Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Is it collaboration, or plagiarism (re-visited)?

Approximately six years ago, in July 2009, IPBiz had a post which included the text:

Surprise! On July 21, Mike Masnick had a post Is It Cheating Or Is It Collaboration? with much of the same text from Scott, with a conclusion:

Well said. Again, I don't think that "cheating" is the problem here. The problem is this focus on not teaching people how to work together to solve problems and assuming that everything needs to be done by the individual themselves. That's not how things work in the real world, and it does children a disservice to downplay collaboration and reinforce the idea that building off the works of others is somehow wrong. Standing on the shoulders of giants is important, or we're always reinventing the wheel.

link: http://ipbiz.blogspot.com/2009/07/is-it-real-or-is-it-masnick.html

In September 2016, within a post titled Gwinnett County plagiarism probe: Dozen of students suspended , one finds the text:

LaRosa acknowledged her teen boy will have to serve a one-day suspension for it what his father called collaboration: Using FaceTime with a friend to complete the assignment.

“If they caught him cheating or if they don't follow policy, give him a zero, that's fine. But don't suspend him. And also don't put it on his permanent record. I mean this is not a math test that's being done in a final at a school. It was a summer reading assignment,” said Mill Creek High School parent Marc LaRosa.

A spokesperson called the cheating serious and upsetting that so many pupils violated the honor code

Back in 2007, IPBiz had a post
Is everyone burning their pajamas at age 8?
, which included

The "red flag" was the appearance of hundreds of applications mentioning "burning a hole in pyjamas at age eight" working with a chemistry set.


Here's the spin that TechDirt [Masnick] put on the story:

However, a more reasonable way of looking at it, is that it's teaching students the value of collaborative work, and building on the ideas of those who have come before them. That's a valuable lesson. None of this, of course, excuses passing off someone else's work as your own -- especially in a situation like a personal statement to gain admission into a university. However, it could help to explain the issues of plagiarism in students that shows it's not all about just getting off easy by copying content, and more about a more collaborative approach to content. If that's the case, the response shouldn't be to focus on the moral or ethical issues of "copying," but simply doing a better job of teaching students the borderline between collaborative work and independent work.


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