Monday, February 15, 2010

Hmm ...

... Are you at risk of plagiarism? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

You could be expelled for plagiarism at the college I attended, but the accusation had to include a precise reference to the text that had been filched. Nor is plagiarism merely cheating. It is theft.

1 comment:

  1. The problem of plagiarism and cheating (not necessarily synonymous activities) is a challenging epidemic on the campus where I teach. Yes, the problem has probably always existed on campuses, but I see several exacerbating factors: (1) the Internet (an environment in which plagiarism is viral); (2) 21st century electronic devices (because of which no one can be absolutely quarantined from opportunities for cheating and plagiarism in the real-time environment of the classroom); (3) the shifting sands of ethics (which means that higher personal ethical standards of the past have been replaced by Machiavellian, egocentric attitudes towards society. As for my response to the challenge of the problem, I do my best to thwart cheating and detect plagiarism, and I have failed culpable students (though, because of due process considerations too generously favoring students in the current university business-model wherein the customer is almost always right, it is nearly impossible to remove such students from the campus). So, I have become a pragmatic realist: cheating and plagiarism will happen in my classes, and I might stop some of it, but most of it will happen under my radar. It is a cynical approach, but I do the best that I can while I know that my best will not be good enough (in the face of the exacerbating factors outlined above).