Plagiarism and forgetting sources

69 posts in this topic

Posted

http://www.toytownge...0&#entry2975160

 

This story about a politician who may have cheated to get her Doctor title caught my imagination.

 

I wonder how she´s feeling..what went through her mind? The repercussions..we shall see.

 

Ok, the point is: can you admit to having cheated to pass an exam of any kind?

 

When I was 11, the system was that you sat next to an older boy in exam time so you couldn´t exchange ideas/answers because they were different papers.

 

I asked the one-year-older boy next to me the capital of France! :) The bastard gave me the wrong answer but anyway...!!

 

Ok, own up if you dare...but remember the internet has a long memory!!

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Posted

Well, as an Elementary Education major I had to take a class called Testing and Measurement in the Elementary School. We had True/False quizzes on Fridays, 10 questions. I was unsure of my answer and glommed the paper of my neighbor - changed my answer. And it was wrong! I decided I'd never cheat again, that if I got something wrong I wanted it to be my own wrong answer.

For the curious, I ended up with the highest A in the class, the only time that happened. I loved that class.

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Posted

I remember looking up 7x5 in a tables test at the age of 6, feeling terrible, confessing to the teacher, staying in at playtime, going home, confessing to my Mum, who told my Dad. The world caved in, and I realised that cheating is BAD.

 

Then came Latin, and the realisation that if you failed to learn it, the only way to get the answers was to stick the book under your desk and cheat like mad, Mr Bean style.

 

All worlds away from this huge plagiarism issue which the internet has made so much easier both to do and to detect. It is so easy to take ideas and chunks of work. Thankfully even young secondary kids are now asking if it's OK to use material off the net, and how to do it properly, so maybe the message is slowly seeping in that stealing work is theft. It does seem pretty pointless in adults, chaos, but I suppose it is an extension of the same - wanting the result without making the effort, and feeling that if you didn't get caught, then you did a good job.

 

john g - not in exams, but those oddbods who studied maths where I went had homework every day, usually lots, and the lecturers were so used to collaborative efforts that they would mark one paper from each college, and announce something along the lines of 'St John's made a mistake on no.4 part b...' which I found very funny. Exams were run like isolation blocks, so the hangers-on fell off at that point.

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Posted

When we were in our student flat we had the fridge magnet which read 'copying from one source is plagiarism, copying from several is research'. I was much better at being a student than I was at studying.

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Posted

I first cheated on a geography test when I was in the 9th grade. I saw other kids doing it in previous exams and wanted to give it a try. I was soo nervous and did try, but I had studied anyhow so didn't need the notes I left on my book underneath my desk anyway. It was a rush indeed, but I was too afraid of getting caught.

 

Fast forward to graduate school. In one of my lab classes, we had to write a small program and I was way behind and as I was heading into the lab to work on it, I ran into a German graduate exchange student who was also in that class. I told him what I was going to do and he said, why bother, I could copy his code. I was flustered. He was so cool about it. I thought he was trying to trap me. He said that was pretty normal in Germany. They called it sharing work!

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Posted

Plagiarism is particular bad when you are the Bildungsminister I guess and to be found out after 15 some years is not cute.

 

The only subject I ever failed was English because it had stupid verbs! Just wished my Professor was still alive to show her I was not so stupid after all.

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Posted

 

I remember looking up 7x5 in a tables test at the age of 6, feeling terrible, confessing to the teacher, staying in at playtime, going home, confessing to my Mum, who told my Dad. The world caved in, and I realised that cheating is BAD.

 

Kiplette, I see that you are British and I know exactly what you mean. For us, cheating at exams is a Mortal Sin. Not so the Germans, I'm afraid.

 

I was shocked when I first encountered the German attitude. Everybody -- and I mean everybody -- took "Spickzettel" into exams with them. These were tiny notes in minuscule type, folded up and tucked into shoes, bras, socks. There was literaly a trade in them: I think one of the students was actually producing them commercially and selling them, in all subjects. People laughed and joked about having them and everyone scrambled to get a seat at the back of the room. The exam supervisors knew, of course, having once been students themselves, and studiously kept their eyes down and smiled secretly to themselves, shaking their heads as if to say, kids will be kids. I don't think anyone was ever disqualified for cheating.

 

I didn't do it. I couldn't, I really couldn't. I didn't even consider it. People laughed at me and called me a prig and it sounds awfully goody-goody to confess, but I think it's just something so thoroughly drummed into you in the British educational system you cannot do it. I willingly sat at the front of those exams and I was very much aware of all the giggling and passing of notes going on behind me -- some students would arrange to swap their Zettel so as to cover all possible questions. It was awful, especially knowing that I was putting myself at a huge disadvantage.

 

 

I told him what I was going to do and he said, why bother, I could copy his code. I was flustered. He was so cool about it. I thought he was trying to trap me. He said that was pretty normal in Germany. They called it sharing work!

See!

 

Plagiarism is something else altogether; I don't remember ever having received instructions as to the rights and wrongs of quoting back then. We didn't have the easy cut-and-paste options of the internet back then, and it also wasn't as easy to check. I'm sure it was done.

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Posted

I remember having to sign an honor code at my college. It was something all students had to do, and basically said that I would not cheat or plagiarize, among other things. Getting caught cheating could get you kicked out of the class with a failing grade, suspended, or even expelled depending on the severity.

 

There was a huge scandal at Harvard recently over cheating, involving a take-home final and collaboration on answers. More than a few students were expelled.

