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CCCC 2001 in Review: I.26 Emerging Ethics in the English Classroom

Chair: Phillip Sipiora

Joyce Karpay presented "Ethics and Cheating: The Morality of Plagiarism."

Karpay began by delimiting the accidental or patchwork cases of plagiarism, and focused on intentional cases of plagiarism. Karpay wanted to contextualize intentional plagiarism as part of the system. Karpay looked closely at plagiarists as individual cases that are situated with a number of institutional and systematic factors. The presenter saw the plagiarist as an outlaw and preferred to question personal desires and power relationships to the point where plagiarism can be seen as subversion of educational power structures. Despite good, process based instruction, Karpay has analyzed a number of cases and found a number of explanations that go beyond "law breaking." Karpay sees one plagiarists as doing so because personal reflection was not possible and sees another case as the student doing so because he or she wanted to be included and recognized as part of an institution. Individual concerns that teachers typically face indicated for Karpay that plagiarism is rarely directed at a teacher.

Phillip Sipiora "Ethos, Ethics, and the Interface in English Studies"

The speaker read a paper using Aristotle and his own emphasis on virtue, character and habit in terms of practice and routine in the classroom. Sipiora used interfacing as verb and used it interchangeably with interacting. Next. Sipiora brought Heideggar into the discussion as a thinker who relates epistemology and ontology and as a bridge to talking about the electronic interface. Next, the speaker used Lebinas who asserts that "one is defined in terms of one's interactions with others." Next, Martin Buber was brought in to stress relations between self and other. Then Sipiora brought us back to Lebinas's "world into words." Then Bhaktin was used to caution about the process of intention and engaging others. Simon Chritchley was used next to emphasize the role of others in students and in individual language acts as a way to frame his thinking about ethics. Then came Leyotard to help Sipiora with genre because Sipiora believes that Leyotard sees the selection of genre as an ethical decision. Students must be aware of their readers, claimed Sipiora, and with help from Wayne Booth, ethics of writers and readers was further explained. Next was J. Hillis Miller giving Sipiora the phrase, "the ethical moment" to dramatize the idea that a student's consciousness of ethics moves from implicit to explicit. The final point was that the interface makes students see outward as they look inward.

Gerald Lucas presented "The Ethics of CyberThought."

Lucas analyzes Microsoft and asks why Microsoft is still a monopoly and why this does not seem to be an ethical problem for educators and students. His research shows a number of schools leaving Macintosh platforms and supporting and recommending widows operating systems despite research that shows that Macintosh requires 25% less technological support. Why are less reliable, more difficult systems and computers being imposed on educators? Lucas makes the point that educators have freedom to chose books and design their own courses, but lack the same freedom when it comes to choosing computers. Lucas asserted that lacking choice, we are the victims of a "predatory monopoly" if we don't learn about open source software. Certainly the price of Lynix is cheaper, and the support comes from a community of users. [WH]

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