What the Student Was Educated to Believe

The studentís words are shaded.

Traits

Distance learning student

Probably very recent high school graduate, probably advanced.

Initial Submission of a term in an exam

Plagiarized exact text (a paragraph, not a few words) from a website. Two other students used the same website so it was easy to notice.

Our Initial Emails

He interpreted plagiarism very differently as his own words below will show. He took the 0 for the 20-point question (as was stated in the syllabus) but considered the judgment to be an error on my part.

His certainty continued all term.

The Email That Resulted in the Text Below

He was tiny points away from an A. I offered him points if he would write an explanation of plagiarism in a way that other students would understand the rules. I said Iíd make sure I documented this issue because I believed it was fair to give points for the work if it made a difference in other studentsí futures.

What He Thought the Bedford Standards Meant

Plagiarism can be defined as using someone else's words without properly citing it. When you use someone else's words you must use parenthesis at the end of the sentence and put inside the parenthesis the source/page number in which the information came from. You must also have a citation page including information such as the title of the source, title of the actual page, author, date accessed and url. Plagiarism is something that can hurt you academically because it can result in a zero. That means even if you use quotations you still must have it cited correctly or it can be considered plagiarism. When doing research it is always best to do your citation as you go that way you donít forget to cite it and donít run the risk of being accused of plagiarism. Therefore, one must be careful when writing a paper that includes research because many people will have the tendency to use someone else's words.

 

What He Wrote After the Long Dialog Below

Plagiarism:
Plagiarism can be defined as using someone else's words without properly citing it.
1) You must use " " around the words you use.
If you don't use " " you are saying you wrote the words.
2) If you change up the words you must use traditional symbols to show those changes.

Proper Citing:
1) There are many different ways to cite such as, MLA, Chicago Manual of Style and APA so you must know which standard your class uses.
2) The Bedford handbook is a great book showing the different standards and the correct way to cite each style because each one differs.


The Harm in Plagiarism:
1) Result in a zero on the assignment, can be dropped from the class and it is possible to be kicked out of that college.
2) In the Real World you could lose your job and reputation. (Reputation- especially if you are a reporter or journalist)

So remember before you write your next paper find out which standard your class uses. Next, learn that standard prior to the start of your paper. Then be sure to follow that standard throughout your paper and double check that youíre doing it correct.

 

 

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The Dialog with the Student

This is from a series of mail messagesóand the messages are written informally both by the student and the instructor.

The student had agreed to provide SPECIFIC actions or SPECIFIC words to get through to students so they'll know what plagiarism is and what not to do, and this is a dialog about that project. The student did a good job in the final explanation.

Blue = Studentís words

No color = Instructorís words

The Studentís Initial Explanation

 

Plagiarism can be defined as using someone else's words without properly citing it. When you use someone else's words you must use parenthesis at the end of the sentence and put inside the parenthesis the source/page number in which the information came from. You must also have a citation page including information such as the title of the source, title of the actual page, author, date accessed and url. Plagiarism is something that can hurt you academically because it can result in a zero. That means even if you use quotations you still must have it cited correctly or it can be considered plagiarism. When doing research it is always best to do your citation as you go that way you donít forget to cite it and donít run the risk of being accused of plagiarism. Therefore, one must be careful when writing a paper that includes research because many people will have the tendency to use someone else's words.

 

Response from the Instructor to Each Statement in the Initial Explanation

 

If I'm reading you correctly, you are missing some realities. Read my notes below each of your statements (at the >>>) and see what I mean.

| Plagiarism can be defined as using someone else's words without properly citing it.
>>> What's required is not just citing. If you use another's words, you MUST put " " around those words and--if you make any changes to another's words (his or her intellectual property)--you must use the traditional symbols to show each change.

The word quotation means it has the required " ". Now there are some standards that allow a very long quotation to be in a block format that is set off from the text, BUT when using that standard--by your using that format--you are declaring that the words are another person's property. You aren't deceiving anyone that you wrote them.

It's not me saying that. It's the world way beyond me and you. You can prove it to yourself by checking the pages I list in the link to the Bedford handbook. You can PROVE it to yourself--and for your future's sake, you need to go prove this to yourself.

