(But our beginnings never know our ends!)
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Late Spring To-Do List
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
I've worked my way through 11 papers so far--fewer than I'd hoped to have graded by now, but still reasonable progress. I'm clocking in at a pretty consistent 30 minutes a paper, which is a vast improvement over the time my grading has eaten up in the past (of course, in the past I had time to burn!), but I'm hoping to get it down closer to 20.
However, I've encountered what may or may not be my first plagiarizer. Or maybe that's plural: I have two papers from the same class that are strangely similar in a couple of particulars. Their similarities are just plausible--both students are writing on the same topic, and it's not impossible that both might have had a few of the same ideas--but they inspired me to turn to Google and run some search strings. The paper that I initially found more suspicious turned up nothing, but the other one, I suspect, took a number of ideas from a cut-rate Cliff's-notes-style website.
The thing is, I'm only 75-80% certain of this, and the paper isn't actually very good; I gave it a C+. I'm thinking that's punishment enough--ha ha, Mr. Plagiarizer! you stole someone else's ideas and you couldn't even do anything worthwhile with them!--but I'm uncertain about this. Is it worth pursuing? I'd hate to make a federal case out of something so insubstantial, and espeically when the victory for the (potential) plagiarizer is so small.
The other oddity is that both of these students misunderstood the topic in exactly the same way (as did a number of other students). I can't explain further without giving away what work they were writing on, but the way in which they misunderstood the topic makes it much closer to about a jillion discussions that have been had, statements that have been made, and essays that have been written on the subject in the past. I'm left wondering how deliberate this misunderstanding may have been, and how/whether to penalize this mistake--since it may be partly my fault for not wording the topic differently, and since in theory it's a workable essay topic, just not the one I listed as an option.
Sigh. I do have a real post that's been percolating for several days now, but I just haven't had the time to get back to it. Soon, soon.
link | posted by La Lecturess at 10:50 PM |
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