Monday, August 2, 2010

These Kids Today

Do not seem to understand authorship, or so this article says (notice that I am citing the source).  The funny thing is that the end of the article essentially shows that it is not about changes in technology but a more basic and enduring truth. “Writing is difficult, and doing it well takes time and practice,” he said. 

There are plenty of anecdotes in the article, but it is really hard to say there is any trend going on.  Perhaps as universities become more credential providing places rather than the centers of learning and critical thinking, then plagiarism may be more likely.  But I don't know.  I have not seen more or less of it.  I have sent it.  In an honors class, no less. But it was not a question of not understanding the rules, but a conscious effort to game the system, lying to me about the project and then weaving together several papers into one.  And it got this student an F and he/she would not be gaining admission to our grad program anytime soon nor get the honors degree that was the original ambition.

While McGill does allow and support profs who use's tracking system, I do not use it.  I assume honesty and go from there.  It may mean we miss a few cheaters, but I try to design the assignments and the grading to separate those who do not do the work from those who do.  I do need to state more clearly at the outset of my classes my expectations.

But I am perhaps spoiled as the students at McGill tend to be there for the right reasons (unlike many of the folks who play reality TV show games)--to learn, to figure out what they think and why.

1 comment:

Steve Greene said...

I really love Kevin Drum's take on this:

p.s. Its so annoying that even though I've already logged in with my google account it makes me do the stupid word thing every time.