What the Student Was Educated to Do

The student’s words are shaded.


Distance learning student

Adult—worked really hard all the time

Initial Submission of a term in an exam

The Dawes Severalyt Act was passed in 1887. This law was to authoriz the president to survy Native American reservations and divid them into 160 acre farms.This act stripped Native Americans of their rights.  After recieving this land, Native Americans could not sell or lease the land for 25 years. For reformers this law pushed Indians towaerd white civilazation, but for for the western settlers it made Indian land more available.The Dawes Act undermined the trible structure and culture of the Native americans.

Compared To The Common Source

     Congress passed the Dawes Severalty Act in 1887. Named after Senator Henry L. Dawes of Massachusetts, the law authorized the president to survey Native American reservations and divide them into 160-acre farms.  After receiving their allotment, Native Americans could not lease or sell the land for 25 years. Any Indian who adopted “habits of civilized life” became a U.S. citizen, but most Indians did not achieve Citizenship. Any surplus land after this process was finished could be sold to white settlers. For the reformers, this law pushed Indians toward white civilization; for the western settlers it made Indian land available. During the next 50 years, the total land holdings of Native Americans declined from 138 million to 47 million acres. By dividing up tribal land holdings and putting Indians at the mercy of white speculators, the Dawes Act undermined the tribal structure and culture of the Native Americans. These tactics also helped allow whites to start mining and cattle ranching. (p. 509)

Our Initial Call And Resolution—But I Didn’t Have Full Data

We talked through that what she was doing was a form of plagiarism. In The Bedford Handbook, doing what she did is labeled as “Plagiarism: Unacceptable Borrowing.” (Another student explained that method as “I grab a bunch of words and muck them up.”)

We talked through the prevention of Before Compose, Close—a prevention provided in the course.

I thought things were OK. I later found a very distressed voice mail message. The transcript of that call is in yellow.

Transcript Of The Call (Still Have It In Voicemail)—Very Typical Of These Students

…I am having so much trouble. I have not taken the Exam 2 Writing Project simply because I’m afraid I’ll fail again because I’m afraid I will plagiarize.

I don’t know how not to plagiarize. I just don’t know what I’m doing.

I read what’s in the book and I uh…that’s just the way that I learn it. I tried to put that in my own words and for some reason it comes out just like in the book. I got a 1 last time.

I’m just trying not to get a 1 this time. You can call me back at…


Note: the grade of 1 is a temporary grade, used to make sure that the student checks my comments in the Blackboard test and does what those comments say to do. That grade of 1 is used for things such as plagiarism by copying from the Internet, plagiarism as “grab and muck” (as this student did from the textbook), or consistent factual inaccuracy. The 1 serves as a placeholder in Blackboard’s grade book and also results in the students not being able to access the 2nd test until they deal with those comments. Once they do what’s in the comments, they can do the 2nd test—and more importantly be less likely to make a bad score a 2nd time.

Our Second Talk

When we talked a second time, FINALLY the secret came out. She was taught to take notes from the book by copying words exactly into her notebook. She then typed those words exactly into the Blackboard test—and copying her own notes wasn’t plagiarism to her.

I finally got through to her by asking if anyone would pay for the skill of copying stuff from one place to another. Then we talked about whether what she was doing was really learning or just busy work. Doing this used up all of her time—and made sure she was acting in ways that meant she’d never learn. Human memory doesn’t work that way.

Then we tried again on prevention.

I also asked her if she would help me help others by telling me when she first got this idea that copying exact words was a requirement. Her response is in yellow.

What She Wrote In An Email About Her School Before And Where She Works

in high school, maybe even jr hi, we were to find an answer in the book and write just what the book said. I now work at a private school and that is pretty much the same thing. Even on papers the students have to write what the encyclopedia, or wiki says. I didn’t learn about how easy and harsh plagerism is until 2007 when I seriously took my first english 1301 class.

FYI: Although she had learned something about plagiarism in that class, she still did not realize that what she was doing was plagiarism.

What seemed to get through to her in that second talk was my asking if any business would pay her for what she was doing? Could a business make enough money from her copying words from one place to another to be able to pay her so she could have food and shelter?


With the 2nd test, she still had some problems, but her errors were fewer and what she did was stronger. She was upset at first with the grade. We talked through the problems and that the reason I have the series of small writing projects that I have is because replacing a bad habit is not a single event, but getting better bit by bit.

Final Email

She replaced some of the old habits and she recognized it with this email:

This class has taught me more than just history and I just feel that My entire college career will be better because of you and this class. Thanks A million.


WCJC Department:

History – Dr. Bibus

Contact Information:

281.239.1577 or cjb_classes@yahoo.com

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