Revolution Lullabye

May 20, 2009

Colvin, Another Look at Plagiarism in the Digital Age

Colvin, Benie B. “Another Look at Plagiarism in the Digital Age: Is It Time to Turn in My Badge?” Teaching English in the Two-Year College 35.2 (December 2007) 149-158.

Colvin is uncomfortable with no-tolerance university plagiarism policies that respond punitively before pedagogically. After having a first-generation college student leave the university after she accused him a plagiarism, Colvin revisits how writing teachers approach issues of authorship, plagiarism, patchwriting, and the use of digital technologies. She does not want to abandon Turnitin, but says she will use it now as a tool that will have pedagogical effects, as she can use the results to teach her students to be better readers, researchers, and consumers.

Quotable Quotes

“All I did was reinforce that he was behind the academic fence without a key” (150)

Notable Notes

Harvard case – Blair Hornstine denied admission over plagiarism charges in her high school papers

Elder, What Works for Me

Elder, Dana C. “What Works for Me: The Cost of Plagiarism.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College 31.1 (Sept 2003) 83-84.

Preventing plagiarism should be a university-level concern, and Elder explains two ways her institution (Eastern Washington University) is taking on plagiarism. First, students who fail due to academic reasons have a special “XF” on their transcripts that will serve as a signal to other institutions and future employers. Second, all conclusions of academic integrity cases at the university are recorded, and if a student has three violations, they are banned from the campus for life. This guarantees that an instructor’s determinations of academic integrity issues matter and have real consequences to students who repeatedly plagiarize or cheat.

Klausman, Teaching about Plagiarism in the Age of the Internet

Klausman, Jeffrey. “Teaching about Plagiarism in the Age of the Internet.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College 27.2 (1999): 209-212.

Klausman explains how he uses internet search engines to combat student plagiarism off the internet, describing what he understands as patchwork plagiarism and paraphrase plagiarism. He claims there is a rise in plagiarism due to the Internet and illustrates to his students how fast and simple it is for him to check up on their use of internet sources by using the “find” feature on the websites and web addresses included in their bibliographies. He claims he now spends much more time teaching students how to appropriately work with texts.

Notable Notes

dated – 1999, pre-Turnitin

only checks the sources students put in their works cited page

Brown, Fallon, Matthews, Mintie, Taking on Turnitin

Brown, Renee, Brian Fallon, Elizabeth Matthews, and Elizabeth Mentie. “Taking on Turnitin: Tutors Advocating Change.” The Writing Center Journal 27.1 (2007): 7-28.

These four writing center tutors ran a paper through the Turnitin software and analyzed its results, arguing that Turnitin has both pedagogical limitations and ethical problems in the way it handles student writing.  It oversimplifies what it means to write with sources, and students can quickly learn how to “outsmart” Turnitin (but not become more sophisticated source-users) by using thesauruses to change individual words in an Internet source. Writing centers, since they come into contact with writers from all over the university, need to take the lead in plagiarism and citation issues and should argue for teaching citation first and giving workshops so that instuctors can interpret Turnitin results into pedagogical solutions.

Notable Notes

who owns the database of papers that Turnitin uses?

universities find it hard to opt out of Turnitin for a different service…all the student papers are stored there; they’d lose what they had gathered.

Blum, Academic Integrity and Student Plagiarism

Blum, Susan D. “Academic Integrity and Student Plagiarism: A Question of Education, Not Ethics.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 20 Feb 2009.

In order to prevent plagiarism, students must be taught the skills necessary to cite and be persuaded of its value, for students often do not pursue academic research and writing for the same purposes as professors and academics do. The other two ways student plagiarism is typically dealt with on campuses – through avenues of morality (honor codes) and criminality – are not effective and do not get at the root of the problem, students’ unawareness of the purposes behind academic citation conventions. Blum advocates for campus-wide discussions and dialogues with students and faculty about issues of intellectual property and plagiarism to bring these complicated, conflicting concepts to the forefront.

Quotable Quotes

Her educational solution: “treats academic integrity, especially the mandate to cite sources, as a set of skills to be learned…Students must be persuaded of the value of citation – which is far from self-evident – and instructed over time in how to do it.”

“Many students don’t especially value the process of classroom learning.”

Notable Notes

focuses on citation, not working with sources

student writing goes in a vacuum, doesn’t have the same citation needs as academics

anthropology prof at Notre Dame

Adler-Kassner, Anson, and Howard, Framing Plagiarism

Adler-Kassner, Linda, Chris Anson, and Rebecca Moore Howard. “Framing Plagiarism.” In Originality, Imitation, and Plagiarism: Teaching Writing in the Digital Age. Eds. Eisner and Vicinus. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2008. 231-246.

