Friday, May 21, 2010

To Whom It May Concern,
Plagiarism has become a great issue on college campuses, specifically San Francisco State University, mainly encouraged by the easy access students have to works and information on the internet. College students are dealing with a lot of things such as work, family, and school work that cause them to be stressed out as well as low on time. Not wanting to stress out about a paper as well as not spend a lot of time on it, students choose the plagiarize by copying and pasting texts from internet sources and passing them off as their own, and other ways. These factors, as well others such as background, student motivations and extra-curricular activities, have been shown to be reasons why many college student plagiarize, as researched by philanthropist Susan Blum and myself, a college student. Although the university cannot control these factors, there are some things that they can do to not only bring more light unto the situation, but also to turn it into a learning experience.
One thing that professors and instructors could do is explain their plagiarism policy in greater detail in the beginning of the semester so that students will know from the beginning of the class. When I conducted interviews for a research assignment on plagiarism and how it relates to student motivations, many of the interviewees said that they were never told the plagiarism policy for their class. A few interviewees said that their instructor did talk to them a little about plagiarism, but it was done very briefly with no thorough explanation of what is considered plagiarism to the instructor, which left students with a grey area. Having a more distinctive outline in the syllabus for the class will not only clarify the policy for students, they will also be able to relate back to it during the remainder of the course. Another thing that the University could do is hold workshops at the beginning of the semester that would provide resources on how to properly cite as well as do research up to the institution’s code. Providing workshops would allow students to be able to know exactly what is expected of them through their academic careers, that way students would not know and receive clarity about the University’s expectations.
It is important that students who attend San Francisco State University know and understand what it means to plagiarize. There are so many different ways to plagiarize, such as copying someone else’s idea and not giving them credit, and letting someone else edit you work with their words, which is why it is plausible that students are sometimes confused. Also, many instructors’ ideas and what is considered as plagiarism are different from one another, which is why it is important for every instructor to let their students know what constitutes as plagiarism and make sure that it coincides with the Universities definition. An example of how unclear explanations of what they constitute as plagiarism or not are problematic and confusing to students happened to me here at San Francisco State University. One of my professors said that it is ok to re-use a paper that we [the students] have already written because it is our own work, and so I did so in another class. However, another one of my professors said that it was not ok to do so, and if I would have the instructor would know because they could use “Turn it in,” a database that can show rather or not a text has been plagiarized or not, and counted it as plagiarism. Another disputable type of plagiarism is patch writing, which scholar Diane Pecorari encourages teachers to teach students, especially ELS students, because it helps writers find and create their own voice (Pecorari, 317-345). However, some instructors may argue that patch writing is another form of plagiarism, which is why it is important that instructors let students know what they view as plagiarism.
If students decide to ignore the instructor’s policies of plagiarism and improper citations, the students should be dealt with accordingly. If the student forgot to properly cite once or twice in their paper, they should not receive an automatic fail on the assignment, which most instructors do. Instead, the instructor should point out the student’s mistake, and take a couple of points off because it was probably done by accident. If the student improperly or does not cite a source on three different occasions, after being warned by the instructor, the student should receive a fail on the assignment. This penalty will motivate students to be more cautious when citing in all of the academic courses, which will benefit both the student and other instructors they have. However, if a student is caught copying entire paragraphs or pages of texts verbatim, they should be dropped from the class and put on probation. Many universities have a very strict plagiarism policy where if the student is caught once cheating, they are kicked out of the university. This policy is a bit harsh because it does not take into consideration the fact that the student might be a onetime offender, which is why if a student is caught plagiarizing like that on two separate occasions, they should get kicked out of the university. If students were given another chance after violating the plagiarism policy for copying large texts, they would not be prone to do it again because they know that the next time they do it, they will be getting kicked out of the university.
San Francisco State University needs to work closely with its professors in order to change its plagiarism policies. This is because the policy that is in affect right now is confusing to many students because it varies and sometimes contradicts that of the instructors. Hopefully these suggestions will prove beneficial in doing so and the university realizing the plagiarism is a problem. Thank you for your time.


Pecorari, Diane. "Good and Original: Plagiarism and Patchwriting in Academic Second-Language Writing." Volume 12 Issue 4: Journal of Second Language Writing (2003).

English 114 Research Assignment: Student Motivations. Pdf File

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Very interesting

The most intersting thing that I have learned through this research assignment is that most students who plagiarize do so because of laziness. I thought it would be because they were pressed for time or did not really know the material all that well. Go figure.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Life at SFSU

I have almost completed a year here at SFSU and it has not been what I expected at all. I went to a high school that had a huge campus life, so coming here was a big change. The best activity that was on campus this year so far has been the pre-protest rave -_-. However, I am taking 19 units this semester so even if there were any parties or what not, I probably would not be going to a lot of them anyway.
My experience at SFSU has been different from students at Noterdame because of all the classes as well as the variety of classes I am taking. I am double majoring in Computer Science and German, so most of my free time is spent learning as much as I can about those two or sleeping. Also, most of the students who go there come from wealthy families so money is not a problem, but I have to make sure that I pass all of my classes so that I do not have to pay to take them over again.
Another thing that most of the students and I probably do not share at that school is probably our motivations for going to college. Because their parents are wealthy, I am assuming that they went to college which means that the students want to go to college as well in order to be successful like them. Although both of my parents went to college, I want to surpass what they achieved through going to college to ensure a better future and life for myself.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


The book I am currently reading right now is Trouble, a novel written by Jesse Kellerman. It is filled with suspense and constantly has new twists which makes it really enjoyable. Unfortunatley, because of Midterms I have not had a lot of time to finish reading. Luckily, spring break is coming up so I plan on using that time off to read the remainder of the book.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Many students today use technology as a means of retrieving information, rather it be current events or specific subject matters. Although many websites online can be helpful and useful to students studies, there must be some sort of precaution when doing so. Wikipedia, one of the top 50 most visited websites, is an online encyclopedia that allows anyone to write information about many subject matters. Although it is a good website to help in research, because anyone can write on the site it often includes bias and false/misleading information. Although many argue that the site is a good to share and learn about numerous amounts of subject matter, the site includes many flaws that can harm student’s judgment and knowledge about a particular subject. As a result, Universities should not allow Wikipedia to be cited in academic writings.

