Stranger Fruit

Over at Adventures in Ethics and Science, Janet has a nice post on the riff she gave to students this semester on plagiarism. I have to say, I too take plagiarism personally in that I cant imagine the students think I am that dumb not to be able to detect it –particularly in this day of Google and That said, I take a different tack with my (usually) honors classes – I stress the damage it will do to their future prospects. Plagiarism at ASU gets you a transcript grade of ‘XE’ which notes failure due to academic dishonesty. Thus, the student can kiss goodbye to any reputable graduate program, law school, or med school. This they take seriously.


  1. #1 anthoanres
    January 29, 2006

    Wow, that’s a really interesting idea, distinguishing failure due to lack of comprehension and academic dishonesty. In a science lab class I teach involving non-science students, fully 1/8th of my students plagiarized on a paper. You are right how ridiculously easy it is to detect. Many of them seemed unaware of the fact that they were engaging in plagiarism, which is pretty amazing considering how seriously the university takes it.

  2. #2 jepalmer
    January 29, 2006

    I agree. Although most of my students aren’t going to graduate school – they’re just trying to get into professional certification programs, or get jobs – an academic dishonesty citation is still going to hurt their prospects and recommendations. Informing them of that is much more effective than going on about ethics.

    Nevertheless, I had about 15% plagiarism last semester in one class – including one spectacular example in which a student simply copied an entire paper that did not match the assigned topic question. Like that’s not conspicuous!

  3. #3 John Lynch
    January 29, 2006

    I will say that since I began highlighting the peril to their future and using an electronic detection service, my encounters with plagiarism have been very few and far between.

  4. #4 Christopher Eliot
    January 30, 2006

    Hey John, I clicked through to her post, and ended up responding to it here. I’d be curious if you have any response. Chris

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