How Many Ways

can I say “don’t plagiarize”? Because obviously the five or six ways I communicate this now are not getting through to my students.

There are few things more disheartening than firing up your laptop in the midst of a student presentation, typing the term they’re discussing into Google, clicking on the first result and reading along with them. Except doing it twice in the same term. (The second time is more annoying because the student handing in her hard copy with all the extracts copied right in — the first student who read from Wikipedia had the grace to hand in a rather more independently-written version.)

Maybe next time I should do the reading along out loud?

7 Responses to “How Many Ways”

  1. Anastasia Says:

    In my colloquial way of communicating with students, I would probably make it sound really ridiculous, say something like “don’t just be going to wikipedia, printing out the entry and using it as the script for your presentation. I don’t want to be sitting in class while you’re talking and google your topic from my laptop and find everything you’re saying online.” I’d probably threaten to start reading along, too. It should probably go along with a more formal description of what’s plagiarism but yah. that’s what i’d do.

  2. profgrrrrl Says:

    I would love to see you reading aloud with them :)

  3. luolin Says:

    Some of them seem to feel that oral presentations are somehow exempt (even if they hand in hard copy). For my students, add in nervousness about doing the presentation in a foreign language.

    Then again, I once had a student plagiarize an extra credit assignment (while at the same time not following the assigned topic, which would have been easier than looking for things to plagiarize), so I need to find five or six more ways to communicate the standards too.

  4. Barb Says:

    I love the idea of reading along with them! Thanks for the laugh! I really identify with this, especially after a 45 minute discussion in one of my classes this week about plagiarism. Several anthro majors tried to insist that if information could be found in three printed sources, it was “common knowledge” that did not need to be cited - wtf?! I’m sorry, I don’t care how many sources it’s in, when you refer to Aquinas’ birth and death dates, I want a cite! And my classes are history classes, so we are all going to cite like historians, dammit! (Sorry for the rant!)

  5. Ozymandia Says:

    Communication is a disappearing art. So is listening and understanding. And, you know, common sense, rationality, intelligence… ;)

    For further examples, please re-read my last week of LJ posts. :D

  6. the Cranky Professor Says:

    Presentations coming up fast in one of my classes - I think I’m bringing my laptop to google things! Thanks for the suggestion.

  7. bj Says:

    I think the students honestly need better descriptions of what plagiarism is (frankly, sometimes I do). In some venues, it’s acceptable to “plagiarize” — an example is using copy that was written by your company when describing a product (it belongs to the whole company, and everyone can use it). So, I think everyone has to lay out the specific expectations in their own class.

    I can’t see where copying pasted text from wikipedia into a report would be acceptable in the classroom (i.e. I don’t know what class that would be). But, if they were giving a presentation on the function of the kidney, it would probably end up looking a lot like the textbook entry on the subject. There’s only so many ways to describe the physiology.