Googling through college Kieran Healy

Googling through college
Kieran Healy is sick of dealing with lazy plagiarists, who can’t even be bothered to steal a good essay.

Few things annoy faculty more than plagiarism, particularly when it’s poorly executed. (That doesn’t mean well-executed copying is better, just that it’s a different sort of insult.) Because people who plagiarize are usually also poor students, they tend not to realise that it’s obvious when a paragraph of bumbling prose suddenly rises from its own ashes to become lucid and flowing, or even just moderately coherent.

The most annoying sort of plagiarism is the low-expectations variety. To my mind, plagiarism ought to be about copying something really good in order to get a better grade. But for many students, it’s just about turning in something that will help them scrape by.

Most plagiarism is now Google-based, writes Healy.

My ambition, naturally, is to have a student quote my own words back to me without attribution in a final paper. That’s an office hour I’d look forward to.

Don’t miss the comments. Among the prize examples of idiocy: a paper with the URL printed at the top of each page; identical papers from multiple students; identical papers submitted by the same student in two different classes to professors who happened to be married to each other, a paper that plagiarized the professor’s own journal article. Then there’s this:

I had a student who “borrowed” a friend’s paper, but she couldn’t figure out how to get her friend’s name out of the header at the top of every page, so she tore off the right-hand corner of every page.

It almost worked, but while I was in a conference with her and another student, the other student kept subtly (and then not-so-subtly) pointing to the torn corners.

Via Eve Tushnetz.

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