Friday, September 21, 2007

Plagiarism

We got an announcement in Lit class yesterday. Apparently one of the students plagiarized the first paper.

The first paper of the semester. And apparently it was blatant enough that the instructor didn't have to do much to prove it. That student got an F for the entire class. I don't know who it was, but the instructor mentioned informing a coach, so I would say that it was one of the athletes, who will probably now lose their athletic scholarship, as well.

Why is it that people can't even put forth the effort to jot something down? The instructor told us right off the bat that if we ran into a situation where we didn't have a clue, we could ask. If we still didn't have a clue, jot something, anything down, and we'd get some points for effort.

Better a sucky grade on one paper than an F for the entire course, and a reputation for plagiarism.

If they weren't going to do the work, why did they sign up for the course? I mean seriously, what is it that motivates these people to cheat? Our instructor isn't a demanding one, she's supportive and encouraging, she doesn't freak out over minor grammar errors (I'm horrible with 'it's' and 'its' ') and honestly wants us to have fun with the class.

During a lesson on word choice we were paired up and given a passage in a story, and we were supposed to completely change the main character, by changing a few words. My partner and I made the character a speed freak, which the instructor loved.

It isn't hard to make this instructor happy. Just putting forth the effort to write a paper and try to make it coherent and to the point is enough to get a passing grade. A note at the end of the paper saying "I tried, but I just couldn't come up with any more," will be taken into account.

In brighter news, even though I wasn't happy at all with the paper that I turned in (the entirety of which I changed two days before the due date... I was stuck on the topic that I had originally chosen, and decided to change the whole thing rather than turn in a paper full of B.S.) I got a 95.

And a note at the bottom, that the instructor had never seen such an in-depth look at the story that I chose. (Happy Endings, by Margaret Atwood. I compared and contrasted the characterizations and plot lines of the various endings.)

So, good thing for me. The next paper is an Explication paper, and I've chosen (unless I change my mind and do it on something we discuss in class between now and then) The Raven. It's a nice rich poem that will support the 750-1000 word paper.

And it will be all mine.

6 comments:

William the Coroner said...

Because, FG, there are a lot of idiots with a hypertrophic sense of entitlement in the world. A lot of them are in college because Daddy/Mommy wanted them to be there, and they're a tremendous pain in the back of my lap. They're all over the adult world, as well, more's the pity.

Farmgirl said...

Maybe I'm a throwback, but the world doesn't owe me diddly. The world gives everyone a *chance,* it's up to the individual to make the most of that chance.

I'm a first generation full time college student. I'll be the first person in my family to have a degree, and to get that degree I get to do something that I love *every day.* That's more than I could have asked for, and I'm not going to throw it away.

Anonymous said...

Plagarists (is that a word?) suck, majorly. I can crank out a 1000 word paper just off the top of my head, given only a subject (look ma, no research!) and about an hour to make sure it looks like it had a point somewhere.

These folks who use someone else's work (or go so far as to forget to change the name at the top of the paper from the original author, for instance) are not only a disease that needs to be removed from school, but they're an idiot..

As I dubbed an effective sack-tap, "complements of the Knights of Darwin", these folks need a kick in the head.

-J

Mark said...

When I was in college for the many years ago, when the intarw3bs was still command line driven no WWW point and click, one of my fellow students known more for partying than his acedemic interests, turned in a paper that had at the top and bottom the URL to the paper in question. Our Prof being computer Savy that he he was, looked it up and found a peper mill selling papers on the net. The fellow student quickly was couseled that he had 24 hours to turn an original paper in his own handwriting not typed or he would be brought before the board for explusion. I was still laughing when they kicked him out. :)

GeorgeH said...

A lot of athletes go all the way through highschool and college without an original thought. They are not students, but semi-professional athletes with a sense of entitlement and a disdain for rules and the law. If they are good enough on the field, they end up Michael Vicks.

Anonymous said...

Ever heard of the "Honor Code"? Young Harris College (Young Harris, Georgia) makes all the new students watch a documentary on plagiarism and then sign a pledge saying they won't do it. They make a big deal ceremonial assembly out of it. I guess it got so bad there they thought they'd give it better attention if they made everybody go through a sort of public deal over it.

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