Plagiarism nightmares

The Hartford Courant reports on a nightmarish lawsuit over a student’s expulsion for plagiarism.  Though it happened at CCSU, I don’t know any of the participants in this case.  At any rate, it hardly seems worth it to get into the specifics of a case that will probably leave everyone’s reputation at least somewhat damaged.

But there are a few generic points worth making:

  1. Allowing students to turn in work to an unsecure location: Risky!  In addition to plagiarism concerns, there’s always the chance of mischief, purposive or otherwise.
  2. Relatedly: Part-time faculty need to have secure locations to receive student work.
  3. Commenters on the article seem to believe that the grammatically cleaner piece is likely to be plagiarized, because doubtless the cheater would’ve cleaned things up a bit to cover their trails.  This has not been my experience, and I’m not naive about plagiarism.  The reason is simple: If you had the time and inclination to write a good paper, and the knowledge of your subject matter to produce a coherent final draft, then you would know that “covering up your trail” in this way is as time-intensive as just writing the damn paper in the first place.  Plagiarizing well doesn’t pay–you’d be as well off doing the work.  (Assuming you’re doing this yourself, of course, and not buying a paper outright.)
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