Re: Re[2]: Grading, Plagiarism, Webbed Writing and ...

Mark Gellis (mgellis@SILVER.SDSMT.EDU)
Fri, 9 Aug 1996 23:44:35 -0600

I have been reading much of the discussion on this subject and I think
we have, as we sometimes do, run into the problem that we are trying to
discuss a particular case and the implications of that case at the same

Certainly, we should reward creativity. And certainly we should be
flexible regarding assignments, letting students, as much as we can
within reason and propriety, take charge of their own education.
(In my case, this means making most assignments frameworks--"please
write an autobiographical essay about an incident that was significant
to you" or "please write a set of instructions") and then assuming
that in a few cases I will have to let students do individualized
projects because the basic one is completely inappropriate for
them (my 55-year-old artist who runs her own appraisal firm just
does not need to know how to write a resume--she makes a lot more
than I ever will running her own business). And we do have to
take into account that the rules are, in some cases, changing,
both because of new technolgies and because as rhetoricians we
have explored the foundations (and inconsistencies) of the text
we call the academy and are responding to that new knowledge.

Having said all that, and with deep respect for those ideas, I
still believe the student in question was trying to pull a fast one.
I think Mick should give him a chance to do the assignment, not
because "everyone else did it that way," but because the assignment
seems to test certain knowledge and skills and this student's
"answer" does not provide clear proof that he has those knowlege
(ooops, sorry about those typos...I'm stuck in mail right now
and can't fix it, it should read "he has that knowledge") or
those skills. A re-write is a fair option, I think; it does
not let the student get away with pulling a fast one, but it
does give him a chance to prove he can do the assignment.

Hope this helps.