The authors, all current and/or former WPAs who wrote the CWPA statement “Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism”, argue that the current frames used to talk about student plagiarism position students as ignorants, cheats, and theives who are undermining the purposes of education and need to be caught and reformed. They argue for compositionists and writing instructors to look beyond the academic cycle of citation for credit and credibility to see how people compose with sources for other purposes. They use the example of direct borrowing from the language of a FDA statement on safe food handling to show that more public texts, like these author-less statements and policies, are used freely like author-less bits of information. Students exist in multiple activity levels and systems, and so it is important that instruction on source use (not technology-based plagiarism prevention) include critical discussions and examples of how different systems use and compose with sources.

Quotable Quotes

“Many cases of so-called plagiarism occur at the borders where one set of (typically academic) values and practices blurs into another (typically public) set of values and practices” (239).

“All writers are always in a developmental trajectory; writing is always intertextual; a variety of rhetorical and pragmatic forces work against attribution of sources; the use of texts is a complex act that is steeped in the conventions (disciplinary, behavioral, and otherwise) of academe; and the sanctioned academic expectations for attribution are often applied unevenly, even by experienced, ethical writers.” (243)

Notable Notes

example of one university borrowing another’s statement on plagiarism

temptation to use Turnitin and the temptation to buy papers online are both grounded in panic (243)

what is implicitly said when you require all students to “submit” their papers to Turnitin? (242)

Lakoff “frames” – these become naturalized, we need to reframe

Bloch, Plagiarism across Cultures

Bloch, Joel. “Plagiarism across Cultures: Is There a Difference?” In Originality, Imitation, and Plagiarism: Teaching Writing in the Digital Age. Eds. Eisner and Vicinus. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2008. 219-230.

Bloch questions the simplified dichotomy between Chinese and American attitudes toward plagiarism and argues for a pedagogy that is centered on the concepts of intertextuality and remixing, complex ways of understanding composing and source use. He discusses Chinese education’s use of memorization and imitation as forms of invention.

Bloom, Insider Writing

Bloom, Lynn Z. “Insider Writing: Plagiarism-Proof Assignments.” In Originality, Imitation, and Plagiarism: Teaching Writing in the Digital Age. Eds. Eisner and Vicinus. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2008. 208-218.

Teachers need to use “plagiarism-proof” insider writing assignments not because they prevent plagiarism but because they inspire both student creativity and student learning of a discipline’s norms, customs, and values. Bloom gives several examples of insider writing assignments that she uses in her autobiography class, including designing homes for the people whose autobiographies the students read (Franklin, Douglass, etc.) and writing their own autobiography to learn the genre.

Quotable Quotes

“As outsiders suppressing their own judgments, student writers serving as ventriloquists of published scholars are not positioned to own the primary material or to trust their opinions of it. With so little of themselves in their writing, they have little incentive to care very much about their work” (210).

Notable Notes

service learning as an example of insider writing

Senders, Academic Plagiarism and the Limits of Theft

Senders, Stefan. “Academic Plagiarism and the Limits of Theft.” In Originality, Imitation, and Plagiarism: Teaching Writing in the Digital Age. Eds. Eisner and Vicinus. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2008. 195-207.

Senders argues that accusations of plagiarism by the teacher can have a pedagogical effect in the writing classroom. He gives an example of a student who he caught copying passages from internet sources and follows the story from his initial reading of her paper to her university hearing, when she was temporarily expelled from the university. He claims that, though painful, this  experience had a positive impact on his relationship with his students in his classroom, because he took the opportunity to teach them how plagiarism positions both teachers and students as actors and shapes the identities and relationships of students and instructors.

Quotable Quotes

“This disjuncture between the students’ misperception of their own ‘voices,’ specifically that they do not have them, and the perception of readers of their work, who perceive those voices clearly, suggests a kind of rhetorical self-negation, almost a blindness with respect to authorial self. Student plagiarism, from this perspective, might best be seen as a dysfunctional manifestation of a psychorhetorical disorder, a kind of displacement, a failure of identification in which the literary self is absent or unavailable” (200)

Notable Notes

students don’t think plagiarism is stealing because they’re not really stealing something tangible, something they keep: they are stealing credit.

he doesn’t really buy into the whole student-is-learning thing; his attitude is a bit more cynical, pessamistic, slightly angry about these students who are committing acts of plagiarism in his class

the student he accused became a writer in the process – drafting her appeal, conferencing about it – the irony

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