Friday, May 21, 2010
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
Thursday, April 8, 2010
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
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
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
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