Friday, 24 July 2009

Don't make Waves



'Oh, my, I'm sure she meant well...'

We spend ages hammering into our students that plagiarism is Jolly Bad Show. We even set essays on the topic in which they define the term, discuss its origin and how this 'academic crime' can be avoided, and dutifully underline that knowing all this, only the utterest cad or bounder would crib some other fellow's work and hand it in as his own. Chaps like that deserve all that's coming to them, that's what they all say. Hear hear.

So when after six months of all this, one student handed in an essay obviously not her own, we expected that the cheat would be discovered and the essay disallowed. Not a bit of it. After a day or two of dithering on the part of course leaders, we got 'oh, well, we can't prove it, can we? Better just pass it, eh?'

We could have spent six months telling overseas students that they might as well plagiarise, as it will make bugger all difference in the end.

7 comments:

Bo said...

You'll just have to cut her dead every time you see her until she's gone.

Word verification: bestest. Possibly what Khulud thinks she is.

Fionnchú said...

Sorry to hear this. Similar dilemma happened to me, but doubled; evidence in hand, two students, same work. One copied parts from the other, the worse from the better I figured, then they both submitted "research." End of term, little time to do anything, grades due right away. They ran an end-run behind me to both claim they knew nothing of the other's work, and I was stuck. I gave up in frustration, furious.

Without added documentation, I was told by my superiors that with me lacking proof and based on my gut feeling, they could not back me up "officially"; they also I suspect fear litigation for "harassment" of students as paying customers demanding their "return" on tuition. Our a "customer satisfaction" mentality on demand we must adhere to as part of our own review.

vilges suola said...

@ Mark - seems as though you somehow read the part of the post I deleted! 'Khulud' cut me dead, then wrote me a hurt little e mail about how I did not trust her.

@ Fionnchu - isn't it fustrating! It boils down to not losing customers.

Mediterranean kiwi said...

there is so little you can do about this - they probably pay other people to write them their essays so they are original in one respect, even thouogh it is not their own work.

do you have oral exams that students must pass? they can be caught out there if they really do not know their stuff

what happened to the good old days when students did their own work and never plagiarised?

vilges suola said...

They have to do presentations on this particular course, and I know the lady in question will do this well. It just gets my goat that the essay has been allowed, basically for the sake of a quiet life.

I suppose it was the internet that put paid to the good old days, before you could copy and paste.

Thanks for the link, by the way!

Mediterranean kiwi said...

interesting that she will do well on the oral part - i bet she was just too lazy to write her own piece, and i bet a million that she has the money to pay her way through

it's good to read your blog about these matters, as i have similar students making similar faux pas

vilges suola said...

Her main concern is to pass the course so she can get started on her PhD. Quite a few sts seem to regard the year of English preparation as an irritating series of hoops to jump through before they can get cracking with their real work. Pity they take so long to get the idea that the real work is all going to be in English!

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