NYT: Dumb students spoiled by Internet don’t know what plagiarism is

posted at 8:33 pm on August 2, 2010 by Allahpundit

Really? Students are now so dumb that they can’t make the logical leap from “copying off your friend’s test is wrong” to “copying off Wikipedia is wrong”?

Isn’t this one of those stories that everyone secretly wants to believe is true because it “proves” that things were better in our day, that society’s going to hell in a handbasket, etc etc etc? It’s five minutes of generational ego trip. Toss in some philosophical navel-gazing about how the wild and woolly Internet is Changing Us and you’ve got tasty red meat cooked medium rare.

Professors used to deal with plagiarism by admonishing students to give credit to others and to follow the style guide for citations, and pretty much left it at that.

But these cases — typical ones, according to writing tutors and officials responsible for discipline at the three schools who described the plagiarism — suggest that many students simply do not grasp that using words they did not write is a serious misdeed.

It is a disconnect that is growing in the Internet age as concepts of intellectual property, copyright and originality are under assault in the unbridled exchange of online information, say educators who study plagiarism…

Sarah Brookover, a senior at the Rutgers campus in Camden, N.J., said many of her classmates blithely cut and paste without attribution.

“This generation has always existed in a world where media and intellectual property don’t have the same gravity,” said Ms. Brookover, who at 31 is older than most undergraduates. “When you’re sitting at your computer, it’s the same machine you’ve downloaded music with, possibly illegally, the same machine you streamed videos for free that showed on HBO last night.”

Emphasis on illegally. As Jonathan Adler notes, the “mash-up culture” is usually forthright about attribution, and there’s surely been enough media coverage of piracy of various types (music, pornography) that most young adults realize that stuff downloaded surreptitiously in torrent form isn’t exactly legal to download in the first place. In fact, the “I didn’t know plagiarism was wrong” excuse sounds suspiciously like something you’d say to a teacher who’s caught you red-handed in order to make your crime look like one of ignorance, not malfeasance. The real reason this is happening, like Adler says, is surely a combo of (a) copy/paste making plagiarism easier than ever for lazy students and (b) poorer instruction in American high schools on how to write effectively. Which, per the latter, means this story ends up being a generational ego trip after all. Hooray! Exit question: Am I right, teachers? C’mon. I’m right.

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Students really should be carefuly before they plagiarize. They’ll never become President like that.

Vice President, yes, but not President.

malclave on August 2, 2010 at 8:36 PM

Logical defense to copying off Wikipedia: they have to prove you didn’t write the Wikipedia article. Hey-o.

Seriously, kids are getting dumber. Hooray for Government Education!

Red Cloud on August 2, 2010 at 8:36 PM

Isn’t this one of those stories that everyone secretly wants to believe is true because it “proves” that things were better in our day, that society’s going to hell in a handbasket, etc etc etc?

Yes.

Patrick Ishmael on August 2, 2010 at 8:37 PM

Yet only corporations are unethical ./

Luckily technology brings new weapons.

CWforFreedom on August 2, 2010 at 8:38 PM

Students really should be carefuly before they plagiarize. They’ll never become President like that.

Vice President, yes, but not President.

malclave on August 2, 2010 at 8:36 PM

Well… actually they think Obama didn’t write his books either and he did steal that speach from Deval Patrick IIRC.

So there even that hope for them!

sharrukin on August 2, 2010 at 8:39 PM

My mother was the managing editor of a senior level-junior, senior, and masters-university newspaper when I was in junior high and high school. Not only did I know what plagiarism was I also knew that if I did it there would be severe consequences both at school and at home.
My son also knows what’s ‘up’.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 2, 2010 at 8:39 PM

Actually my kids, whom go to a very good public school, have been taught about plagiarism at home and at school. They also know that teachers use technology to battle it.

CWforFreedom on August 2, 2010 at 8:40 PM

Yes.

Patrick Ishmael on August 2, 2010 at 8:37 PM

ditto…
a good typewriter and liquid paper, making sure your citations were spot on at the bottom of the page…

ah, the good old days…

cmsinaz on August 2, 2010 at 8:41 PM

Here’s the deal.

