[Air-l] plagiarism

Bunz, Ulla K ulla at ukans.edu
Thu Mar 21 12:59:03 PST 2002

Brief synopsis:
In Kansas, we are currently dealing with an interesting case of plagiarism
at the high school level. In brief: a teacher busted a large number of her
students cheating off the Internet on a paper assignment. As stated in her
class syllabus or policy she failed the students. Administration stepped in,
revoked her judgment and let the students pass. She quit her job.

I'm wondering, how are you guarding yourselves against plagiarism? I know
there are online services one (individual or university) can subscribe to in
order to scan for generic phrases and thus, find plagiarism. But, are many
of you using these services for entire papers? For short presentations? For
oral reports? 
And, a related question: How do we teach our students about plagiarism and
cheating off the Internet? How do we explain the difference between publicly
available and well known information (which, by rule of thumb, does not need
to be quoted), and a violation of intellectual property rights? I'm not
talking about online databases or the CNN website, those cases are pretty
obvious, but what about other Internet information venues, and when does a
piece of information become "generally known" in the online environment? 
We had several inquiries on the list for the original sources of Internet
myths. Do we need sources for those? Is it plagiarism if a student downloads
such a myth? It wouldn't be if the story was passed on orally, right, or am
I wrong there?

I would love to hear advice, opinions, strategies, etc. on this!

Ulla Bunz
University of Kansas
Starting summer 2002:
Rutgers University

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