Revolution Lullabye

May 28, 2009

Pflugfelder, Review

Pflugfelder, Ehren Helmut. Review. Composition Forum 19 (Spring 2009).

Review of three recent books on plagiarism: Eisner/Vicinus Originality, Imitation, and Plagiarism; Howard/Robillard Pluralizing Plagiarism; March Plagiarism: Alchemy and Remedy.

Pflugfelder announces a subfield of “plagiarism studies” and looks to how three recently published texts in rhetoric and composition are moving beyond blaming and criminalizing the student and looking for “plagiarism-proof assignments” to considering plagiarism’s relationship to writing practices and its economic, cultural, institutional, and ideological frames. There has been a critical shift in how the field sees and defines plagiarism, one that refuses to see incidents as local crimes or mistakes, but instead tries to understand the entire global situation. 

Quotable Quotes

no longer “treating incidents of plagiarism like a crime or a symptom. They discuss it like it is – a constructed authorship practice lamented as a crisis and perpetuated by political, economic, and cultural paradigms.”

“change what defines and produces the problem”

Notable Notes

is it a shift the public will adopt?

postmodern, remix culture

May 26, 2009

Berggren, Do Thesis Statements Short-Circuit Originality in Students’ Writing

Berggren, Anne. “Do Thesis Statements Short-Circuit Originality in Students’ Writing?” In Originality, Imitation, and Plagiarism. Eds. Eisner and Vicinus. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2008. 53-63.

Berggren outlines three problems with overreliance on thesis-driven essays: 1. students go into autopilot and use the genre without thinking critically about it or about other options 2. papers are transformed into arguments that must be provable, simple enough to support without complex, open-ended questioning 3. thesis-driven papers are not a necessary developmental writing phase that students must go through in order to write other things. Instructors and teachers should assign more reflective and original writing tasks to students.

May 20, 2009

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

May 18, 2009

Emerson, Plagiarism, a Turnitin Trial, and an Experience of Cultural Disorientation

Emerson, Lisa. “Plagiarism, a Turnitin Trial, and an Experience of Cultural Disorientation.” In Originality, Imitation, and Plagiarism. Eds. Eisner and Vicinus. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2008. 183-194.

Emerson, a writing professor at Massey University (New Zealand), was part of a trial of the Turnitin software at her institution and argues two points. First, Turnitin is a useful tool for teachers to use only if they are ready and equip to interpret the findings of the reports to create pedagogical solutions and outcomes. Second, students learn how to avoid plagiarism and practice citation best through individual conferences with teachers – more than through the fear of punishment (ratted out by Turnitin) or classroom lessons on citation systems. Individualized pedagogy is key for student learning about citation, and compositionists need to take the lead in universities that adopt Turnitin.

Quotable Quotes

If teachers aren’t interpreting and using Turnitin pedagogically: “Turnitin becomes a blunt instrument to accuse those of struggling to grasp a complex intellectual skill of moral failure – with huge repercussions for those students” (190).

Notable Notes

likens tipping rules (which vary country by country) to learning the intricacies of the academic citation system

problem with treating all students as potential cheaters by running them through Turnitin

Grossberg, History and the Disciplining of Plagiarism

Grossberg, Michael. “History and the Disciplining of Plagiarism.” In Originality, Imitation, and Plagiarism. Eds. Eisner and Vicinus. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2008. 159-172.

Grossberg focues on how the American Historical Association’s statement on plagiarism affects the policing for plagiarism among professional historians. He highlights the ineffectiveness of the statement to punish or allow redress for an act of plagiarism and argues that plagiarism policing should be left up to universities (who can do something about professors who plagiarize) and the public.

Notable Notes

Alexis de Tocqueville – the “shadow of the law” – how the law controls and governs our actions outside of a courtroom

popular historians not subject, not members of AHA

Rife, “Fair Use,” Copyright Law, and the Composition Teacher

Rife, Martine Courant. “‘Fair Use,’ Copyright Law, and the Composition Teacher.” In Originality, Imitation, and Plagiarism. Eds. Eisner and Vicinus. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2008. 145-156.

Rife argues that students and educators need to study fair use within copyright law, because, as she shows by explaining the five Supreme Court cases that deal with fair use, even the court rulings are vague on what exactly is protected under fair use. Fair use allowances have increasingly been restricted so that now you can be in copyright infringment for the unauthorized use of copyrighted materials, not just for making a profit off of them (like selling your term paper.) Rife advocates for composition teachers to be proactive instead of living in fear, leading campaigns to rewrite university guidelines about fair use if they don’t agree with them instead of quietly subverting them.

Notable Notes

overview of fair use US Supreme Court and lower court case (including MGM v. Grokster (2005) and Kinkos case)

court decisions are often based on market impact – public good takes a backseat

copyright protection is automatic and includes four rights: the right to reproduce, publically display, perform, and prepare derivative work. Creative Commons licenses allows authors to opt out of some of those rights.

Lessig: we overrely on fair use to authorize unauthorized use. Instead, change the law from automatic full copyright protection

Walden and Peacock, Economies of Plagiarism

Walden, Kim and Alan Peacock. “Economies of Plagiarism: The i-Map and Issues of Ownership in Information Gathering.” In Originality, Imitation, and Plagiarism. Eds. Eisner and Vicinus. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2008. 133-144.

Walden and Peacock give an overview of the issues in students using Web-based sources for their papers, specifically the contradiction between the Web seeming like a free, publicly-owned space (like a park) and the reality of the privately-owned information in it, which must be cited and used properly. They developed the i-map, a heuristic students can use to keep track of their research processes to make sure they properly document what they have found. They argue that there has been an additional onus placed on students to evaluate sources in a way they did not need to when they relied on library books and articles.

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