In the 50s and 60s, some people wrote down test answers on their hand

In the 80s and 90s, some people stole a test from teacher’s office and mad copies of it at kinkos, or put it in the filing cabinet at the fraternity

In the 00s and 10s, no one does those anymore; cut-and-paste is merely the modern version of ‘answers-on-the-hand’ or ‘rummaging-through-the-dumpster’

Everyone breathe out…. no biggie. FInding cheaters in this day is easy… use an online service, or even google certain phrases, and your kids can get caught immediately…

picklesgap on August 2, 2010 at 8:43 PM

Well… actually they think Obama didn’t write his books either and he did steal that speach from Deval Patrick IIRC.

sharrukin on August 2, 2010 at 8:39 PM

They did compare at least two of his books for grammar and word usage and they were not written by the same person. At least not by the same sane person.

CWforFreedom on August 2, 2010 at 8:43 PM

“Today, I am going to give you two examinations, one in trigonometry and one in honesty. I hope you will pass them both, but if you must fail one, let it be trigonometry, for there are many good people in this world today who cannot pass an examination in trigonometry, but there are no good people in the world who cannot pass an examination in honesty.”

~ Madison Sarrat, (1891-1978) Dean, Vanderbilt University

Jacob Hammond on August 2, 2010 at 8:43 PM

Isn’t this one of those stories that everyone secretly wants to believe is true we read 24 hours ago? A boring old rehash of already uninteresting news? I s this really the best that you can do?

azkenreid on August 2, 2010 at 8:44 PM

(b) poorer instruction in American high schools on how to write effectively. Which, per the latter, means this story ends up being a generational ego trip after all. Hooray! Exit question: Am I right, teachers? C’mon. I’m right.

Most definitely right.

A friend is a college prof in Texas (she’s conservative and teaches government/political science) and she told me a student handed in a final test essay replete with “LOLs” and “OMGs”.

Guess what? FAIL.

tru2tx on August 2, 2010 at 8:44 PM

Need to remember to only copy/paste from a conservative site. Most teachers will never check. Just make sure it isn’t a quote from Sarah…Refudiate!

Electrongod on August 2, 2010 at 8:45 PM

They did compare at least two of his books for grammar and word usage and they were not written by the same person. At least not by the same sane person.

CWforFreedom on August 2, 2010 at 8:43 PM

Didn’t the terrorist guy Ayers write a book with phrases like those found in ‘Obama’s’ book?

sharrukin on August 2, 2010 at 8:45 PM

a student handed in a final test essay replete with “LOLs” and “OMGs”.

Guess what? FAIL.

tru2tx on August 2, 2010 at 8:44 PM

seriously?

holy cow…

cmsinaz on August 2, 2010 at 8:45 PM

Really? Students are now so dumb that they can’t make the logical leap from “copying off your friend’s test is wrong” to “copying off Wikipedia is wrong”?

YYZ on August 2, 2010 at 8:46 PM

Hold on, this is the Jayson Blair Times, chastising students for plagiarism?

LOL!

Dr Evil on August 2, 2010 at 8:46 PM

I don’t understand this mentality, it’s ultimately detrimental to you in the long run. What happens when you have to write a 4 page paper for your job?

I fortunately had instructors who utilized online plagiarism checks, such as Turn It In.com . It automatically detects material either previous submitted to the site or published online at a prior date. I don’t know why more Colleges employ it.

Cr4sh Dummy on August 2, 2010 at 8:46 PM

Everyone breathe out…. no biggie. FInding cheaters in this day is easy… use an online service, or even google certain phrases, and your kids can get caught immediately…

picklesgap on August 2, 2010 at 8:43 PM

There is little doubt in my mind that it is worse today.

http://www.commonsensemedia.org/hi-tech-cheating

Also:

80% of the country’s best students cheated to get to the top of their class.
More than half the students surveyed said that they don’t think cheating is a big deal.
95% of cheaters say they were not caught.
40% cheated on a quiz or a test
67% copied someone else’s homework

http://www.glass-castle.com/clients/www-nocheating-org/adcouncil/research/cheatingbackgrounder.html

CWforFreedom on August 2, 2010 at 8:47 PM

From the paper that doesn`t know that treason is wrong.