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Posted

When I was at school in Hull, Yorkshire in the mid-1960s I remember a lad once attempting to get a peek at his neighbour's work being immediately subjected to an instant shower of scornful comments and black looks. He went bright red and when the teacher looked up he put his hand up asked to be excused to go to the toilet and then went home for two days. We were about 10 years old and I doubt any of that class ever considered the risk of such shame being worth taking a chance.

 

On the ZDF/ARD Morgen Magazine they just showed last evenings Uni Dusseldorf announcment that they had withdrawn the Doktor title from Education Minister 'Mrs Schavan' for systematic and intentional plagiarism.

 

Her lawyer immediately announced her intent to challenge the Uni at law. She was not available for comment as she was in South Africa on a 'long term planned visit'. No comment from her own party despite immediate demands for her resignation from the Green and SPD education spokespersons.

 

The shameless hussy!

 

Oh, no! Now the CSU/CDU spokesman just expressed his parliamentary group's confidence in her scientific and training efforts for the government and his wish that she should continue through next year to deliver such a high performance standard. I'm just wondering if they're being serious, it's a Fasching gag, or they just don't even possess a sense of political survival.

 

2B

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Posted

 

Just like the Germans like to believe they do everything better than everyone else, the British always seem more than a little overburdened by notions of their own honesty. Pity those damn facts keep getting in the way. Here is the reality of academic dishonesty in British universities. People are people. Many will cheat if you give them a chance. I've supervised exams in Ireland and I've been supervising university exams in Germany for two years. From my experience, there is no difference in how the candidates behave. You need to stay on top of the situation and remove every incentive for them to cheat.

 

I've no doubt whatsoever that honesty had taken a huge plunge in Britain over the last 30 - 40 years. Just as ethics and morals in general. I know for a fact that as I was growing up in the 5's and 60's cheating in exams was drummed into you as the Sin of Sins. The behaviour I described in my post would have been impossible in a British school or Uni back then.

In many other ways, I consider Germans more honest than Brits today.

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Posted

I counterfeited once (when I was six or seven) my Mom's signature on a bad test. I was caught (but how did they know?!) and never ever tried again.

 

As for cheating, nope. I am blessed to have a good memory and I had quite good grades at school.

At University, well... for the subjects I couldn't be bothered to study, I just took the fact that I would inevitably fail the exam as a life lesson. And indeed - after having miserably failed one or two oral exams, and survived it, I became much much less stressed. :) I'm still anxious today, but I know for sure that this helped me to overcome a bit of my "fail" phobia.

 

I miss University. Especially the learning, and carefree living.

 

EDIT: When it comes to sources and plagiarism, I had a specific class about how to quote and write correctly the sources at the end of a paper. So there was no excuse at all not to know how to do it.

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Posted

Apparently the Schavan case is not as clearcut as the Guttenberg case:

 

Der Fall Schavan ist kein einfacher. Die 57-Jährige hat dicke Fehler gemacht, keine Frage. Aber sie ist keine Blenderin wie der gefallene Hoffnungsträger der CSU, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, der seine ganze Arbeit im Copy-und-Paste-Verfahren zusammenpuzzelte. Spiegel (= She definitely made mistakes but isn't a phony like G., who copy-and-pasted his whole thesis.)

 

Apparently it was a borderline case, but the university was under some pressure to take the title away or they would have looked bad themselves.

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Posted

 

Damals, 1980, das waren eine kleine, gerade in die Uni Düsseldorf integrierte Fachhochschule und eine junge Frau, die wegen eines guten Arbeitsangebots mit der Promotion zum Schluss in Eile geriet.

Die strittigen Passagen ihrer Arbeit sind nicht nur Flüchtigkeitsfehler, aber sie sind in ihrer Mehrzahl doch auslegungsfähig. Was sich wissenschaftlich beim Zitieren gehört, war zwar schon zu Einsteins Zeiten klar. Aber Schavan ist dennoch kein Paradebeispiel für bewusste, vorsätzliche Täuschung.

Die beanstandeten Passagen enthalten meistens den Namen der zitierten Autoren, nur sind nicht alle der von ihnen übernommenen Gedanken den Urhebern eindeutig zugeschrieben.

Welt

Says die Welt: she was in a hurry to take up a good job offer back in 1980 so rushed her thesis. The passages in question aren't just slips of the pen, but can be explained. She isn't a good example of deliberate deception. The passages mostly include the names of the authors quoted but it is not always clear what parts are original thought and what comes from those other writers.

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Posted

I'm studying at the Open University at the moment. They take plagiarism and referencing conventions very seriously, as all universities do/should. There are pretty harsh penalties for plagiarism/collusion and after your first couple of assignments you lose quite a lot of marks if you don't cite and reference material properly. Every year we have to take a refresher course in "Good Academic Practices". So I don't cheat, and I don't see the point in cheating anyway - university is about developing skills, if you're copying other people's work, you're not really learning much. But I know a lot of people in Britain who have cheated, usually because they don't have enough confidence in their own abilities or leave things to the last minute so decide to cut corners. My dad's boss helped his son write his final dissertation for a Business degree at Leeds, for example.

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Posted

Appropriate quote on "Clients from Hell" website recently:

 

"It’s not plagiarism when you use Word’s thesaurus to change all the words!"

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Plagiarism isn't only in academia. Does anyone remember the Kaavya Viswanathan case? She was a Harvard student who go a $500000 advance for her novel, Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life.

 

"Its 2006 debut was highly publicized while she was enrolled at Harvard University, but the book was withdrawn after allegations that portions had been plagiarized from several sources.Viswanathan apologized and said any similarities were "completely unintentional and unconscious." All shelf copies of Opal Mehta were ultimately recalled and destroyed by the publisher, and Viswanathan's contract for a second book was canceled."

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