Plagiarism Case Studies

I was sent some case studies on plagiarism, at my request. Then, of course, I saw some other examples online at The Chronicle.

At Rhode Island College, a freshman copied and pasted from a Web site’s frequently asked questions page about homelessness — and did not think he needed to credit a source in his assignment because the page did not include author information.

At DePaul University, the tip-off to one student’s copying was the purple shade of several paragraphs he had lifted from the Web; when confronted by a writing tutor his professor had sent him to, he was not defensive — he just wanted to know how to change purple text to black.

And at the University of Maryland, a student reprimanded for copying from Wikipedia in a paper on the Great Depression said he thought its entries — unsigned and collectively written — did not need to be credited since they counted, essentially, as common knowledge.

These are the kinds of things we get all the time.

I’d be less likely to be upset about the last plagiarism case, except that the implication is that the student copied and pasted. That means they aren’t his words, at the very least.

The article itself is about how technology is “blurring the lines of plagiarism.” I think really the relaxation of a strong moral code is encouraging plagiarism. Sure, there were always cheaters. But not no one thinks anything about it as long as you don’t get caught.

That says more than something about the students. It says something about the society..

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