Re: Grading, Plagiarism, Webbed Writing and ...

Darlene Sybert (c557506@SHOWME.MISSOURI.EDU)
Mon, 5 Aug 1996 17:03:36 -0500

On Mon, 5 Aug 1996, Mick Doherty wrote:
> came in. One of my more affable students, who had done okay on the initial
> quiz, just sort of hung out and watched his classmates re-write theirs for
> a week; then right before the "final deadline" (ugh) for the re-write he
> threw up a page where he linked to various answers his *classmates* had
> come up with -- essentially picking the bext answer to each of the ten
> coding-response tasks.

I think there are several things going on here, not the least of which is
your own attitude toward grading. Since you work for an entity that insists
on them, I think you have to put your attitude towards grading aside in this
situatio because it is coloring your judgment of how to handle a serious
problem-- one that will happen more and more as we rely more and more on
computers in the classroom.

First, if a student came to class for a quiz, walked around the room
selecting the answers from other student's papers that he liked, and then
sat down and wrote those answers on his own paper, I bet you wouldn't
have any problem deciding how to handle the situation.

Second, aside from the grade issue, this isn't actually plagarism if
he gave credit to the students to whom he linked.

Third, to tell you the truth, variations on this have affected the way
I teach my Writing with Computers class. At first, I gave a journal
assignment that had them all writing on the same topic or essay or question,
but it soon became apparent that half of the class was waiting for the other
to do their essays and send them to the list; then paraphrasing them and not
even reading the assigned material. It's a little more work for the
instructor, but it is possible to structure assignments so that this
isn't possbile...and, most importantly, I stopped having them send these
to the list before class. Instead, the responses come to me 24 hours
before late submissions accepted...then, I sent them all to
the list after the deadline date. Students were able to read each others
submissions in prep for next day's class, but not to paraphrase-plagarize.
The application of this method to your test would be for the students
to complete their pages, always disabling the net connection when not
working on them. Then in class on the due date, they can all put the
necessary address back in their page. (I'm not saying that well, because
I can't think of the right terms...)
Or, how about Greg Foster's program for student evaluaions, Eric,
how did he set that up so that once written, they couldn't be accessed?
Is that something that could be done in this situation?
I emphasize this because I do not believe any instructions are
going to prevent this from happening again. If you tell them they can't do
this specific thing, they will do it, but paraphrase the answers and not
give the credit to the student whose work they use...
I know, I'm a cynic...or a realist, if you happen to agree with me.

Darlene Sybert
University of Missouri at Columbia (English)
TuTh 12:30-2:00 Tate Hall, Room 16 (Knock)
They say that Hope is happiness;/ But genuine Love must prize the past
And Memory wakes thoughts that bless/ They rose the first--they set the last.
And all that Memory loves the most/ Was once our only Hope to be,
And all that Hope adored and lost/ Hath melted into Memory.
Alas! it is delusion all;/ The future cheats us from afar/
Nor can we be what we recall,/ Nor dare we think on what we are. -Byron