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.

Authentic vs Performance Self

As soon as I started reading the definition of performance self I said "Yep, that's me". This is because unlike authentic self, I do not feel a strong connection with my words. The book goes into describing what kind of person is described under the performance self. I think that Most of the people I know are performace self because they are very laid back and do not really care about their words and others or how they are used. One thing that really stuck out to me was that She describes them as being "Goal oriented" but in terms of just gettong the job done and not really caring about the content/context, which also came up today in class. We wrote our ideas about authentic and performance self and then made counterarguments. Authentic was all for ones self and not relying on anyone Else or their controbutions. An argument was that they would be too Independent and self sufficent to take in someone elses ideas that would make their own ideas into even better ones. Also, when placed in a situation where they would have to work in Groups, they would Be less prone to listen to other's ideas. Those who qualified as performane self were viewed as being more group oriented and did not mind collaborating with others to help them think of their ideas. An argument was that they would be more likely to cheat, an idea that is also stated in the book. Blum's description of authentic self as being integral sort of threw me off because it was like people who are performance self are intergal too. I like how Blum said that many of the instructors at institutes grew up a generation where authentic self was practiced more often. As à result, they are more strict about citing sources and coming up with ideas that are truly your own.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Something Borrowed

I've decided to write about the article because the book was not as interesting. When I first started reading the article, I was a little discouraged because it was 11 pages long and was praying that it wouldn't be boring. I liked the preliminary of the stroy because I had no idea what was about to go on but it was built up to be something good. As the story revealed, I was in complete shock that the playwright had stolen the physciatrist but more so at the fact that she had taken entire quotes and scenes that were completely if not incredibly close to the life of the physciatrist. What got me even more is that after wards they met face to face and the playwright said that she had read it in an article and thought it was "news", as a result she did not cite it. Even though she did not cite it, I do not think her morals and ethics should have been questioned because all of the other resources she used were cited. I truly believe that her not citing was an honest mistake and that she was not trying to pull a fast one or anything on the phyciacrist. I was very sad that the media had slandered her and was disappointed at the way the physciatrist went about doing so. I think before anything drastic was done they should have had a one on one meeting with one another. Another point that the article brought up is plagiarism in music and how it is viewed and handled. On hundreds of instances some one has sampled a part of someones song, even if they "originally" wrote, chances are some part of the song is sampled from another. When cases like that are brought to trial even now, I am usually always on the side of the person who is getting sued because it's music and in order to create new music many times they sample others. The only thing that I do not condone is someone talking the entirety of someones work completely without asking for permission. I guess that is what the playwright did but she cited other sources which shows how that it was not on purpose. This is a prime example of how complex and incomplete as to what we categorize as plagiarism. She felt that because it was news she did not have to cite it, even though others felt that she should have and because she didn't, it's plagiarism. There needs to be a universal at least for the US definition of what is seen as plagiarism and what is not in order to limit and exclude all of the confusion and grey areas about the situation.

Friday, February 5, 2010


An essay is a collective piece of writing that has a main focus on one thing and sub categories to support or talk more about that particular subject. A good essay always includes an strong thesis which usually always results in a strong introduction and the rest of the paragraphs. One thing that I always put in my introduction is a brief summary of all of the main points that I am going to make in my essay. As a result, the reader can be prepared and know what it is I am going to talk about and it helps me organize my essay( mainly paragraph order). The last sentences of each paragraph should quickly reinstate the main idea of your paragraph as well as a look to what will be in your next one. I have only started doing this about a year or so ago so I am trying to get better at it. With this skill, I seem to be able to write essays with greater ease each time and with practice in using these skills, you too will improve your writing (essays) :)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Intro and Chapter 1

The introduction to the book was very interesting. I'm glad that it
went into detail about the different types of people who were
interviewed and studied. The the thing that I identified with the most
was when she talked about the college students lives. It really mad me
reflect on all of the pressure that was on me to go to college and the
years of training and preparation to do so. Another thing that I was
able to relate to was inter textual activity. This is because my
friends and I are constantly referring to a quote that was said on
television or in a movie. However, we hardly ever quote from an
"academic text" and if we do, we use it very carefully ( I still do
not know why). I agree that when students are caught plagiarizing,
though there should be consequences. I also believe there should be
some type of look into why they did it( circumstances). It was a
little strange that they interviewed so many people but I guess they
had to in order to get a variety of answers. The interviewers asked
students about the goals for college as well as social life,
intellectuality, and circumstantial plagiarism they knew or had heard
about. All of these elements play a key part into understanding
plagiarism from an average college students perspective. I did not care
about what kind of school the interviews where done at yet alone what
school it was, but I'm sure it is to others.
Whenever I thought about plagiarism i never questioned the persons
morality. It was shocking to hear that a few people believe that
people who plagiarize are "immoral" although I'm assuming they are from
an older generation. The definitions of plagiarism vary which makes it
difficult to put an exact and true understanding of it, hence the
extensive research Blum has done on it. When she began to give all of
the examples of people who were caught plagiarizing in well known
professional businesses, I was astounded. Almost everyday I encounter
a writing or saying that has a parallel structure to something that
has been said before. Another shocking revelation that was revealed
was that professors plagiarize more than students. It never crossed my
mind that professors would plagiarize because I always thought of them
as being upholders of the rules. My mouth nearly dropped when they
found over 70,000 cases of possible plagiarism through eBlast. What was
even more ridiculous was that those caught are hardly ever prosecuted
and are usually ignored. It really opened my eyes about plagiarism and
i am eager to read more about it.