I’ve been absent from bloggery due to the work load as we near the end of the semester; this past weekend I graded five exams and a bunch of extra-credit assignments. So far I have two students who have BLATANTLY just copied-pasted stuff from Web sites. This despite my having told them in the assignment handout,
The Student Code of Conduct explains the kind of misrepresentation that qualifies as plagiarism: [URL link]
What, like they think I can’t tell this isn’t student writing, or won’t bother to type in a URL they listed in their bibliography? One student just “re-gifted” an assignment obviously written for another class, which is just tacky as well — it’s one thing to recycle some information you’ve already researched and edit it to fit the requirements of a new report, but this stuff wasn’t even changed to fit what I’d asked for.
So I discussed the issue with the dept dean, and was given the suggestion of explaining the problem with the student, and offering them the opportunity to re-do the assignment correctly, or else take a 10% reduction on the Final Exam grade. I like this option, because there are still significant consequences, but the student gets to decide what they’re doing.
One student left class before I could talk to him. The other one I talked to, and his point of view was that:
(1) He didn’t see why using the same assignment for two classes was a problem. (“It needs to match the requirements of what I asked for. Go back and re-read the assignment page.”)
(2) He didn’t see why copy-pasting information was a problem (“The course syllabus AND the assignment page both describe what plagiarizing is, and the assignment page specifically says it needs to be In Your Own Words. When you quote something, it has to be offset, or in quote marks or otherwise marked.”)
I had to reiterate that I had talked with the Dean who had seen his paper, and agreed to this plan.
And golly gee if he didn’t go and do what I suspected he would! He outright said that he’d submitted this same paper to his other prof, and that prof had no problems with the paper. (Somehow in his mind, this was supposed to be a strong argument; because you know, if you get by with cheating once, then it shouldn’t be a problem if you do it again.) I explained that was between the other prof and him. I knew this was plagiarism, and I wasn’t going to accept the paper.