Grades Are In

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Well, the last set of grades has been turned in. This is the first time I've assigned regular papers instead of dialogues, and it's the highest plagiarism rate I've seen in a couple years, one moderate case and three very serious cases. It's also the most people I've ever failed in a semester (seven).

Normal blogging with what I consider more serious and reflective content will resume shortly. I've got lots of posts planned that I just haven't been able to get to. I'll try to space them out so it's not overkill, and that way I might even have some typed posts that I can put off for when I don't have time to write.


The fact that the students felt obliged or (even worse) justified to plagiarize is a sad fact of academia today. The Internet has made cheating all too easy to do.

I recall the article that Jeremy has posted a little while ago about the professor who has special techniques to detect cheating. I also recall a recent news piece indicating that some of the top employees in the federal government has "advanced degrees" from institutions that are effectively diploma-mills. All you would have to do is do "course work" based on life experiences in order to get a diploma. In some cases, a flat fee alone would be sufficient to purchase a diploma.

Speaking of government and Senator Joe Biden (well, that was a few days ago, but...), I just discovered that he had a big scandal a few years ago when he tried to run for president. It came out that he'd plagiarized not just in college but in his political speeches. Apparently some politician in France had given the same speeches before. I imagine Biden must have had them translated first. So it's not just students.

You know, depending on the competence of the translator, his translated speeches might have sounded a bit bizarre to an American audience. I am referring more to the way sentences are phrased than anything else. I wonder if that was how someone picked up on that ("Hmm, that sentence was a bit weird, but it would have sounded just fine in, say, French. I wonder if someone elsewhere had said it first...").

Good you got the grades in. I myself had the worst semester ever as far as grades, 8 F's out of a class of 28. That's one less than the number of A's and B's put together.
I had two plagiarism cases this semester, actually lower than usual (and one less severe plagiarism case-not reportable-worthy). It was just catching those two cases which made me write up the plagiarism detection post.
I heard a while ago that that famous historian (is it Stephen Ambrose?) was found plagiarizing. It is quite disturbing how persistent it is, and how insouciant some students are about doing it, and how many students think you are doing them an injustice when you report them, as if you'd done something wrong, not them. Oy!

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