Here's another interesting case in the plagiarism point:
I was recently serving on a search committee for a Lecturer at our
University. We had a healthy pool of applicants and waded through many
teaching dossiers. When one person's dossier started to sound
familiar, one of my colleagues typed a phrase into google. He found
the teaching dossier as a "sample" offered by a U.S. University as
part its instructions on teaching dossiers. In all, we found four who
had partially or largely plagiarized from such sources.
I suppose this is just another instance of the "game" and taking the
risk. The stakes were indeed high. We thoroughly checked the top 10
contenders. Several disappeared from our consideration.
Plagiarism isn't just a problem for our students. Most of those were
already employed in the university system somewhere.
I would have thought that those writers would have had plenty of
exigence for their own ideas. Apparently not.
Quoting Natasha Artemeva <[log in to unmask]>:
> As Russ knows, I don't like to spend time on "plagiarism" in my
> classes, and I haven't had much trouble with it lately mainly because
> my students are working on individual projects of their choice and I'm
> involved in their work at every stage. However, just this past term I
> had an astonishing case: a graduate student (!) copied sections from MY
> article that was a REQUIRED reading for the course. I asked her why
> she'd done it and she said that it was her attempt to put something
> together to submit by the (extended) deadline. I asked her to resubmit
> and she reworked it-- not brilliantly, but without copying.
> Russ Hunt wrote:
>> Yes, thanks for raising this issue, Tania.
>> It probably won't surprise anybody that I have some responses to
>> it. I skimmed the McDermid paper, too, on Tania's recommendation,
>> and was struck, as she was, that it ends before it gets to the good
>> But my feeling is that there really is not going to be a good part,
>> because there isn't any solution to the problem, at least not that
>>> ...carefully designing our rubrics and arguments about
>>> evaluation in order to reduce the potential reward for
>>> undetected plagiarism and increase the potential reward for
>>> honest research writing.
>> I'd argue that the problem here is the rewards themselves, and that
>> changing the arguments for or conditions around them is something
>> we've all thought of, and which hasn't worked for any of us.
>> Defining the issue as one of ethics and exhorting people to "be
>> good" won't work as long as we've structured the whole thing as a
>> game, to be won or lost in order to gain rewards. McDermid refers
>> to the purpose of writing as "demonstrating knowledge." That, I'd
>> contend, (along with "demonstrating skill"), is a rhetorically
>> catastrophic motive for writing, and one that promotes a divorcing
>> of the text from any dialogic situation. If you have authentic
>> rhetorical motives for writing, plagiarism would be beside the
>> point (even the excessively well documented examples of scholarly
>> plagiarism are almost all wreckage from the tenure and promotion
>> wars, where the point of writing is to get published and score
>> points, or to be regarded as a Writer).
>> I'm not arguing that it's easy to make the rhetorical situations of
>> student writers into ones which don't invite plagiarism, but I
>> would argue that it's conceivable -- and that constructing a rubric
>> for evaluation that will effectively discourage it simply isn't.
>> Tania says,
>>> Yet I do wish we could get more field research that would
>>> analyze (not just theorize) whether or not certain ways of
>>> evaluating writing, and talking to students about our
>>> evaluation strategies, really can reduce the motive to
>> I'd be interested in such field research, too, but my prediction is
>> that if we did it we'd find that the answer is "no," as long as
>> what we're focally concerned with is evaluating writing. -- Russ
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