Plagiarism in the Classroom

Today in class we discussed the concept of plagiarism. At first the group discussed what the definition of plagiarism is, and it was established that simple meaning of plagiarism is when one uses the work of another as their own. There seems to be authors who have other definitions as well. These definitions, like the one provided by the University of Delaware, are much more general in their concepts and establish a set of rules that students must follow when turning in their work. I have witnessed several groups of students who plagiarize a lot. The website Chegg.com holds thousands of textbook solutions online and many students use this tool to get the answers for their homework. I personally agree that this is a form of cheating, but I believe that it is the student’s prerogative to use this website. It is true that they are not doing the homework as they should, but they are only hurting themselves. Should a student choose not to actually work through a problem set, then they will not learn the material and be in a very bad position once the exam date comes. They will not understand the material and therefore receive an overall bad grade in the course and not be able to converse the material should an interviewer ask a question about that particular subject. This brings me to the next point that the class discussion turned to. Why is plagiarism such a big deal? The class then discussed that when a student is caught turning in copied material. The professor must ask him or herself if they wish to punish the student and make it a purely punishment experience or a learning experience. I feel that most young professors wish to make an example out of their “bad” student so as to deter future generations from making the same mistake. I had one professor who almost bragged about how much trouble he put one student in for turning in a plagiarized paper. I much prefer other professors who would approach the student, give an acceptable punishment (like re-doing the paper), and handing out a warning of some kind. This way the student will still do the assignment and learn the consequences of his or her actions.

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One thought on “Plagiarism in the Classroom

  1. Well said, Nicholas. I enjoyed your argument, and think that you made some valid points. The fact that you laid out the problem, made examples and proposed a solution solidifies your stance. I agree that teachers and administration can often be too zealous in dealing with plagiarism, especially when it can happen by accident. This aggression will not stand!……. man.

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