One of the reasons why Wikipedia is not a great source is because it can often include misguided and false information. Many students read the information on Wikipedia and believe that because it is on a popular and widely used web site that the information is correct. However, most do not know that anyone can go in and write information on the site, rather they be a scholar or a person with a keyboard. As a result, the sources are usually not credible which can result in students writing or learning about something that is entirely not true. Even Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, said “For God sake, you’re in college; don’t cite the encyclopedia” in response to students complaints about a failing grade due to the inaccuracy of the information given by Wikipedia. This shows how even though it can be a good source to use, students should seek out other sources to make sure that the information is correct.

When using a website for information, students should seek out other sources to confirm that the statements are true and not bias. Although this goes along with every website you may use n research, this is especially true with Wikipedia because of the lack of control the site has in regards to peoples posts. “Wikipedia is the ideal place to start your research; however, it is not an authoritative source” shows that although it is a good place to get some kind of idea about information you might find out during research through other sites, it should not be a primary one. This is significant because if students use inaccurate information, they might use that information in other academic courses and not even know it. As a result, they will not know that what they are writing may be false or include bias. If Universities allow students to use it as a source, they would be cheating the students by allowing them to believe the misinformation.

One of the main arguments that people make in regards to Wikipedia not being banned is that it includes a lot of information about different subject matter and is told through different perspectives. As a result, students are able to attain information and views that might not be expressed in more legit sites. Although learning and reading about different views is important, bias statements that do not have any sources or barely any truth behind it should not be included in academic writings. Another argument that students make is that if the University does not want students to use it as a primary source, they should teach students to use it. Although this is true, that is something that should be taught to student’s way before they enter the University.

Wikipedia, although it often presents good information about different subject matter, it should not be used as an academic writing source. This is because the information often includes bias and a lot of speculation that has no place in academic writing. More and more students are using the site as a main source without knowing or realizing this, which often results in failing or undesirable grades. As a result, many universities are considering if they already have not banning Wikipedia as being used as a cited source in academic writing. This should be done because the academic writings usually include analysis or facts about the topic; if they have received the wrong information, they cannot do so making the purpose of the writing obsolete.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Inventing the University

This article bought up a lot of ideas that I knew about but did not know the specific terminology like "discourse" which is similar to code switching; when you use a different"voice" for different people and situations. I found it funny that when asked, a lot of students often respond with a quick no when asked if they code switch, probably they don't want to be viewed as being "fake" . However, the truth is that everyone does it all the time, especially in academic writing. Although I have(still trying to fully create) my own style of writing, I would never write a sentence using the same "language" as I would if I were posting a tweet on twitter or something. Even on facebook I am always conscious of my language and sentence structures because I have a few older friends and teachers that can see what I do. This is also know as audience awareness which is discussed in the article as well. All students are taught about the importance of audience awareness and how to write a paper keeping in mind who it is your audience(who is listening to reading the paper) is. When we gave speeches in my communications class last semester, our teacher was constantly reminding of that when writing or planning what it is your are going to speak about, also know who it is you will be talking to. That way, you know what is appropriate and inappropriate to say as well as the style it will be (i.e. comedic). Of course, I always use vocabulary that I know and use; I do not go to the thesaurus and look up "bigger" words to replace them with. It is very obvious when students do that because in an in class essay or writing they never use that kind of vocabulary but in take home essays they do.
When writing an academic piece, especially in college, never what is described in the article "talk down" to the university as sated by the Clay model. It says that it is done by "basic" writers who write as if they were a parent or person of authority and the reader has absolutely no idea about anything in the article. This confuses me because I though that when writing, especially about a specific topic, vagueness was frowned upon because your reader might have no idea what you are talking about. Also, it has been hammered into my head that when writing an academic piece you are supposed to write it as if the reader had never heard or read about the subject before. However, I think that you are not to talk/write it like they are a child. Something that really stood out to me was that when writing, you should always have a clear and firm stance and not be shy or timid when stating it. I often find myself struggling with this in a lot of opinion papers we have to do because I do not like to take sides and usually find the same amount of good and bad in things. That's definitely something that I need to work on.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Blogs I Love

He is one of my favorite artist that is out right now. He always posts up New information about shows and other projects He has going on. You can also check him out on facebook and twitter: which he updates every day.
She always posts about the latest Hot Topics in the music and celebrity world.

Hair and Make-Up is one of my favorite blogs. She is very trendy and always keeps up with the latest fashions but knows where to get the best deals.
I absolutley Love this Blog! Whenever I need some new hair styles or have questions about certain hair products I can read about them on her blog. She specializes in Black hair care which is awesome! 

Her blogs and videos are usually about wig maintenance.Even though i don't wear one, i love all of the different styles that She does with them which i often try on my own hair. She also Blogs about World Events.