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I knew there was a catch

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
So I'm correcting papers from a first-year business class (I'm a teaching assistant at my uni), and come across one paper that just doesn't quite fit... I can tell that the writing is not the student's, and so I just input the fishy sentence into the browser and surely enough it's copy-and-pasted right from the net, sans reference.

My faculty requires that all assignments are attached with a signed statement of academic integrity, but being first-years I guess maybe they haven't quite come to terms with the concept of plagiarism and the concept of get-your-ass-kicked-out-of-universityism.

I absolutely loathe this.
post #2 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by meaculpa
So I'm correcting papers from a first-year business class (I'm a teaching assistant at my uni), and come across one paper that just doesn't quite fit... I can tell that the writing is not the student's, and so I just input the fishy sentence into the browser and surely enough it's copy-and-pasted right from the net, sans reference.

My faculty requires that all assignments are attached with a signed statement of academic integrity, but being first-years I guess maybe they haven't quite come to terms with the concept of plagiarism and the concept of get-your-ass-kicked-out-of-universityism.

I absolutely loathe this.

when my wife was teaching, she had a similar thing happen. when she, very gently, confronted the student and offered to give her another chance, the student refused to acknowledge that it wasn't her origional material. the student put up a fuss, and, because she was a minority (an arab student in israel - about 20% of my wife's students were arabs), the student threatened to complain that my wife was targeting her as she was a minority. my wife had to escalate the whole thing to her head of department, who censered the girl.
post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 
globetrotter, that's what I'm trying to work out. I guess it's probably best to give the student another chance, but I don't know if I would be overstepping the bounds of my vocation if I were to do that. What a pain in the ass. I need to join the army. Probably less of this crap there, no?
post #4 of 35
less chance that someone will download a paper off the internet and claim it to be his own, more chance to have your head blown off. I guess it evens out.

I guess you have lazy people everywhere. I, personally, would have a problem destroying somebodies educational career over this. I would try to show them how easy it was to bust them, and try to put the fear of god into them. but, I am the last person to give advice about university ethics - if you take the ethical system of your university seriously, then you may not be comfortable giving the kid another chance.
post #5 of 35
Yeah, it would be nice to give the kid another chance, but it should be brought to the attention of the prof first. The universities are getting stricter on this sort of stuff, right?
post #6 of 35
Thread Starter 
Oh, for ****'s sake, I just found another one. This is messed up.
post #7 of 35
Mark it with a big fat F.
post #8 of 35
I think you should turn them over to your prof. I'm not typically the type of guy to rat people out. But if he was stupid enough to cut and paste, he deserves to be busted.

The trouble lies in what happens if he does it again? When you go to your prof with it you'll all of a sudden have to explain how this is the second time you're catching him but that you made a decision to let the first one slide.

You shouldn't be sticking your neck out for someone that's too lazy to do their own work. That's my opinion.

Either way, they're not going to expel him for one infraction. Most schools will give the kid another chance but put him on a watch-list or something. At my school you have to take an ethics class and do an extra 24 credits if you get caught plagarizing.
post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter
I, personally, would have a problem destroying somebodies educational career over this.

I agree. The sanctity (or what's left of it) of our educational system should be upheld.
post #10 of 35
I always busted them (though I'm not a TA right now - postdocs just do research).
post #11 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy
I always busted them (though I'm not a TA right now - postdocs just do research).

Well, that's what I did, but I did give them a chance, since it is within my jurisdiction (apparently my faculty, in all its splendor and glory, holds us TAs in high esteem). I'm essentially giving them a conditional F until they redo the entire assignment the proper way.

One of the guys was an international student from China, and apparently his whole family was working together to send him over here so that he could study. The worst that my university does (and my faculty seems to be rather trigger-happy with this method) is expel someone and add a note to their academic records that would prevent them from being admitted by any other university. So basically, if that were to happen, this kid would've been destroyed.

I found this out after I talked to each of them and told them what the conditions were. I'm glad, because if I'd have turned them in to the council, and had it gone far enough (which it very well could have), this specific guy's life would've been completely ruined.

Chaos theory aside, it's humbling to think that you could have such a profound impact on someone's life.
post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by meaculpa

Chaos theory aside, it's humbling to think that you could have such a profound impact on someone's life.

I agree. Authority should be wielded with serious consideration.

I think you should've failed the student for the course. Let him think about the seriousness of what he'd done. I suppose he could retake it.
post #13 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by meaculpa
I'm essentially giving them a conditional F until they redo the entire assignment the proper way.

Wisely done. A friend of mine who was TA-ing for a class I was taking told me he had the same problem with one or two students in the class. His solution was to give them an F for the paper as a wake-up call.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meaculpa
One of the guys was an international student from China . . .


I recently read in a chemical industry publication about how standards for research papers in China are far less rigorous than in the West. Plagiarism is rampant and citation for joint research papers is murky at best, so it can look like one person is claiming the research efforts of others as their own. I believe this ties into the whole IP issue.

In any case, what your Chinese student did might have been quite within bounds at Beijing University. Considering the amount of power you wield over his future, you might offer him a bit of coaching on standards for citation and original research. It could save his academic career.
post #14 of 35
Quote:
I'm essentially giving them a conditional F until they redo the entire assignment the proper way.
Wise move meacupla, hopefully they'll see the value in the lesson.

When I used to live on-campus I lived in a residence with primarily business students. The amount of copying (literally cutting and pasting whole assignments) was astounding. There was a huge system of favours going on with kids from the school, extremely political. It's gotten better after a ring of people were busted but the ease in which some of these people committed these infractions was eye opening. I'm very glad I never went the b-school route at my uni.

A.
post #15 of 35
Good man.
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