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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Re: Plagiarism and Update
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0964  Monday, 8 April 2002

[1]     From:   Mari Bonomi <
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        Date:   Friday, 5 Apr 2002 11:34:32 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0957 Re: Plagiarism and Update

[2]     From:   Jack Heller <
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        Date:   Friday, 05 Apr 2002 17:39:46 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0957 Re: Plagiarism and Update

[3]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Friday, 5 Apr 2002 12:11:42 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0957 Re: Plagiarism and Update


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mari Bonomi <
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Date:           Friday, 5 Apr 2002 11:34:32 -0500
Subject: 13.0957 Re: Plagiarism and Update
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0957 Re: Plagiarism and Update

Having just learned that I will likely be back in an English (not
technology) classroom next year, I'm especially puzzled/troubled by this
discussion.

Are you gentlemen suggesting that if I see in a student's paper
phrasings and even interpretations that seem out of character with the
student's other writings, I dare not ask the student to show me his/her
working notes and drafts, dare not say that I'm troubled by the
student's work not seeming to be congruous with his/her other work, etc?

If that is so, if an instructor/teacher/professor cannot express concern
and doubt to a student and ask that student to demonstrate that the work
is indeed his/hers, then we are condemned to accept as original anything
that we cannot trace on Google or in our personal library of Cliff's
Notes.  (And I gave mine away when I thought I was free forever from the
tenth-grade middle ability students that I'm likely to be seeing again
this year.)

I have asked students to rewrite, in some cases asked them to rewrite
*in front of me* and given them sufficient time to do so.   I shudder at
the thought of being powerless to stop the cleverer plagiarizer.

Oh, I should say that our Student Handbook has an extensive section on
plagiarism, including the Board of Education policy thereon, and that
teachers in all departments review that policy when making assignments.
And I'll post it directly on my own website as well next September.

Mari Bonomi, looking ahead apprehensively at 50 student essays on Romeo
& Juliet....

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Heller <
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Date:           Friday, 05 Apr 2002 17:39:46 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: 13.0957 Re: Plagiarism and Update
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0957 Re: Plagiarism and Update

I'm assuming, in this discussion on plagiarism, that there might be
varieties of proof. I have had the following passage in an essay one
semester, typed exactly as it appears:

The practice of punishing criminals with death. (Capital punishment)
also making many people uncomfortable, judging from the number of
linguistic evasions for it both in the United States, where the electric
chair may be humorously down played as a hot seat, and in other
countries, such as France, where the condemned are introduced to Madame
la quilting, meanwhile the so-called victimless crime of prostitution
has inspired an inordinate number of euphemisms with some 70 listed in
this book under prostitute.

I called this plagiarism without finding the book referred to in the
last line.  Had my accusation been pursued further, I would have asked
her what "Madame la quilting" means. But it was not pursued further
because the student knew she had inadvertently given herself away. Would
this be sufficient proof?

On another point, a crafty but dishonest person would generally do
better plagiarizing from a book. I find Internet cases all the time
using a simple search on Google.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Friday, 5 Apr 2002 12:11:42 -0600
Subject: 13.0957 Re: Plagiarism and Update
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0957 Re: Plagiarism and Update

Edmund Taft commenting on my anti-plagiarism comment, says,

> In fact, if Don were here and demanded that a
> student redo a paper, that demand would constitute an indirect charge of
> plagiarism. If the student and the university decided to sue, Don would
> be in debt for life and lose his ability to pay it off too because he
> would be summarily fired for having falsely charged a tuition-paying
> student with a crime that he could not prove the student committed.
>
> Don apparently approves of such a policy; I do not.

I'm not sure what policy Ed thinks I approve of, but my suspicion is
that I don't at all.

On the previous point, it is evident that the lawyers have been at work
here persuading some judge or jury that a refusal to accept a paper is
an implicit charge of plagiarism. Working in such a system, I would of
course not try to use that method, but would go back to the tried and
true way: you make them hand in a proposed topic, a working
bibliography, a revised topic, note cards, a first draft, a final draft
and the finished paper -- all at once or in appropriate sequence. The
students hate this, and so do I, but it does cut down on plagiarism.

Cheers,
don

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