ThePrez on August 2, 2010 at 8:47 PM

seriously?

holy cow…

cmsinaz on August 2, 2010 at 8:45 PM

Mike Judge was a prophet…

tetriskid on August 2, 2010 at 8:48 PM

All I can add is that academic dishonesty was the one and only reason students could be — and some were — expelled from every university I ever attended. I don’t think that condition has changed, either, not among reputable, accredited universities.

It just might be that instructors have become far more lax in applying and enforcing academic honesty.

Public education, such a large pool of fail.

Lourdes on August 2, 2010 at 8:48 PM

I remember taking a required Biology 101 course in college, there were over 600 students in an auditorium with large screens to see the class material hanging down from the ceiling every dozen rows or so.

The course was supposedly taught by a professor, but it was a handful of TA’s who did all the work and I never once even saw the actual professor. Not once. You think that guy checked citations on the papers of 600 students? Yah, right.

Bishop on August 2, 2010 at 8:48 PM

Didn’t the terrorist guy Ayers write a book with phrases like those found in ‘Obama’s’ book?

sharrukin on August 2, 2010 at 8:45 Pm

I think that is correct.

CWforFreedom on August 2, 2010 at 8:49 PM

If only the crazed sex poodle hadn’t invented the internet.

txag92 on August 2, 2010 at 8:49 PM

Non-attribution aside, I think that the charge of plagiarism, like many others thing, is being overplayed.

Plagiarism in the work-force, where the main purpose is to gain profit, is clearly wrong. However, a student copying someone else’s work seems less so, if the purpose is to gain knowledge. After all, isn’t that why we go to school – to learn from those who have paved the way?

OldEnglish on August 2, 2010 at 8:50 PM

. You think that guy checked citations on the papers of 600 students? Yah, right.

Bishop on August 2, 2010 at 8:48 PM

So is there an admission in there somewhere?

CWforFreedom on August 2, 2010 at 8:50 PM

Nothing makes a fried hippie professor angrier than when a student submits the same thesis paper he mail-ordered back when he was in college.

viking01 on August 2, 2010 at 8:50 PM

seriously?

holy cow…

cmsinaz on August 2, 2010 at 8:45 PM

seriously….

it’s actually something I wouldn’t, no, couldn’t, even think of to make up!

The future leaders of tomorrow…. ack.

tru2tx on August 2, 2010 at 8:51 PM

Like Obama would know rivers run back during high tides. He would have told the kid “I did that, I’ll do it again if you meet me here tomorrow, bring some weed”.

KZnextzone on August 2, 2010 at 8:51 PM

Also:

80% of the country’s best students cheated to get to the top of their class.
More than half the students surveyed said that they don’t think cheating is a big deal.
95% of cheaters say they were not caught.
40% cheated on a quiz or a test
67% copied someone else’s homework

http://www.glass-castle.com/clients/www-nocheating-org/adcouncil/research/cheatingbackgrounder.html

CWforFreedom on August 2, 2010 at 8:47 PM

I agree that it’s worse today than ever before…

All the “pre-test coaching” and “guidebooks” for exams that permeate our educational environments today are a lot of the reason why, too: students learn that it’s not a big deal to ‘just’ memorize or “copy and paste” “the answers” and having been “coached” about what would actually be ON the tests they take, the whole process of testing represents something other than learning, but represents, instead, how well one can manipulate information.

Thus, produced are a lot of students who learn well how to ‘sneak’ and not how to succeed or create based upon individual inquiry and achievement, but upon “performing well”.

Lourdes on August 2, 2010 at 8:51 PM

However, a student copying someone else’s work seems less so, if the purpose is to gain knowledge. After all, isn’t that why we go to school – to learn from those who have paved the way?

OldEnglish on August 2, 2010 at 8:50 PM

Wow you really need to expand on that. How does one gain knowledge by copying someone else’s work?

