy, actually tracked down when the wikepedia article was written, and found out that it was sometime after the assignment was announced but weeks before it was due. So she could not really prove that the student wasn't the original writer!


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