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Plagiarism. Would you let the professor know?


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7 hours ago, elegantlion said:

Really? As a TA in a course that has a lot of participation points, I would want to know. Why would I resent a student who felt like their work was being copied? I'm more likely to resent students who can't put in the effort to do an assignment - even if it's just a discussion board. Unfortunately, dealing with things like this - which are annoying at the least/indicative of a student who probably shouldn't be in the class at the worst - are part of the job. 

Would I take this plagiarism up the ladder? Probably not, but I'd give the student a 0 on the assignment and a stern warning. Some semesters I spend more time dealing with students trying to game the system in various ways. It's a time suck, but it's part of the job. 

Reading the answers it isn’t clear to me it was plagiarism at all. Because there were specific questions that needed to be addressed in the post. If they chose the same episode and answered the same questions about a formulaic show of course their answers are similar. It’s suspicious but it’s not plagiarism unless the other student somehow confessed she didn’t bother watching a tv show and just reworded this other students answers. They could both be binge watching the same show & if that’s the most memorable of the recent 5 episodes it’s not even surprising they could have chosen the same one.  
 

I’ve take classes like that and I remember feeling uncomfortable that my answers were too similar to the 5 other students who had clearly done the work. I didn’t realize that until after I posted the assignment and then went back to read the other answers. It made me so uncomfortable that afterwards I worked very hard to do the assignments first. And at least one other person had the same experience because we were competing at 8am (the time the portal opened) to post first after the first few weeks. 
 

Now if this person did it 2-3 times then I would talk to a TA. 

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1 hour ago, Katy said:

Reading the answers it isn’t clear to me it was plagiarism at all. Because there were specific questions that needed to be addressed in the post. If they chose the same episode and answered the same questions about a formulaic show of course their answers are similar. It’s suspicious but it’s not plagiarism unless the other student somehow confessed she didn’t bother watching a tv show and just reworded this other students answers. They could both be binge watching the same show & if that’s the most memorable of the recent 5 episodes it’s not even surprising they could have chosen the same one.  
 

I’ve take classes like that and I remember feeling uncomfortable that my answers were too similar to the 5 other students who had clearly done the work. I didn’t realize that until after I posted the assignment and then went back to read the other answers. It made me so uncomfortable that afterwards I worked very hard to do the assignments first. And at least one other person had the same experience because we were competing at 8am (the time the portal opened) to post first after the first few weeks. 
 

Now if this person did it 2-3 times then I would talk to a TA. 

The difference to this for me, is that they had a huge number of options for this assignment. The keyword changes from A to B are what I see that would get flagged by Turnitin. Students think that by changing a few words, plagiarism checkers will miss it. 

I agree that if the assignment is narrow and students work is similar, then it's more a device of the assignment than student's copying. I rarely, however, see students using the same sentence structure and flow of narrative as another. 

I'm also fortunate, as noted by Bootsie, that I'm in a university where I can deal with it internally. 

 

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Did she post anything original about the show that was accurate? To me, that would be the defining thing. If she just reworded what you said regarding particulars of the show, I would assume she didn't watch it and just used your post, even if she added her own bs about concepts drawing from it. If she included anything different from what you said, that suggests she watched it.

It would be almost impossible for you both to watch the same show and both include the same details, even if they are mostly main details. As for whether I'd tell the professor, I don't know. I can see pros and cons each way.

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1 hour ago, elegantlion said:

The difference to this for me, is that they had a huge number of options for this assignment. The keyword changes from A to B are what I see that would get flagged by Turnitin. Students think that by changing a few words, plagiarism checkers will miss it. 

I agree that if the assignment is narrow and students work is similar, then it's more a device of the assignment than student's copying. I rarely, however, see students using the same sentence structure and flow of narrative as another. 

I'm also fortunate, as noted by Bootsie, that I'm in a university where I can deal with it internally. 

 

Can you put two students papers in Turnitin to compare?  Or will it only pick up from items in its database?  

I have not found Turnitin to be particularly helpful in detecting plagiarism.  Perhaps that its discipline specific.  I have found that it flags students papers that have "an increase in supply and an increase in quantity demanded" which is standard terminology in my discipline.  One student that I knew had plagiarized did not get flagged by Turnitin.  She had things like "Interest rates were still high a decade later when I was president." and the original read" When I was president ten years later, interest rates were still high."  (She could not have been president of the company in question.)  She did some things, like in the original if the dates of 1965-1969  were used, she would either put 1966-1969, creating an error that was not in the original document.  There were even texts from her to her group explaining that she knew what she was doing.  