When you use someone else's words you must use parenthesis at the end of the sentence and put inside the parenthesis the source/page number in which the information came from.
>>>Not quite, when you use someone else's words, you MUST use the " ". There is only one way to quote in U.S. usage. To use someone else's words, you MUST use the " " or you are presenting the words as though you were the author and it was your intellectual property.

On the other hand, there are MANY ways to CITE where the facts or exact words came from. MLA is one way; Chicago Manual of Style is another; APA, still another; and there are others. In our course, I only used that method of the (p. ), because some students are still working on typing skills.

Check Bedford to look at a few of the different standards. Prove it to yourself. What you seem to believe is true is NOT true. I've been trying to tell you that, so you wouldn't get hurt in the future.

You must also have a citation page including information such as the title of the source, title of the actual page, author, date accessed and url.
>>>Not quite. Some standards and some publications do NOT require that. The standards and rules vary with the course, with the discipline you are studying, with the academic department if you are submitting something for an advanced degree, or with the publication where you are submitting your work for publication.

When you have a course, you have go find out what standard they use and go learn it. That's the way it works. Part of the task in courses is learning whatever standard is required.

The thing that is constant across every standard I've ever seen is:
- You MUST use quote marks if you use someone's words.
- You have to figure out and follow the format specific to the standard.

Plagiarism is something that can hurt you academically because it can result in a zero.
>>>Not quite. The result can be much larger. Depending upon the situation and the rules of the college, you can be removed from a course or a school. In the workplace (and it's been in the news of late as well), you can lose your job and your reputation and therefore your career. It's theft of someone else's property and it's protected by law. (Yep, I meant that word LAW.)

That means even if you use quotations you still must have it cited correctly or it can be considered plagiarism.
>>>I repeat, no. If you use words, you must use the symbols of " ", not just the citation of where it came from. If you don't put the "" on, you are saying YOU wrote the words.

When doing research it is always best to do your citation as you go that way you donít forget to cite it and donít run the risk of being accused of plagiarism.
>>Not quite. You are right you need to record where you were carefully. Citation is not enough if you use the exact words. Also each course will have its own rules for what is an accepted source for that research.

It also pays to record where you were carefully, so you can double check your facts. If you donít know where something came from, you canít check your own work. Even in business, I used whatís called rigorous citation so I could make sure I hadnít made a mistake or catch it if I had. Then Iíd delete the citations from the document that went to the boss who didnít want to see that stuffóbut I kept a copy with the citations so I could answer questions if I needed to.

Therefore, one must be careful when writing a paper that includes research because many people will have the tendency to use someone else's words.
>>>Not quite. It may be an easy cognitive slip to copy words depending upon your method, but it is NEVER safe. I know of NO place where using someone else's words and submitting those words as your own work for credit of any type is NOT considered plagiarism. And plagiarism will get much bigger consequences than a zero as you get older.

For the record, I make a big deal about plagiarism not because it is illegal (and I mean the word), but because it stops people from learning and from critical thinking. It is a tragedy for the brain.
|

 

The Studentís Final Explanation

I read your email and I understand I missed some key points.

Plagiarism:
Plagiarism can be defined as using someone else's words without properly citing it.
1) You must use " " around the words you use.
If you don't use " " you are saying you wrote the words.
2) If you change up the words you must use traditional symbols to show those changes
.

Proper Citing:
1) There are many different ways to cite such as, MLA, Chicago Manual of Style and APA so you must know which standard your class uses.
2) The Bedford handbook is a great book showing the different standards and the correct way to cite each style because each one differs.


The Harm in Plagiarism:
1) Result in a zero on the assignment, can be dropped from the class and it is possible to be kicked out of that college.
2) In the Real World you could lose your job and reputation. (Reputation- especially if you are a reporter or journalist)


So remember before you write your next paper find out which standard your class uses. Next, learn that standard prior to the start of your paper. Then be sure to follow that standard throughout your paper and double check that youíre doing it correct.

 

Response from the Instructor to the Final Explanation

This is very useful.††

And I hope itís useful to any student who reads it.

 

 

WCJC Department:

History Ė Dr. Bibus

 

Contact Information:

281.239.1577 or cjb_classes@yahoo.com

 

Last Updated:

2010

 

WCJC Home:

http://www.wcjc.edu/