CWforFreedom on August 2, 2010 at 8:52 PM

A friend is a college prof in Texas (she’s conservative and teaches government/political science) and she told me a student handed in a final test essay replete with “LOLs” and “OMGs”.

Guess what? FAIL.

tru2tx on August 2, 2010 at 8:44 PM

I didn’t know that there are conservative professors at tu.

txag92 on August 2, 2010 at 8:52 PM

I remember taking a required Biology 101 course in college, there were over 600 students in an auditorium with large screens to see the class material hanging down from the ceiling every dozen rows or so.

The course was supposedly taught by a professor, but it was a handful of TA’s who did all the work and I never once even saw the actual professor. Not once. You think that guy checked citations on the papers of 600 students? Yah, right.

Bishop on August 2, 2010 at 8:48 PM

Yeah, my experience, too.

Lourdes on August 2, 2010 at 8:54 PM

An argument could also be made that today’s kids are smart enough to realize that straying outside the boundaries of acceptable groupthink is just a recipe for heart-ache. (Wow! 3 metaphors…one low, low price!) Consider for example, the lessons in most government/social studies/civics classes during the 2008 presidential election. Why come up with some original thought when that would only doom one to persecution and ridicule? Just sayin’…

cynccook on August 2, 2010 at 8:55 PM

I didn’t know that there are conservative professors at tu.

txag92 on August 2, 2010 at 8:52 PM

I bet she’s the only hot female prof there.

CWforFreedom on August 2, 2010 at 8:55 PM

So is there an admission in there somewhere?
CWforFreedom on August 2, 2010 at 8:50 PM

Yes, I will admit I paid a lot of money to get an education from an institution that made TA’s do all the work. To this day I have no idea what the professor looked like, I don’t even know what gender they were.

Students have always cheated, not all of them of course, but when a college makes 600 students take a class so they can fire them through as quickly as possible, any who wanted to cheat would have seen the ready opportunity.

Bishop on August 2, 2010 at 8:55 PM

Having taught, this is not far off. I caught plagiarism in both semesters from several students in each class. They honestly think you won’t notice.

Good Lt on August 2, 2010 at 8:57 PM

Ugh. I don’t know how many times that I’ve had to explain to people

1) No, Wikipedia is NOT a valid reference source, and

2) No, you can’t copy paste off the internet for your portion of our group lab report/paper/whatever. I’m not risking my grade because you’re too f**king lazy to write five paragraphs in your own hand.

And these people were grad students at a top science school. They knew better, and then they dared to make the catbutt face at me because I told them they should know better.

I’ve had more shouting matches with people over this than I’d care to admit.

DangerHighVoltage on August 2, 2010 at 8:59 PM

I didn’t know that there are conservative professors at tu.

txag92 on August 2, 2010 at 8:52 PM

Not there – much smaller school – Navarro College.

tru2tx on August 2, 2010 at 8:59 PM

This plagiarizing crap begins in elementary school when the youngsters prepare their “reports” on assorted topics. By the time these kids are in high school, the plagiarizing habit is entrenched. You cannot imagine the hours that it takes to prove that the work has been lifted verbatim from another source. Little time is left to prepare challenging lessons or correct tests or complete the Mickey Mouse forms for the administration.

onlineanalyst on August 2, 2010 at 9:01 PM

Students have always cheated
Bishop on August 2, 2010 at 8:55 PM

See my previous posts about polls that have been done. I know that it does not compare 50 years ago when you were in school ;)
to today but I have a hard time believing that things are not much worse today. I think changes in society, technology, and yes religious training have had some negative effects on kids and their views towards cheating.

CWforFreedom on August 2, 2010 at 9:01 PM

COLORADO GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE SCOTT MCINNIS WOULD FIT IN WITH THIS BUNCH PERFECTLY!!!

Oh wait, let’s just beat up on Tom Tancredo. I forgot.

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/24260453/detail.html

HDFOB on August 2, 2010 at 9:02 PM

I check my son’s work. I don’t stand over him while he works, but I check it when he’s done. I’ve just adopted a 15 year old foster child, and he will get the same treatmentm and although he failed a bit over his academic career, he will win.

