Category Archives: Defining Plagiarism

Blog Post #7 Defining Plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined by Wikipedia as the “wrongful appropriation” and “stealing and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions.”  I personally feel that it is wrong to take the work of someone else and credit it as your own.  In a academic setting though, i feel that even though it is still wrong the disciplinary actions are a bit extreme in most cases.  Most universities would possibly kick a student out of school if found guilty of plagiarism on just one assignment.  Instead of punishing a student and stopping their road to higher learning completely i believe just a failing grade on the assignment would be enough.  There are multiple angles and steps that should be taken when it comes to plagiarism that could be more helpful.

A meeting of the student and instructor could be held to solve further plagiarism.  "Why did the student plagiarize?" should be a goto question.  It could indeed the fact that the lesson or assignment that is being given by the instructor not meaningful or too generic for the student?  Is there something going on in the students personal life that could be effecting the amount of energy they can put into the work.  If these are some of the things that could be in play the instructor has a duty which is to help the students learn the best way possible.  The instructor could try a different way of gibing a lesson plan or try helping the student out with their schedule to insure that the work can be done in an organized manner without plagiarism.  It is not only the students responsibility to do their work and not plagiarize but also the instructor responsibility to give the most memorable and effective way of learning for students.

Is It the Teacher’s Fault?

For most students, plagiarizing consists of direct copying and pasting from primary sources into their own documents. There is no covering up, it is very blatant and obvious. "When assignments are highly generic and not classroom-specific…” This exerpt from the Council of Writing Program Administrators basically sums up my view on plagiarism and copyright infringement in the classroom. Throughout my schooling, I have found that if I directly copy and paste my teacher’s assignment prompt into a search engine, I will find pages upon pages of answers and examples for that assignment given by other teachers and students. Students are being labeled as lazy, but are teachers the lazy ones?

Because of this rather lazy approach by teachers, students are being injured. For example, I know my writing skills are not where they should be partly because of the school system and the growing lack of genuine concern from them. In this situation, the teacher is gaining more free time and less time grading, less time formulating challenging assignments from students because they can just get them off the internet, and also gaining a paycheck for work they are hardly doing.

The children of today are just as smart as children back when there wasn’t the internet or google to aid in the writing process. “when there is no instruction on plagiarism and appropriate source attribution, and when students are not led through the iterative processes of writing and revising..” We are told what plagiarism is when we are in elementary school. Besides being told the basic definition, nothing else is done to further explain plagiarism to young student and how to avoid it. This creates a ripple affect. Students then carry on bad habits to middle school then high school and then college and this could prove detrimental to their overall success. There will always be the students that could care less about school and find ways to take the easy way out (this could be through plagiarism and copyright infringement). But to categorize students as those who “don't "value the opportunity of learning" (Howard) like Howard does is completely wrong.

I believe when addressing plagiarism, teachers need to look inward and their own teaching practices to see if they could be serving their students better. Only then can they address the problem of plagiarism with their students and they should be addressed and reprimanded accordingly. I do agree that plagiarism is a serious thing and students who plagiarize consistently should be disciplined but then given a meeting with their teacher to discuss the ins and outs of plagiarism. I believe that the more knowledge the students have, the less mistakes they will make by plagiarizing.

plagirism and you

Plagiriam is something that has only become simpler as access to technology has spread. The rampant use I'm academia stems from a separate issue however. The main villain here is the environment of the student in our current system.

The current definition for plagiarism is not flawed at its core. There is however some leeway with plagiarism that should be added. In the same way that you can copy a video as long as you don't redistribute to gain wealth, you should be able to copy a text to do the same thing. If you quoting from a source doeang harm the sales then there is no reason that quoting them would be harmful.

Attribution has always been a key in plagiarism since its inception. We were told that we could quite as long as we cited the source. I agree with this. The citations allow a reader to go see a work for themselves if a quote intrigues them. The cites don't necessarily have to be as standardized as we have them now but they are important to have the paper not hinder sales.

Finally why did I say the environment was theissue? Let me pose the question, why do students cheat? They Have to get a good grade to keep scholarships and apply to good schools and even get the approval of their peers or parents. This system encourages students who can't do to cheat. There is little incentive to do actual work when the final product will still get a bad grade. This basis of the system is the root of all cheating and I'm turn plagirism.


