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« Explaining things | Main | What happened with plagiarism in my class »

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anna

Funny you should have this experience as I'm having something similar going on in my class. I *suspect* a student of plagiarism, but I haven't been able to confirm it. I have a feeling s/he lifted an analysis of a certain poem from a book in the library. I have *no* idea how to address this problem. Any suggestions?

Jo

In one class, where I suspected the students were all lifting papers about Brave New World off the internet, I got a copy of the school's procedures for expelling someone for plagiarism. We went through them very slowly, and I offered amnesty in the form of merely missing the one grade, and then, lo and behold, at the end of class I had about 5-6 students come up to the desk, heads hung low.

badgerbag

What if I offer her the chance to do the paper over... maybe on a topic I choose? HOW ABOUT ON PLAGIARISM, for example.

I feel like at this point what I'm supposed to do is bust her for plagiarism. The more I look, the less I can write it off to "just stitched things together". Oh... crap... I should just spend the 19.99 and see if it's there - I think it is.

Extra bummer becasue I filled out her scholarship form and praised her hard work and also just filled out another form for her in which I said she was doing well, getting an a or a b. AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGH.

Anna for yours, yeah it's hard to bust taht person without doing a potentially large amount of detective work. Is there an obvious source they logically should have put on their bibliography and it's not there? If so ... maybe that is their "secret source".

Jo I like your idea of going over the policy in class (again).

There is one guy I strongly suspect of being about to turn in a paper that he wrote for some other class, a slightly less heinous offense but I could see him wavering as he considered it and lied to me a little during our discussion of topics.

badgerbag

I become increasingly pissed off as I think of the time I spent on grading and improving her paper and then the extra hours I just spent tracking down the plagiarism. Now I'm jaded and if this happens again I'll just throw the paper back at them and refuse to grade it.

anna

That's a sucky feeling, knowing that you spent so much time on a student that didn't spend all that much time on that paper that just took up 2 or so hours of your life. I had the same feeling as I pored over JSTOR articles looking for snippets of my student's essay. NO MORE! I just put a little "see me" note, and I'm going to ask very delicately if s/he forgot to quote a source, as you suggested. Sorry you're so frustrated and/or pissed off. I am too. I've found burritos from Chipotle help one get over wayward students' behavior. :-)

Lisa Hirsch

Ach, yuck, horrible situation. I'm sorry.

I ran into this once when I was a TA. A student who had barely come to class and had not done well on tests or assignments turned in a very polished analysis of something. I talked with my supervisor and looked around the library to see if I could run down the source. I could not. However, since he was on the verge of flunking anyway, I had a talk with the kid and gave him a D or E.

Mary Tsao

Judging from some of the search terms with which people find my blog, I think the internet is the Encyclopedia Britannica of this era. Although last time I "wrote" an essay from the encyclopedia, I was in 3rd grade. Sorry you've got to deal with this and with college students who are adults and are capable of more.

severin

anna as for finding plagiarism: Pick out some key phrases from the paper and google em. I've had good success with this approach for finding folks who've used code that I wrote.

badgerbag - bummer, but i'm with you - you need to somehow call her on this violation of ethics.

badgerbag

There was one more very obvious example. And now I think back to that one class where she turned in a paper that needed no correction. I figured she just got a really good proofreading and she's fairly meticulous. No... I bet that one was fake. DAMMIT.

JM

I can run anything you want through TurnItIn.com. Just send a file. I'm surprised you weren't required to have official department-sanctioned language on your syllabus re: plagiarism. In that case, what you do is clear (meaning, you don't have to fret over it b/c the policy is there).


JM

To clarify (because I am not a dumbass), I mean drop some text into a file and send it along -- I know you get these via hard copy.

Mark

I wonder if this time of year is sort of the season for undergrad plagiarism, as students see the end of the semester looming and seek short cuts.

badgerbag

you see though from my entry above - It was not my 2 students being plagiarists at all and my initial reaction was horribly wrong (and thankfully private)

And really what was going on was my failure to see what students did and didn't understand...I kept not getting it that their anxiety and questions about citations were not cleared up at all despite what I said in class!

A real mismatch of expectations, culture, knowledge, where if I had acted like a hard-ass I never would have known or seen my own mistake!

WhatLadder

A colleague just caught someone who plagiarised in an exam by either memorising an essay from the internet, or sneaking in an exam booklet that had a essay copied from the internet in it. What boggles my mind is the amount of effort and planning that must have taken. Possibly even more effort than writing your own essay?

As far as dealing with suspicions is concerned, I find asking students to explain the meaning of a suspicious sentence is often an effective tactic.

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