[Air-l] Re: Plagarism

JASON NOLAN jason.nolan at utoronto.ca
Tue Mar 26 09:28:45 PST 2002

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

I almost never have problems with plagarism. I simple make up insane 
assignments that have no relation to anything I could imaging anyone 
else doing...  Well, I wish I was that good. I do try. Questions like:
  "There is no such thing as Nature." Discuss, supporting or refuting 
this statement, in relation to the readings and lectures this 
fall."or "How do you get your hands dirty in the cybergarden?" (This 
is a senior course on discourse and metanarrative for environmental 
science students.)

I have also used a bit of software I made up called vase 
(http://achieve.utoronto.ca/vase/) to have students publish their 
work. The main reason is to get them to think of their work as part 
of a public discourse, but it also makes it easier for me to keyword 
search it. They then also have to deal with copyright issues for 
images and audio they use. There are always some minor problems, 
screwups and omissions, but they do end up confronting the issues. 
When I do get a plagarised paper, it turns out to be horribly off 
topic and stands out even more than they would otherwise.

I sit on our university's tribunal for academic offenses, so it is 
neat to see things from both sides.

But all in all, the advice is to be creative in your assignments, 
plan to make plagarism difficult, and make students confront the 
problems of the online environment personally.

What are others doing?

Jason Nolan PhD   
Scholar in Residence,
Knowledge Media Design Institute
University of Toronto
ICQ: 6238593

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