Revolution Lullabye

May 25, 2009

Price, Beyond “Gotcha”

Price, Margaret. “Beyond ‘Gotcha!’: Situating Plagiarism in Policy and Pedagogy.” CCC 54.1 (Sept 2002): 88-115.

Price analyzes and compares three plagiarism policies (UMass, Michigan, and Howard’s suggested policy from “Plagiarisms”) to illustrate ways in which university plagiarism policies might better reflect the field’s complex understanding of plagiarism. Since she advocates for situated, local policies, she offers no universal guidelines for universities to adopt, rather focusing on making both the writing of the policy and the teaching of plagiarism open, dynamic, ongoing and dialogue-centered processes that involve students and faculty. Policies need to express the contextual and contested nature of seemingly stable terms like “common knowledge,” “facts,” “your own work/words,” and “sources.” She shows how the policies could be read and understood as institutional genres, and their composing processes (no individual author, borrowing from other policies) contradicts the expectations they state for students.

Quotable Quotes

“We need to stop treating plagiarism like a pure moral absolute (“Thou shalt not plagiarize”) and start explaining it in a way that accounts for the shifting features of context” (90).

“A situated understanding of plagiarism will preserve, not harm academic values of honesty and integrity” (90).

“Plagiarism is a dynamic and locally mediated idea, not an unmoving, absolutely knowable rule” (101).

Notable Notes

leave spaces (literally) in the plagiarism policies for students to write in definitions, examples, questions – use this in class discussions

have students underline on a peers’ paper quotes, paraphrases, and own work in different colored pencils

university policies state expectations for both the academic community at large and novice students


Valentine, Plagiarism as Literacy Practice

Valentine, Kathryn. “Plagiarism as Literacy Practice: Recognizing and Rethinking Ethical Binaries.” CCC 58.1 (Sept 2006): 89-109.

Plagiarism needs to be understood and treated more broadly as a literacy practice rather than a black-and-white ethical binary, for the ethical lens through which we talk about plagiarism casts our students’ identities in particular ways they cannot dictate and does not validate certain kinds of student writing and work. Valentine uses an extended example of Lin, a 3rd year international PhD student who was accused of (and admitted to) plagiarism on a literature review. Valentine sees his lack of citation and original argument not as a criminal, unethical, and dishonest act, but rather as a an unawareness of American graduate education citation and literacy expectations. It is important to see the bigger picture teach plagiarism, then, not just as an ethical problem – one in which all students are in danger of being dishonest – but as a negotiation of cultural and social contexts and literacy practices.

Quotable Quotes

“Plagiarism is a literacy practice…something that people do with reading and writing” (89).

“Plagiarism becomes plagiarism as a part of a practice that involves participants’ values, attitudes, and feelings as well as their social relationships to each other and to the institutions in which they work” (89-90).

“The problem with teaching citation and plagiarism as rule following is that it is not enough for students to know the textual practices of citation. Rather, students need to know citation and plagiarism as literacy practices – as complicated ways of making meaning” (105).

Notable Notes

Butler – performative identites – you have your identity by what you do (students’ identities are formed by whether or not they adhere to textual citation practices and expectations)

students live in fear of plagiarizing. They aren’t safe – even honest students can unknowingly trip up and plagiarize, then labeled as dishonest (fear of going to jail as a kid)

ethical morality (Zygmunt Bauman) – being moral because you are following a rule, not because you are acting on what you think is right…no personal individual moral responsibility or choices needed

Robillard, We Won’t Get Fooled Again

Robillard, Amy E. “We Won’t Get Fooled Again: On the Absence of Angry Responses to Plagiarism in Composition Studies.” College English 70.1 (Sept 2007): 10-31.

Robillard argues that teachers’ affective response to plagiarized student texts – justified anger – needs to be acknowledged and accepted by the discipline and used as way 1. to tap into a full understanding of plagiarism as a relationship between a writer and a reader and 2. to engage the public in conversations about writing and plagiarism. Teachers surpress their anger because they have conflicting identities as writing teachers: the caring, nuturing, student-centered, critical-pedagogy empowering teacher and the objective expert on writing and the teaching of writing. Plagiarism challenges and threatens this split identity, and the discipline has sought solutions for this problem by finding pedagogical solutions and explanations (patch-writing, summarizing.) Robillard uses teachers’ blogs to show how teachers are expressing their anger outside traditional disciplinary venues.

Quotable Quotes

“Writing teachers become dehumanized, disembodied readers of student work” (28) – what happens when their anger is denied

“We cannot have it both ways; we cannot create an identity dependent on a relationship to students that is emotionally supportive at the same time that we maintain our affectless response to plagiarism or suspected plagiarism” (27).

“To deny anger when students we care about plagiarize is to deny our humanity” (27).

“The absence of disciplinary sponsored anger in response to plagiarism thwarts our efforts to make ourselves heard in public discussions about writing in this country” (13).

“anger as social rather than individual, as political rather than neutral” (17)

“The near erasure of teachers’ anger in composition’s scholarship on plagiarism must be read as symptomatic of a disciplinary discourse that, despite much important research to the contrary, persists in suppressing the role of the reader – here, the embodied reader – in interpreting plagiarized texts” (11)

Notable Notes

the anger somewhat stems from the feeling that you were so close to missing it, to not catching plagiarism (18)

this widespread anxiety leads to an obsession to prevent plagiarism

the public doesn’t respect us (Tucker Carlson on Becky Howard’s plagiarism article) because we don’t seem angry about plagiarism, we shouldn’t keep suppressing this “collective rage” (29)

widespread denial of emotions in the academy

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.

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