Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Academic Dishonesty

Question: How should a teacher deal with problems of academic dishonesty?

Answer: Discuss openly with students what the teacher and the students believe are examples of academic dishonesty. Keep the emotion out of it.

Example: Student seemed to plagiarize an editorial in the New York Times. When questioned, the student said she did not read the New York Times. She had taken the offending passage from a blog which she did not know how to document.

Comment: It’s a good idea to discuss with students what, in the teacher’s opinion, is plagiarism and what is not. Try to clarify in the students’ minds what is plagiarism.

I’ll give you an example of what is likely to occur in such a discussion.  I remember an article, I think it was in The New Yorker, but I really don’t know. The article said in effect that much of what is in the daily newspaper is blatant, unattributed plagiarism. Have I just committed the sin of academic dishonesty? The idea is relevant. I admitted I did not know the identity of my source, and I said so. RayS.

Title: “An Ethical Dilemma: Talking about Plagiarism and Academic Integrity in the Digital Age.” EE Thomas and K Sassi. English Journal (July 2011), 47-53.

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