No, the Times article didn't note any stats re. any actual increase in plagiarism; but it was on the mark re. how we seem to be viewing student attitudes. And Bob, your "if we don't teach them, who will," reflects the old, old 2005 quote from an advocate of anthropological participation in the "Human Terrain Systems" program: ...... paraphrased, "if we don't participate, there will be participation by the kinds of people who make us want to tear our hair out...." (Anna Simons, in an NPR interview). I'm wondering if "HTS" is in any way analogous to honesty in written scholarship. To most of us it's a "duh" matter, but my cerebral jury is dealing with blown circuitry on such issues at the moment, and is "out."....:-)
There has "always" been a chasm between the few truly inspired, honest, enthusiastic students and the vast majority whose goal is the credits and the sheepskin (now electronic). I let the classes know up front that I will NOTICE identical wording on written assignments.... and then I receive identical wording on written assignments. So the attitude as we've been discussing it is definitely real. They've been forewarned, and are penalized one way or another. Post mortems (mortii?) are difficult when such things happen on a final exam.
The identical short-answer section on the July final was a simple one-page section worth 20 percent. It was easy to spot identical wording, and the students supposedly knew it. I was heartened to notice that not all the "honest" students were registering "good grades" -- a detail that suggests to me that there were honest efforts falling short. (Normalcy). The genuine "A" grades appear to have gone to deserving individuals. An alternative to preparing different written assignments each time might be absolute openness about the identical test page, and frank reminders that identical wording will be severely penalized. It's easy to spot. For those who still choose to ignore it, tough.
A colleague tells me I work too hard on this, but with this SACC-L exchange I see I'm in good company. With no access to good research materials and facilities, no computer access, and draconian copyright laws making handouts a big project, I sort of laughingly present the two course texts (one's a reader) as their mini-practice-library. Clearly I am yet another source of some of the student cynicism.
Meanwhile, maybe all we can do is keep doing what we are doing and wait for some clear and obvious change in the gigantic culture of scholarly integrity that has held the knowledge biz together (incl. baling wire, duct tape) since the ....uh..."Enlightenment." I can't imagine how a change away from scholarly honesty can be for the better, but then we come back to the fact that it's still a very few who excel.
We lack statistics to back up our handwringing, unpleasant as it seems.
Re: Plagiarism (Again)-Some students simply don'tcomprehend....
Posted by: "mep1mep" mep1mep@...
Date: Thu Aug 5, 2010 1:03 pm ((PDT))
A careful reading of the article doesn't really argue for an increase in
plagiarism just a different cultural context by which students make citation
decisions. The problem seems to be that a number of students do get the message
about plagiarism--note the student who says just that as the end of the piece.Â
I suspect that some students do know appropriate citation standards, some don't,
and some use ignorance as an excuse when they are caught.Â I worry that the
latter category are likely to increase if we become too "understanding" of this
message of "things are different now".
I know that our English Comp teachers are struggling at my school.Â So much time
is spent in High School preparing them for standardized tests, they don't learn
the research paper process as they formerly did.Â Our Comp teachers have had to
break down paper-writing into stages to get them more comfortable with the
process.Â Each of them that I know has one full lecture on plagiarism.Â I have
worked with some of them at our Dual Credit workshops and we prepare those
students with plagiarism presentations.Â I, always, try to support their efforts
by arguing for smaller class sizes for Comp if the issue ever arises.Â I am
willing to teach more students in my classes if I know they are getting good
English prep.Â More and more, though, administrators don't seek faculty input.Â
Ours are particularly bad at seeking linkages with us and it is much to the
deteriment of students.
As our school gets bigger and bigger, I find that its harder to teach students
when I can't tell what they are getting in other classes.Â I know that one of
our Sociology Profs tells students that she "doesn't believe in evolution".Â Its
a problem when the responsibility for teaching them falls dispportionately on
one Profs back.Â In the past, teaching was far easier when I felt more part of a
coherent team each shouldering certain responsibilities.Â Maybe just my
From: Bob Muckle <bmuckle@...
Sent: Thu, August 5, 2010 2:17:04 PM
Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Re: Plagiarism (Again)-Some students simply
If we don't teach them, who will?
>>> Deborah Shepherd <deborah.shepherd@...> 08/05/10 11:36
I find that it is no longer possible to assign term papers, and I do
change up my essay questions on tests every year.
I think part of the problem is that K-12 teachers no longer have the
time allotted in their curriculum to teach the early stages of research,
assimilation of ideas, and original writing. By the time the student
gets to college, the whole concept is way too intimidating for some of
them. They will spend more time and even money attempting to cheat than
make the effort to do their own work because they are afraid of
attempting the process. Perhaps they are even convinced by this time
that they can't do it.
] On Behalf Of Kent
Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2010 12:42 PM
Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Re: Plagiarism (Again)-Some students simply don't
I've also wondered if any of my quizzes/midterm/final exams are part of
"student body files"...
This past summer school session, I had five or six term papers (out of
submitted that were for the most part copied, and without any
usually like to give a student another chance to do something the right
instead of awarding a lower grade, but even after given this chance,
of them still submitted more or less the same term paper previously
Thank you for all your thoughts...
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