It is easier to be able to deal with academic dishonesty problems internally, but there are some downsides.  I would get seniors who I was fairly certain had done this in class after class after class.  In the ones that they did get caught, they could take a "0" on an assignment and still pass.  But, there was no record of it recurring and being a habit.  At a university that requires reporting, if it does get reported, then a student who is getting flagged in multiple classes becomes obvious.

 

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5 hours ago, livetoread said:

Did she post anything original about the show that was accurate? To me, that would be the defining thing. If she just reworded what you said regarding particulars of the show, I would assume she didn't watch it and just used your post, even if she added her own bs about concepts drawing from it. If she included anything different from what you said, that suggests she watched it.

It would be almost impossible for you both to watch the same show and both include the same details, even if they are mostly main details. As for whether I'd tell the professor, I don't know. I can see pros and cons each way.

Not really anything original. There was the the part where she used the same phrase about a character but attributed it to the suspect which makes no sense. 

One other part she said differently was where the woman walking through the garage was obviously afraid. In reality, she was obviously unafraid. The other poster conflated my thoughts about me  walking through a parking garage alone with the character's actions. 

CSI "Too Tough to Die" if anyone's interested. Lol. 

Order and layout was the same.

 

 

 

 

Edited by AbcdeDooDah
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As a college professor, I'd want to know. I do read discussion posts, but I miss things sometimes. I have received reports from other students. Usually I say to that student something like this: "Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I'll check it out."

If I received your email, and then I decided that yes, the other student may have cheated, I'd probably contact the other student and say something like this: "Hi Jane Doe! I noticed that your post on the Too Tough to Die episode was fairly similar to another post. Please redo the assignment on another episode and submit directly to me by email. You do not need to post the new one on the Discussion Board." 

If nothing else, it alerts me to keep an eagle eye on the reported student.

And for the record, I'm not a huge fan of the discussion board posting - my department requires it - I have no say in the matter.

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On 2/22/2021 at 11:47 AM, Mrs Tiggywinkle said:

I’m finishing my M.Ed.

Let’s just say that the quality of work of many(not all) of my cohorts concerns me. 

Oh my, yes! DS is a senior doing dual enrollment at a state university. He had a final project assignment to make a 4 minute PowerPoint presentation on any topic related to the subject of the class. DS has unusual interests, so he immediately picked something that he had extensive knowledge about and it was something nobody else would do. He did the project completely on his own and I was quite proud of how well it turned out. They had to upload it and then comment on several other projects and, since I thought it would be interesting, I watched some of the other projects with him. There were a few that were well done, most were below the quality I would expect from my middle school child, and some were horrifyingly bad.

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1 minute ago, Not_a_Number said:

Any particularly awful examples?

The project was only 4 minutes and was a PowerPoint. One student spent 3 minutes reading a slide about what she was going to tell us, never changed the slide or picture, and then never actually told us anything because by then she was out of time. For example, the student would show a slide that said, "There are mulitple causes of poverty in third world countries. In this presentation, I'm going to tell you about the causes of poverty in third world countries. Lots of third world countries have poverty and there are many causes. This is a picture of a poverty stricken country..." and by the time she got done reading the introduction, her time was up. On some of them I was yelling at the computer, "That's a really interesting topic! Why didn't you tell me anything about it?"

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On 2/22/2021 at 8:47 AM, Mrs Tiggywinkle said:

I’m finishing my M.Ed.

Let’s just say that the quality of work of many(not all) of my cohorts concerns me. 

I felt the same way.  Disturbed and depressed.

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Posted (edited)

I still have not said anything. In our Zoom last Thursday he brought up plagiarism and said he takes it seriously but would have a discussion with the plagiarist, (lol is that a word) to figure out why/what to do., etc.

He also closed the discussions to be readable only after a post. 😂

Edited by AbcdeDooDah
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1 hour ago, AbcdeDooDah said:

I still have not said anything. In our Zoom last Thursday he brought up plagiarism and said he takes it seriously but would have a discussion with the plagiarist, (lol is that a word) to figure out why/what to do., etc.

He also closed the discussions to be readable only after a post. 😂

Sounds like he noticed.  

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