FY, NYT:

FAIL!

Key West Reader on August 2, 2010 at 9:03 PM

CWforFreedom on August 2, 2010 at 8:52 PM

Just to clarify, I wasn’t referring to the copying of another student’s work, but that of acknowledged authors.

For example, If i were to copy, verbatim, the works of Shakespeare – and come to understand something of its meaning, then I have improved my knowledge.

However, I do concede that the simple act of copy and paste can occur without even reading one word of the copy.

It all comes down to my first statement:- plagiarism is being overplayed.

OldEnglish on August 2, 2010 at 9:03 PM

Oh trust me, the majority know it’s wrong. They just don’t care. It’s kind of like illegally downloading music.

Emily M. on August 2, 2010 at 9:04 PM

Next thing you know they will will be submitting book reports based off of reading Cliff Notes.

tommer74 on August 2, 2010 at 9:07 PM

The professors,the ‘liberal intelligentsia’ don’t practice honesty, why should their students.

GarandFan on August 2, 2010 at 9:07 PM

It is a disconnect that is growing in the Internet age as concepts of intellectual property, copyright and originality are under assault in the unbridled exchange of online information, say educators who study plagiarism…

It is too hard to teach people to be honest. Let them cheat. After all, maybe that is just another kind of learning. And maybe the people who want to cheat aren’t stupid or bad, they’re just differently inclined. They want to express themselves through cheating.

GTR640 on August 2, 2010 at 9:07 PM

Students have always cheated

Bishop on August 2, 2010 at 8:55 PM

You stole that idea from the 2000 B.C. Assyrian teacher whose cuneiform complaint about it is in a glass case somewhere!

profitsbeard on August 2, 2010 at 9:10 PM

Exit question: Am I right, teachers? C’mon. I’m right.
======================================================
Sounds like a brilliant theory to me,oh,and I just learn
ed to copy/paste since I joined Hot Air,and AP,stop laugh
ing!!:)

canopfor on August 2, 2010 at 9:11 PM

You stole this story from Ed.

29Victor on August 2, 2010 at 9:12 PM

The real reason this is happening, like Adler says, is surely a combo of (a) copy/paste making plagiarism easier than ever for lazy students

You mean like this?

repvoter on August 2, 2010 at 9:13 PM

Ahem,what about those Journolists,

jus sayin!!!

canopfor on August 2, 2010 at 9:13 PM

Many students today also cheat a lot on tests and assignments. It’s about immoral choices.

Since plagiarizing is just a variant of cheating, this is really not an earth shattering revelation.

The internet is an amazing tool that is easily misued. This is about the user of the tool, not the tool itself.

marybel on August 2, 2010 at 9:14 PM

For the children that are in my care:

They will not cheat

It is a matter of Principle.

They will not cheat
For if they do, the will risk their Reputation and their Integrity
Without Integrity
You have nothing.

Integrity is what you practice when nobody is looking.

To hell with Reputation…. Everyone has a reputation. Reputations are worthless. Integrity is strength.

Key West Reader on August 2, 2010 at 9:24 PM

OldEnglish on August 2, 2010 at 9:03 PM

I see but I think there is a great lesson in ensuring that they properly attribute parts of their papers.

CWforFreedom on August 2, 2010 at 9:25 PM

The internet is an amazing tool that is easily misued if Parents don’t lend their knowledge to the false and true idioms of the internet. Never underestimate parents.. This is about the user of the tool, not the tool itself. See above, you are correct.

marybel on August 2, 2010 at 9:14 PM

Best regards,

Key West Reader on August 2, 2010 at 9:27 PM

CWforFreedom on August 2, 2010 at 9:25 PM

Absolutely. And, as an afterthought, copying should only be used for fact – not opinion.

OldEnglish on August 2, 2010 at 9:31 PM

In college, I would always right my papers using the books written by the teachers of the course, (which you were required to purchase)…

… plenty of quotes, with references to said instructors in bold face.

There is just something about a teacher, seeing their work and name referenced as a “expert” on what ever paper you are working on that seemed to garner a favorable grade…

… Using Wikipedia as a credible source was their first mistake.

