Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Regarding Plagiarism

The video “Before he cheats” is funny, interesting and educative. It is an ingenious way to treat such a delicate subject as cheating. I did not have idea this kind of plagiarism was possible; when I was in school, students were cheating writing formulas and info on legs and arms, erasers, pencils and stuff like that. Now everything is technological.
I think that events like those described in The University of Texas’ video/article, happen all the time. A lack of knowledge about plagiarism can lead students to make terrible mistakes, with long-lasting consequences. However, I think that students at college count with at least two fantastic resources to avoid fatal mistakes, one is the writing center and the other is Turnitin. Common sense is also a good advisor when something is going wrong.
 Rutgers video is not only entertained but also educative, that is just the kind of information that I would show to my students in the future.  It clearly defines what to do and what not to do in order to avoid plagiarism. Interactive quizzes of this video offer a good start for a forum or debate in the classroom.
 The article written by Andrew Kantor shocked me. At the beginning, I thought he was kidding about the cheating issue, or even using inverted psychology; but then I realized he was spreading around all kinds of technological tips for being a successful cheater. I would not show this kind of articles to my sons or to my students; that would be like taking my children to a candy house and tell them “don’t touch anything”.  Despite of that, I think it is very interesting and informative for teachers.
 I think that in my subject, foreign languages, students would be cheating using their cell-phones     to recall information during quizzes or tests; also, for writing assignments, students could copy and paste from any web site or even get a whole essay for a modest monthly amount. It is always a possibility that somebody use an audio device like those described in USA TODAY.com. For digital projects, students could make somebody else do it for them, somebody with more technological skills.
In order to avoid plagiarism in my classroom, I would instruct my students about this issue, perhaps using Rutgers website and promoting debates. I believe also that, if students have the need for cheating it is because they don’t have confidence in what they know so, an effective teacher has to provide the elements for an authentic learning of the subject.  Only in case that anybody still wants to cheat, I would pick up all electronic devices at the entrance, and arrange the students’ desks in a convenient way, for me of course.

1.     Explain what is plagiarism in your own words.
2.     Mention three forms of plagiarism.
3.     Is using the same essay that you used before for another course considered plagiarism? Y/N and Why?
4.     Is it honest to cut-and-paste for a written assignment? Why?
5.     If you find something in a book, newspaper, magazine, Internet or other sources, and you want to use that idea in your paper, What should you do?

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