Friday, July 23, 2010

Candy from Casa Grande has migrated to CM--time for some Plagiarism Smackdown

To Little Miss Nora Nitwit:

Let's get one thing straight honey: I'm not stupid.

I may not claim the honor of sharpest crayon in the box, but I'm not stupid. You, however, could be easily outsmarted by a cactus.

I can't say I was too surprised to find that your entire first paper was plagiarized (seriously, 82% on turnitin for a 3 page paper? The only thing in that paper that you actually wrote was your name, my name, and the date). You had the poorest attendance grade in the entire class, mainly because you thought that regularly gracing me with your presence 45 minutes into a 1.5 hour class would get you full credit. Guess what? It didn't.

But, unfortunately, I was a softy. I allowed you to resubmit the paper for a maximum grade of D (which I thought was pretty fucking generous). I shouldn't have let you do this in the first place--I should have failed you outright on that paper and given you the zero you so obviously earned. I admit it--I didn't want to deal with your bitching. So I gave you a second (undeserved) chance.

So you submitted a different paper, on a completely different topic. Here's the part that makes you dumber than a cactus: The second paper was EVEN MORE PLAGIARIZED THAN THE FIRST PAPER. 83% on turnitin.

Honey, I get why you plagiarized the first time. You thought you could get away with it, you were too lazy to do your own work, you knew that your own writing sucked more than a supermassive black hole, etc. But seriously, what kind of rock were you raised under that would make you think that, after I detected it the first time, I WOULDN'T DETECT IT THE SECOND TIME?

Perhaps it's time you looked at leaving college and entering the working world. I hear the local McDonald's is hiring.

Enjoy the F,

Candy from Casa Grande


  1. I had a student who plagiarized her entire paper from the ASSIGNED READING. Which I suppose it never occurred to her I might have read.

  2. Let's face it, we're better off dumping these duds in Siberia; there's lots of work to do and the Russian government would love an influx of free labor....with a little luck and 16 million snowflakes maybe they could finally reinforce the "Sarcophagus" over the ruins of Reactor Four at Chernobyl - right now birds can nest inside it. Three-eyed birds.

  3. A colleague who is active in the Wikipedia had a student turn in an entire paper copied from the Wikipedia article the colleague himself wrote under his real name. What's the superlative of #epicfail?

  4. Sorry to be picky, but you know Chernobyl is in the Ukraine right? I'm sure they'd love the help but the Ukrainians aren't big on jokes about forced labor and that particular facility. Hate to be pedantic, but Siberia is rather far from there and your comment re-enforces a sterotype that the Ukraine is a far wasteland and not part of Europe.

  5. Merely,

    Didn't you know that it's not plagiarism if you copy from the assigned reading? Duh! You also don't have to cite if you copy from the textbook. Well, at least, according to the plagiarists I teach! They were so confused when I handed out various levels of Fs. Now I specifically address copying from course material in my syllabi . . . which gets longer and longer as my students get dumber and dumber (or sneakier and sneakier).

  6. In my comparative religions class, I had a student turn in a "research paper" that turned out to be the (verbatim) Wikipedia entry on the religion, which was one of more well-known sects, though I can't remember which one, and would have been very easy to find excellent sources for. The best part was the paper was very well documented and in perfect MLA format. Turns out he spent days converting every one of the citation on Wikipedia to MLA and creating a perfect Works Cited page from them.

    I had a good friend who taught speech when I was an adjunct. He had a student give a brilliant speech one day. He went back to his office to read the independent weekly paper, for whom his direct supervisor was a regular commentator. When began reading the commentary or that week, he discovered that the "brilliant" speech had been copied verbatim from the spot in the paper, which had been written by a professor/chair in the freaking uni. Good stuff.

    I've decided to do a unit on plagiarism in every single class from now on, probably in week one. I'm still working out the details, but it needs to be more than the regular talk I've given in the past. Possibly a webquest.

  7. One problem I encounter frequently is that it takes a good 4 or 5 times for the dears to understand that using a source word for word is not the same as "research." The best effect I've gotten is the advice that they make a list of important facts which they intend to use in their paper and then write the paper from that list. The response is usually along the lines of "Why not just put together the facts as they are written?" And then the light dawns and I get to spell out plagiarism for the last time.

    Until my next class, that is.

  8. Shouldn't the student be expelled from the university or college for committing a serious academic offense twice?

  9. Sultans said...

    Shouldn't the student be expelled from the university or college for committing a serious academic offense twice?


    Certainly: some would say the student should be expelled for doing this even once. It's not so easy, though, if you have an Incompetent Dean of Students, like mine. If the police operated like he does, you'd have to meet and "discuss everyone's feelings" with the burglar who'd raided your home, before taking no action whatsoever.

  10. And I didn't mean catching people 4 or 5 times, just explaining it 4 or 5 times, as new students committed the same offense.

    And a lot of that is from my part time online "uni", where mixed signals are a part of daily life.

  11. Every time one of my students has plagiarized more than once, I reported them and they got suspended for a year.

  12. I had one fucktard plagiarize, damned near verbatim, one of my exemplary papers for a 4 page writing assignment. The beauty in it all was that it was to be peer-reviewed by classmates, who promptly tore him a new asshole. He got an F, of course, but I didn't turn him in. I rather enjoyed the mob of snowflakes tearing him up.

  13. Kurt, I had to drop the "peer review" section of my classes because the "peers" were actually just as clueless as one another. Or, perhaps, the A students didn't want the F students threatening them for telling them they were doing it wrong.


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