Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cuyahoga Community College Workshop

Nick Carbone, B/SM and University of Maryland University College

In this session, we look at plagiarism from the inside out: if it's an issue exacerbated by computer technology and the ease of copying and pasting, of surfing and downloading, how can we apply a little pedagogical judo and turn things our way? What are some strategies and moves we can make to flip the issue from something to be worried about to something we can embrace for its teaching opportunities? And heck, sure it's a serious issue, but why not make learning about it intellectually fun?

links we'll be using.

A plagiarism tip from Barclay Barrios:

You can take this tip and do a lot with case studies of people whom, if not brought low by plagiarism, suffered a reputation hit: Doris Kearns Goodwin, most famously. But also, there are probably cases too of people wrongly accused of plagiarism. What's the flip side of the issue? How should students prepare and what should they do to show they did not plagiarize? What safe guards can they take and what good writing habits should they learn and follow? The site's a hoot, and it's funny. And it's also a useful teaching tool, worth showing in class if you can do it, or sending students to look at and write about it for a class discussion on doing one's own work.

What is good about this piece? What does it make fun of? How can you use it jump-start a discussion with your students? leads to "Adventures in Cheating," by Seth Stevenson, a piece that samples term paper mills, and finds --no surprise-- that you get what you pay for (and even that ain't much). I wrote a response to this piece, which again, I find useful for teaching, that began, "Essentially, the free papers stink, and they're recycled. That is, free paper mill sites often carry copies of the same papers."

After having students read Stevenson's essay, do what Kelly Ritter of Southern Ct. State U. had her students do: have them find and then analyze and review a term paper mill site. Have them sample and analyze the papers. What are the sites intellectual property and copyright policies? What do the the sites say about plagiarism and being for 'research'? goes to the Bedford/St. Martin's Plagiarism workshop site. This is a faculty resource where you'll find useful handouts, teaching tips, and reviews of plagiarism detection tools.
After reading Robert Harris's book, The Plagiarism Handbook: Strategies for Preventing, Detecting, and Dealing with Plagiarism (2001, from Pyrczak Publishing); an article on the role of honor codes by Robert Boynton in the Washington Post; and thinking about the many plagiarism discussions that have come up on professional listservs I participate on such as WPA, TechRhet, WCenter, it occurred to me that the first place to begin a better discussion with my students on plagiarism is in my own syllabus. talkingplagy.htm lays out what I use to start the conversation.

See --and add your own contributions to-- CompFAQ's collection of resources at
CompFAQ lets composition instructors contribute their own ideas and resources to the composition community. It doesn't take long to add something.

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