April 26, 2001

Plagiarism

I was originally intending to write about something else, and then I saw my friend Debbie Ohi's Blatherings entry today on Internet stealing as well as Yen Shinkasen's journal entry describing someone else who ":borrowed" her entire site's hand-coded design. Since I've had three cases of obvious plagiarism this semester (one stealing from an on-line source), it touched a nerve.


My interim chair, Jim Dickinson, has suggested that perhaps the Napster movement has made stealing a part of popular culture. I certainly intend to do more to educate my students, but I'm sure there has been plenty of cheating in the past. As I explain to my students, one needs to be wary about implicit myths of a golden age.


For the record, identifying student plagiarism is fairly easy: Usually the voice does not sound right. In about 80-90% of the cases, I can find the source within an hour or two. When I suspect plagiarism, I always get this awful pit-in-my-stomach feeling, and I hate the time my tracking sources down takes from the time I spend with other students, on my own research and writing, or my family.

Posted by sdorn at April 26, 2001 01:19 PM | TrackBack
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