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Thursday, March 23, 2006

You're kidding me, right?

Believe it or not, I have ANOTHER plagiarist.

Different class, better paper, but same M.O.: take a bunch of stuff from Cliff's Notes (a change! My students generally seem to prefer Sparknotes), swirl it around, and make a paper out of it. The reliance is too extensive and too unusual (the kid keeps describing one character with a couple of terms that s/he never defines, explains, or seems to understand & which it's highly unlikely s/he knew on her or his own) for me to write it off as merely relying improperly on an outside source and failing to acknowledge it.

However, since this one was dumb enough to lift one entire sentence in addition to numerous paraphrased ones, s/he's totally going down.

Enjoy your time with the disciplinary committee, kiddo.

link | posted by La Lecturess at 10:02 AM |


Blogger medieval woman commented at 1:20 PM~  

that's so annoying when you catch a plagiarist - but also strangely satisfying when you can point to the exact places in the paper. I once caught a mother-daughter plagiarist TEAM when I was an MA student at a huge state school out west. They were going back to school and taking all their classes together - slightly creepy. I was about 22 years old and a TA and the daughter (who was in her mid-30s and had kids) started crying and the mother (in her 60s) started scolding me and telling me I wasn't old enough to fail them. I stood my ground and gave them both F's - then I went out drinking to calm my nerves...

Congrats on finding them, but sorry for the frustration...

Blogger Ancrene Wiseass commented at 5:04 PM~  

Gawd. WHY do they do this? It is So. Unbelievably. Stupid.

And Medieval Woman, that story is just mindblowing. Wow. And good for you!

Blogger Hieronimo commented at 5:08 PM~  

Sadly I'm not surprised you've caught another. I've lost track of how many I've caught in my 5 years of teaching at Big State U. Since I teach Shakespeare, there are a million essays on the web. A lot of people I know try to craft their assignments so as to make then plagiarism-proof, but since I think that inventio is the first element of rhetoric, I think doing that just penalizes the good students who need practice and help in developing their own topics. So I rely on my ability to catch the plagiarists. Fortunately, it's so easy. Each semester I've taught Shakespeare (about 30 students per class), I've caught at least one plagiarist. They generally take entire paragraphs verbatim, so there's never a problem with evidence. It sucks that this is part of our job.

Blogger La Lecturess commented at 10:04 PM~  

Daaamn, MW! I want details on that one!

I have to confess that after confronting this student, briefly, after class today, I'm losing my nerve a little. I'm definitely failing him/her for the paper one way or the other (which I'm sure would result in the student's dropping the class, since his/her overall grade is pretty poor), but I'm not sure about the disciplinary committee. S/he had an affecting sob story and was running off to the hospital immediately after class, and. . .ugh.

We're talking on Tuesday. I think the test here is whether s/he actually acknowledges wrongdoing or apologizes *along* with giving me the aforementioned sob story. So far, s/he has not.

Blogger medieval woman commented at 11:41 PM~  

Running off to the hospital, huh? Did they look like one of the walking wounded? I'm really sorry you have to deal with that - especially extended over a weekend. Perhaps an "F" and having them (most likely) drop the course will be sufficient. I hear you about not necessarily having the stamina to take it to a disciplinary committee...good luck!

As for "Team Plagiarist" whose antics I foiled so many years ago - it was (get this) a paper on "Who were the Caananites?" - I was a TA for a Bible as Lit course and it was a 3-page Mickey Mouse paper on the Caananites. I was reading like 80 of them and I started to notice dead on repetition between a couple of them: "the Caananites used the color purple in many of their textiles. The Cannanites created beautiful mosaics with sea shells...etc." (this is the only thing I will ever know or remember about the Caananites and it's because of Team Plagiarist). Turns out that they both copied their papers directly from the encyclopedia - and then they shifted the order of the paragraphs between their own papers. Crazy, huh?

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