Seven Percent Solution on August 2, 2010 at 9:33 PM

I always wondered how does one plagiaries facts. If the x happened in x how can that be plagiarized. Words for word may cause problems but there is only so many different ways to say x and if two people say it the same way is that still plagiarizing.

When in collage I had to a write a topic that we had to look up articles to source and there where 5 in the class that had the same topic and all 5 picked the same article out of 15 or so that one could pick. Now that we all use the same source ones results would be very similar that is the very fuzzy line for plagiarizing.

Word for word is but interpretation of facts gets fuzzy on how much of those facts are facts and how much are not and should change.

tjexcite on August 2, 2010 at 9:36 PM

I remember in my early years of college, I got points off of my bibliography because I placed the year before the publisher, or vice versa.

Someone else had the right formatting, but it was entirely websites, including geocities websites, and got a perfect score.

The teacher didn’t appreciate my bringing that up to the dean.

MadisonConservative on August 2, 2010 at 9:41 PM

I’ll bet PBS hack and LBJ worshiper Doris Kearns Goodwin and Slow Joe Biden are wondering “what’s the big deal?”

viking01 on August 2, 2010 at 10:05 PM

Interesting colleges they cite in the article. I’m attending the University of Cincinnati right not; we’re not allowed to use wikipedia as a source, you can use it for research (check the links at the bottom of the article stub) and cite those.

We get pounded every class about not plagiarizing, I’m surprised these other schools don’t seem to.

jackal40 on August 2, 2010 at 10:13 PM

I always wondered how does one plagiaries facts. If the x happened in x how can that be plagiarized. Words for word may cause problems but there is only so many different ways to say x and if two people say it the same way is that still plagiarizing.

tjexcite on August 2, 2010 at 9:36 PM

If the fact is common knowledge (and not just among experts in the field, but among the general public), then there is no plagiarism issue. If the fact is not common knowledge, then the issue is giving credit to whoever first observed/ discovered/measured/proved that fact. The choice of words is not really the biggest issue, although you should use quotation marks if you are using the exact phrasing of someone else. The guiding rule is always to avoid taking credit for someone else’s work. It is also helpful to offer sources to give the reader further background.

For example:

“America entered WWII after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor” is common knowledge and need not be cited.

On the other hand,

“John Kerry personally killed and ate 300 Viet Cong during his time in Vietnam”

is not well-known at all. A source should be offered, both to give credit to whoever first documented this fact, and also to allow the reader to learn more should he or she be interested.

Of course, sometimes the line isn’t so black and white. Some might say that

“The September 11 attacks marked the first time in history that fire melted steel”

is common knowledge, however, I would argue that it’s only common knowledge among a relatively small group of experts. I would give a citation to Rosie O’Donnell, or at least mention her by name.

RINO in Name Only on August 2, 2010 at 10:38 PM

I would give a citation to Rosie O’Donnell, or at least mention her by name.

RINO in Name Only on August 2, 2010 at 10:38 PM

There’s no need to go that far, surely?

OldEnglish on August 2, 2010 at 11:06 PM

I have to attribute this to the poor state of our educational system and it’s been going on for a long time. 30 years ago I earned the enmity of my entire Freshman English college class. How did I do it? By including a footnote in a paper attributing a reference to certain symbolism in a poem we were analyzing to our textbook. When the professor returned our papers, I got an ‘A’ and everyone else in the class got an ‘F.’ Turns out I was the only person in the class to attribute the reference. She punished the rest of the class by making them redo the paper. She punished me by telling the rest of the class she had been planning to let it slide since everyone did it until she got to my paper and saw that I had been taught to attribute references and thus everyone in the class should have known to do it.

Rip Ford on August 2, 2010 at 11:10 PM

(b) poorer instruction in American high schools on how to write effectively. Which, per the latter, means this story ends up being a generational ego trip after all. Hooray! Exit question: Am I right, teachers? C’mon. I’m right.

Not so fast on that ego trip. Which generation is doing the teaching?

