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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: December ::
Re: Plagiarism
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1270  Wednesday, 9 December 1998.

[1]     From:   Tiffany Rasovic <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 08 Dec 1998 09:25:11 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1253  Re: Plagiarism

[2]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 08 Dec 1998 08:39:02 -0800
        Subj:   SHK 9.1253  Re: Plagiarism

[3]     From:   Michael Friedman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 08 Dec 1998 12:05:38 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1253  Re: Plagiarism

[4]     From:   Peter Hillyar-Russ <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 8 Dec 1998 17:40:34 -0000
        Subj:   RE: Plagiarism

[5]     From:   Karen E Peterson-Kranz <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 9 Dec 1998 10:59:29 +1000 (GMT+1000)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1242  Re: Plagiarism


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tiffany Rasovic <
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Date:           Tuesday, 08 Dec 1998 09:25:11 -0500
Subject: 9.1253  Re: Plagiarism
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1253  Re: Plagiarism

Heard on the Boston news this morning, 12/8/98: Boston University's law
suit against several purveyors of internet term papers was thrown out of
court...the grounds were not explicitly described, but I imagine that
this means that business has one set of rules and academia another.
They also mentioned that only one student had been found "guilty" of
using an on-line paper for a BU class.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Tuesday, 08 Dec 1998 08:39:02 -0800
Subject: Re: Plagiarism
Comment:        SHK 9.1253  Re: Plagiarism

> Most of what gets plagiarized is general ideas.  And the most common
> source of plagiarism still is the old stand-by Cliff's Notes.  (I met
> Cliff Hillegas at a conference once and told him what I thought of him.
> It wasn't pretty!)

He probably cried all the way to the bank.

In a previous (and much unhappier) life I was a bookseller.  I shall
never forget the student who came in and asked, "Do you have MACBETH by
Cliff Snotes?"

Cheers,
Mike Jensen

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 08 Dec 1998 12:05:38 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 9.1253  Re: Plagiarism
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1253  Re: Plagiarism

After reading some of the recent postings on plagiarism, I thought I
would share my own experience from this semester.  In response to some
discussion questions on Julius Caesar, one of my students turned in her
assignment, but the writing style differed markedly from her previous
work, and the responses didn't really answer the questions.  So, I
turned to the first place I look in such instances, Cliff's Notes, and
sure enough, the assignment matched that source word-for-word.

When I later confronted the student with the evidence, she swore
vehemently that she had never seen the Cliff's Notes.  To excuse
herself, she insisted, "I downloaded it all from the Internet!"

        Michael Friedman
        University of Scranton

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Hillyar-Russ <
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Date:           Tuesday, 8 Dec 1998 17:40:34 -0000
Subject:        RE: Plagiarism

My father told me that when he was at an English "Public" school in the
1930's the teachers worked on the principle that "To copy from one book
was plagiarism and merited a beating, to copy from two was research and
merited a beta. You had to add your own ideas to get an alpha."

Peter Hillyar-Russ

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[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen E Peterson-Kranz <
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Date:           Wednesday, 9 Dec 1998 10:59:29 +1000 (GMT+1000)
Subject: 9.1242  Re: Plagiarism
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1242  Re: Plagiarism

Thanks to Gabriel Egan for sharing his "Racism in Othello" purchased
paper.  No, I would certainly not give it above a "C".  Nevertheless, I
am disturbed...my own personal anti-plagiarism antenna would not have
been raised by that paper simply because it was so very bad.  It really
did read like a typical, clumsy, unthoughtful student paper.  Usually, I
can spot plagiarized work easily simply because it is suspiciously
good.  Do you think the electronic purveyors of such papers have figured
this out, and are intentionally making the work they have available more
realistically "student-like"?  While I wouldn't give the Othello paper
more than a C, I know some faculty members who would give it an "A"
simply because the spelling was OK and it was more or less grammatical.

Perhaps I am just becoming over-paranoid.

One person asked teachers what percentage of papers they suspect are
plagiarized. My answer: a lot.  With my students, however, I suspect
that many of them plagiarize from ignorance rather than from larcenous
intent.  A great number of them, especially freshman, simply don't
understand the difference between paraphrasing some source and copying
it. There are those who, obviously, turn something in which is a
conscious attempt to cheat: these are pretty easily spotted because they
are: a) papers done by past students of mine, who don't know that I
change the assignments every year; b) papers that are printed out of
someone's CD-ROM encyclopedia...sometimes the student doesn't even
bother to remove the copyright mark at the bottom; c) odd mixtures of
incomprehensible student writing and brilliant, unattributed,
plagiarized material which quite often I can identify from style or
content.

Beyond using drafts, distinctive assignments, and the other ideas that
have been contributed to the list, here's one more:

For every single course I teach, I require the students to write a one
page, in-class essay on the first day of the course.  I tell them this
is to help me get to know them and their writing better.  And it is.
But it is mostly for my reference.  I keep these essays until the end of
the term, and if I get any suspicious work, I compare it with the
in-class product.    When I confront students, I call them in, hold up
their first in-class effort, and say "This is what you wrote on the
first day of class."  Meaningful silence.  "And this is what you turned
in last week." More meaningful silence.  So far, they have always
confessed on the spot and begged forgiveness.

For what it's worth...

Karen Peterson-Kranz
University of Guam
 

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