I’m a little depressed, because tomorrow I’m going to have to confront a student who turned in a plagiarized paper.
At this level of college writing, I understand that some students will have difficulty in grasping MLA format, the importance of parenthetical citation, and the seriousness of plagiarism. I expect some students will fail to appropriately cite source information, and I deal with them has gently as possible. In most cases the student simply does not understand that they cannot cut and paste a line of text without citing it. In this “select all” age, the concept of intellectual property has gotten a little blurry, and I expect some transgressions.
But tonight I discovered that a student had simply taken a Wikipedia entry for Shakespeare, written his/her name on it, and turned it in. The sheer audacity of this little stunt amazes me.
Those of you that know me on a personal level know that within about ten minutes of talking to me it’s pretty obvious I’m a computer nerd. I’m sure my students know this as well, so the fact that one of them would think they could get away with cutting and pasting a wiki article really upsets me. Using Google to find particular strings of text isn’t really that big of a deal, and to further piss me off I explicitly told them that I could do that.
So tomorrow, I have to deliver some bad news. Make no mistake””I do not relish this impending confrontation.