NukeRidingCowboy on August 3, 2010 at 12:14 AM

Word for word is but interpretation of facts gets fuzzy on how much of those facts are facts and how much are not and should change.

tjexcite on August 2, 2010 at 9:36 PM

If you’re referring to fixes data (mathematical proof, for example) that you lierally “reprint” or represent within your own work, then you ensure to reference the source, by author, publication name & location [Edition, Copyright, Page/s by number, etc.).

Lourdes on August 3, 2010 at 12:14 AM

Correction…

If you’re referring to fixed data

Lourdes on August 3, 2010 at 12:14 AM

typing with one hand, sorry

Lourdes on August 3, 2010 at 12:15 AM

Word for word is but interpretation of facts gets fuzzy on how much of those facts are facts and how much are not and should change.

tjexcite on August 2, 2010 at 9:36 PM

And, if you’re restating facys that you’ve learned or “acquired” from whomever/wherever, then you state your information with including specific reference to your source/s (again, by specifics I identified ^^).

The guiding principle is to never allow any reader to assume that the material you present is your work if it isn’t (“never take credit for anyone else’s work”).

Lourdes on August 3, 2010 at 12:22 AM

a student handed in a final test essay replete with “LOLs” and “OMGs”.

Guess what? FAIL.

tru2tx on August 2, 2010 at 8:44 PM

“Epic FAIL” would have been more ironic ;)

29Victor on August 3, 2010 at 12:53 AM

Non-attribution aside, I think that the charge of plagiarism, like many others thing, is being overplayed.

Plagiarism in the work-force, where the main purpose is to gain profit, is clearly wrong. However, a student copying someone else’s work seems less so, if the purpose is to gain knowledge. After all, isn’t that why we go to school – to learn from those who have paved the way?

OldEnglish on August 2, 2010 at 8:50 PM

You do not know something, until you can state it in your own words.

Slowburn on August 3, 2010 at 1:10 AM

Doesn’t “plagiarism” imply the use of someone else’s property? Since The Won’s goal is the elimination of private property and Government ownership of everything, aren’t these students simply availing themselves of Government-owned properties?

oldleprechaun on August 3, 2010 at 9:16 AM

I could actually see this being true for a small (but sadly growing) number of students.

There is such a total disrespect for intellectual property today – be it a research paper, electronic games, movies, etc. Add to that it is incredibly easy to steal same. Long and short is we are beginning to blur individual works into a collective ‘pool’ that anyone can take whenever they please. It’s not a little related to the state of our political system!

I call it the “wiki-everything syndrome”; honestly believing that everything is yours free for the taking.

Dark-Star on August 3, 2010 at 10:34 AM

My husband is a professor, and it’s amazing how many people copy and paste Wikipedia, even after he tells them explicitly not to use Wikipedia as their main source for their paper. He runs everything thru turnitin.com which tells you what percentage of the paper is not original. Sometimes a high level of un-originality is due to the writer quoting (and citing) a lot of people, but other times, it’s just plagiarism. The crazy thing is the number of students who argue back at him and/or take it up the chain of command to the dean. At Liberty, he can give the grade of FD, which means failure for academic dishonesty, which stays on the student’s transcripts permanently.

acleaver on August 3, 2010 at 11:17 AM

“…poorer instruction in American high schools on how to write effectively.”

Where did you get the idea that this is something that was taught in school at all, let alone effectively?

Write? You gotta know how to read first, and even that is getting short shrift.

Public schools have become places where children are sent to be warehoused during the day while their parents are at work. Whatever learning takes place there is secondary. Not only that, but the process of learning is itself usually hindered and often derailed.

Kids spend 12 years in school and emerge knowing little more than they would have learned had they stayed home and watched television for all those years. Think about that for a moment. Even the bright students, who at first glance appear to be success stories for public schools, learn most of what they know from their own independent pursuit of knowledge. They’d know just as much if they stayed home too, possibly more.

So yeah, I’m not surprised that people would plagiarize, even blatantly so. When you don’t know anything to begin with, putting something down that is your own work becomes pretty difficult.

leereyno on August 3, 2010 at 11:20 AM