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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Re: Plagiarism and Update
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0986  Tuesday, 9 April 2002

[1]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Monday, 08 Apr 2002 12:19:06 -0400
        Subj:   Plagiarism and Update

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Monday, 08 Apr 2002 14:34:32 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0964 Re: Plagiarism and Update

[3]     From:   Seija Sinikki <
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        Date:   Monday, 08 Apr 2002 12:22:22 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0964 Re: Plagiarism and Update


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Monday, 08 Apr 2002 12:19:06 -0400
Subject:        Plagiarism and Update

Mari writes,

"[I]f 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."

That's basically right, Mari, and Don provides the reason why:

"[I]t 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."

What's happened, as I understand it, is that the burden of proof has
shifted from the student to the professor, and for two reasons: (1) the
lawyers for students and the administration see things this way, and (2)
they see things this way because the students are the consumers and,
hence, are the parties to be protected.

If -- much virtue in "if" -- the instructor can get the student to
confess or admit to wrong doing, then all is well. But if the student is
obdurate, then the instructor must produce absolute, final, definitive
proof.  If not, his or her behind is in a sling.

If things don't work this way yet where Don and Mari teach, just wait a
bit: it's coming!

As an aside, what's also coming down the pike is the necessity for a
rubric for every piece of graded work.  The rubric must be used to grade
the piece of writing, and it must cover EVERY contingency so that all
questions of form and/or content can be refereed by reference to it. [!]

--Ed

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Monday, 08 Apr 2002 14:34:32 -0400
Subject: 13.0964 Re: Plagiarism and Update
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0964 Re: Plagiarism and Update

The problem is that notions of due process, adequacy of proof and
procedural fairness have invaded the halls of academe.  In the good old
days schools were permitted a larger scope of arbitrariness than they
have now.  When the courts feel free to revise grades it is hardly
surprising that they will review disciplinary decisions.  Therefore, a
teacher runs a real risk of professional and financial ruin if she
rejects a paper for plagiarism but cannot prove it.

I have no ready solution, as once the legislatures and courts assume
oversight power it is nearly impossible to get them to yield it back.
Perhaps schools could make it a condition of matriculation that the
students agree to submit any dispute with the school or its faculty to
arbitration before an arbitrator selected from a panel approved by the
head of the school.  This probably is not possible for public schools.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Seija Sinikki <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 08 Apr 2002 12:22:22 -0800
Subject: 13.0964 Re: Plagiarism and Update
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0964 Re: Plagiarism and Update

>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

When I was a student, the professors using this method were my
favorites. For they taught me to write good papers. I appreciated the
time they took to comment and re-comment on my drafts. I always thought
their goal was to help us to compose research papers. How innocent I
was! Nevertheless, I continue to believe in the purity of their motives.

Cheers,
Seija

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