Friday, October 13, 2006

Plagiarism common in ethics courses!?!

Alexander Pruss of Georgetown: "Cheating is sadly common. I catch a case of plagiarism roughly once a year. Ironically, most are in ethics courses."

The Hoya article raises the spectre of student intellectual property rights:

Julia Thompson (SFS ’10), whose high school subscribed to the service, said that she objects to the Web site using students’ work for their own operations without compensation. retains copies of all students’ papers it receives as part of the database against which it checks students’ work. “I don’t like how the work I’ve done is saved online without my permission,” Thompson said. “That should be my choice.”

Curiously, the article does NOT mention
litigations involving plagiarism and Georgetown University (e.g., 274 F. Supp. 2d 71), or, for that matter, litigations involving plagiarism and other universities

Of student rights, the University of Buffalo Reporter noted:

John Ringland, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Mathematics, spoke about recent developments, including a Canadian student suing McMaster University in Hamilton to prevent his papers from being submitted to Turnitin, that "make it timely to think a little a harder about our participation in this service."

"There's a question whether this procedure actually violates rights the students have in their own work," Ringland said, noting that as a result of the successful lawsuit by the student, "The policy at McMaster is that participation in Turnitin is entirely voluntary. Students can opt out of it. I don't know if the U.S. courts will take a similar position on that or not, but it's certainly a possibility."

***Where was Debra Street during the Laurence Tribe incident?***

"I think all of us can sense plagiarism when it happens; we have hunches, we know our fields," Debra Street said. "Actually, doing a competent Google search...typically finds the brilliant piece of plagiarism. I like to start a class with the assumption that if I treat students respectfully, they will be respectful back. And I remind them of that every time they hand in a paper and exam. This is a little too 'Big Brother' for me."

IPBiz asks Debra Street: how many years elapsed before the plagiarism of Laurence Tribe was uncovered? How about the thesis of Martin Luther King which plagiarized a thesis at Boston University and which was reviewed by a professor at Boston University who did NOT see the plagiarism?

The most brilliant piece of plagiarism will hardly be that which is findable on Google (and as noted elsewhere on IPBiz, Google is not doing a good job of indexing. Where has Vai Sikahema's "Rutgers is Wrong" (Aug. 06) gone to?)


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