Smart and stupid plagarism

November 08, 2004

Anyone who teaches worries about plagarism. I worry more about the smart plagarists; I catch the stupid ones easily.

So for their paper this semester I have the kids writing about Uncle Tom's Cabin and any two documents of their choice from the class reader. This gives them a lot of freedom and makes my grading more interesting, but it also makes it much harder to plagarize - especially because I am requiring an early paper proposal telling me what documents and subject they intend to write about. This should both give the kids a chance to write a smart paper and also make it easier to write the paper than it is to plagarize the paper.

I am grading those proposals now - many look very good. I am also grading homework, including one poor student who when asked "Should Andrew Jackson be on the U.S. money?" responded by cutting and pasting some 200 words from his official biography on the White House web site. At least the student changed the plagarized material, if only by deleting about every 4th sentence.

It looks like I get to have a chat about what plagarism is and why we don't plagarize.

Posted by Red Ted at November 8, 2004 01:01 PM | TrackBack