Blog #7: Defining Plagiarism

Plagiarism can best be defined as using another person’s words or ideas without giving any due credit. The definition may change from person to person but this act is still a common crime. These criminals range from any age in our world today. The likelihood of an adult plagiarizing Sometimes a small number of people are affected and other times everyone is affected. The original writer or idealist of these stolen words will lose their recognition for their personal work. Anyone can copy them and make a profit or fame for it. I would be completely angry if I were to find out someone else is making money from my idea. It is not fair that it is so easy to take and copy someone else’s work. The work the WPA does with the writing and workshops to prevent these acts such as raising awareness.
As Rebecca Schuman stated in the blog post, plagiarism is becoming more commonplace. Consequently, it is making the resolution of this problem a little more difficult to achieve. What are the solutions? Well, you can easily find the people who do get caught plagiarizing. In turn, the writer that has stolen another’s work will be punished but not too harshly. They will still face some type of consequence. I feel that this would be the best method of policing plagiarism efficiently. If you were to take a more harsh punishment such as jail time it would become a social problem rather quickly. You can best avoid plagiarism by giving credit to the owner of the words or ideas. There are a couple of ways to give credit. One of them is citing. Work citing will allow you to give all information needed and keep the original format. The WPA helps with certain things such as that to lower the chances of having to plagiarize from the beginning.
In conclusion, stealing someone elses work is not fair and should not be tolerated any further. These simple measures can be taken to police this activity and allow every writer to receive their accreditation. Help stop plagiarism!

Blog Post #7: Defining Plagiarism

This week, we are beginning our examination of the regulatory structures--both legal and moral--that we have established around rhetorical processes. In Bound By Law, the authors discuss how the U.S. Copyright Act attempts to balance intellectual property and free speech rights, the rights of copyright owners and the rights of artists and creators. The legal regulation of rhetorical processes via copyright law co-exists with implicit and explicit ethical regulations--like the Georgia State Academic Honesty Policy--that particular communities establish around their rhetorical processes. While copyright infringement and plagiarism seem conceptually similar at first glance, they are not interchangeable. For example, if a student purchases an essay from an essay mill or pays another student to do the work, that probably isn't copyright infringement, but it's definitely plagiarism. Similarly, quoting from a source for an academic paper almost certainly falls under the Copyright Act's fair use exception, whether or not the source is properly cited. It's not the Copyright Act but rather the code of ethics related to academic work that requires scholars (both students and professionals) to follow citation and attribution conventions.

In a very important piece on plagiarism that was published almost 15 years ago in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Rebecca Moore Howard argues, "[i]n our stampede to fight . . . a 'plague' of plagiarism, we risk becoming the enemies rather than the mentors of our students; we are replacing the student-teacher relationship with the criminal police relationship." According to Howard, "we have to ask ourselves why [students] are plagiarizing":

It is possible that students are cheating because they don't value the opportunity of learning in our classes. Some of that is cultural, of course. Today's students are likely to change jobs many times before they retire, so they must earn credentials for an array of job possibilities, rather than immersing themselves in a focused, unchanging area of expertise. The fact that many of them are working long hours at outside jobs only exacerbates the problem.

It is possible that our pedagogy has not adjusted to contemporary circumstances as readily as have our students. Rather than assigning tasks that have meaning, we may be assuming that students will find meaning in performing assigned tasks. How else can one explain giving the same paper assignment semester after semester to a lecture class of 100 students? Such assignments expect that students will gain something from the act of writing, but they do not respond to the needs and interests of the students in a particular section of the class. They are, in that sense, inauthentic assignments.

Partially in response to Howard's work, the Council of Writing Program Administrators created a "best practices" statement for instructors on "Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism." In that document, the WPA observes that instructors themselves can contribute to the plagiarism problem through poor project design:

When assignments are highly generic and not classroom-specific, when there is no instruction on plagiarism and appropriate source attribution, and when students are not led through the iterative processes of writing and revising, teachers often find themselves playing an adversarial role as “plagiarism police” instead of a coaching role as educators. Just as students must live up to their responsibility to behave ethically and honestly as learners, teachers must recognize that they can encourage or discourage plagiarism not just by policy and admonition, but also in the way they structure assignments and in the processes they use to help students define and gain interest in topics developed for papers and projects.

Rebecca Schuman, a writer for Slate, argues in "The End of the College Essay" that traditional essay assignments do little more than encourage already rampant plagiarism, and professors should replace them with different kinds of projects and assessments. Image credit: "Plagiarism" by ransomtech on Flickr.

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