Innocent Irma is busted for plagiarism. Four assignments in a row cut-and-pasted. I fill out the academic dishonesty report and submit it, cc-ing Innocent Irma. The semester ends. A week after final grades are turned in, Innocent Irma writes to me:Is it possible for me to pass the course without you counting the last four papers into my grade? I do understand your concern and I can give you my 100% promise that I didn't cheat nor plagiarism my work. I try to do the honest work I turn in. If there is any concern, I am fully willing to have you count them as if I never turned it in.Very gracious of her, don't you think?
Very gracious indeed. That's like a public official offering to "settle" for just his paycheck and to "give back" the monetary equivalent of "gifts" he accepted from a corporation which he can 100% promise were not to influence his awarding of contracts.
If the public official is smart, there will be no gifts but he may get things like permission to attend an event or to use certain facilities (access to a private pool or golf course and the like), or having someone pull strings in order to obtain something that is very hard to get but perfectly legal, such as admission for his kids to some kind of exclusive school. He still benefits, perhaps tremendously, but no money or gifts change hands and he does not own the things he gets to use in reality.Better yet, sometimes he may simply obtain a great rebate for something that costs an arm and a leg, thus arguably paying rather than receiving something for free. Or it could be argued that certain gifts or price reductions are based on some kind of merit, such as when free or reduced tuition is offered.
"If the public official is smart..." is where most of the cases we hear about falls apart. Cases of trading favors do occasionally come to light.But trying to evade the plagiarism by disavowing the points of the assignments themselves is rather like the proverbial unringing of the bell.
"Disavowing the points" means getting a zero. It may not even be possible to pass. If possible, then the grade would suffer. The student would still be penalized.
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The willingness to accept a lower score was clear from the start. The penalties for four instances of plagiarism (even if they're rolled into a single instance and/or there were prior offenses) could easily exceed a course failure or mere lower grade. Irma is almost surely trying to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the hope of a lighter sentence. The ship has sailed, horse out of the barn, etc.
How was she even able to do it so many times? Were the assignments submitted at the same time?If they were submitted separately, the student may argue that she should have been taught the right way to do the assignment after the first one. It may also look like the professor is either not very observant (it took four times to notice), or is tolerating some plagiarism as long as the student won't overdo it. Or, four time is clearly overdoing it. The student may simply think that she would have gotten away with one or two instances of plagiarism, maybe even three since it took four to get into trouble.
Certainly what you specuate may be true. If the four assignments were turned in without opportunity for corrective feedback between them, and there was no prior offense, then it could be argued that the sentences for all four should be served concurrently instead of consecutively, which is why I stipulated that they might be rolled into a single instance. However, except for the first sentence, the entire second paragraph is a rationalization but not a defense.As to what Irma thinks, it's pretty clear that she thinks that failing the course is the best-case consequense for her actions, and that she knows that she was in the wrong.
Irma gave me some bull$%^& excuse about not being able to turn in her assignments on time because of the the lava flow (?? somehow it didn't prevent her from coming to class) and then turned in all four assignments at once after the deadlines for all of them had passed.
So, it's not out of the question that this could be considered differently from a case of repeat infractions interleaved with convictions.Just for shits and giggles, would Irma have been better off not to have turned in those assignments, i.e., would she have passed, is the penalty for her infraction failure for the course (or worse), and was she previously busted for the big P?
Also, since the deadline had passed, would the assignments have been accepted if they were not plagiarized? Did she get any special permission to submit them that late or was it possible to do it in that class? Because if proper assignments (or even failing assignments that were not plagiarized) would not have been accepted, it would be unfair to make an exception when the work is plagiarized and you are going to report the violation. If you are treating proper (or merely inadequate but not plagiarized) work as if it did not exist or you did not see it, the fair thing to do is to pretend that the plagiarized work did not exist or you did not see it either.
Just to be clear, my "shits and giggles" questions were aimed at Frankie."...the fair thing to do is to pretend that the plagiarized work did not exist or you did not see it either."It is abundantly clear that the student intended to pass the plagiarized work off as her own; it is therefore a plausible case of attempted academic dishonesty at minimum. Please do some research on the topic of inchoate offense and the inadequacy of factual impossibility as a defense.
The guy who has all C- in my classes for three years emails to tell me how I was his favourite Prof and ask for a reference for grad school...at least it gave other colleagues who've taught him a laugh when I shared...
For the moment, I'm mostly disturbed that my summer online students aren't emailing more (well, except for that one who had questions in a row, each sent in a separate email, last night). I'm sure in a few days I'll be wishing they'd just stop sending emails. Online classes tend to work that way: famine during the lead-up to a deadline, feast/flood just before/after (which is also when I'm in bed, asleep. Just because the deadlines are 11:59 p.m. doesn't mean I'm awake then.)
What time do you go to sleep? Believe it or not, I find that 11:59 is too early to be already asleep. For some reason, I actually find it slightly funny.
I go to sleep around 10 (a little earlier if I can manage, a little later if not), and get up around 6. Especially in the summer, that's my preferred schedule, in part because I'm pretty light sensitive; left to myself, I'd probably wake around dawn year 'round, with my bedtime adjusting accordingly. Since most assignments in my online class take considerably more than 2 hours to complete, this shouldn't really pose a problem for my students. And if they do have a middle-of-the-night question, well, the answer will almost certainly be waiting for them when they get up in the (mid) morning, and I do accept slightly late work (though sometimes with a grade penalty, in fairness to those who started, and finished, on time).
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