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Plagiarism: a study in the spectacular fall of Dr. Chris Spence!

Your Plagiarism Drama

In her research on plagiarism, Blum (2009) discovered that “Some [students] really don’t know how to avoid it, because the rules are terribly subtle and take many years to master.  Some deliberately do so to get the job done.  There are many motives, many reasons, many biographical details.” (p. 6)  If Spence was telling the truth when he said, “’You don’t sit down and say, ‘I’m going to start plagiarizing now…’”, (Rushowy, July 26, 2013, p. A1) it may be worthwhile exploring some of those varied motives, reasons, and biographical details through role playing different situations that may lead students down the slippery pathway to academic explusion.

Consider how you might react in this fictional scenario:

It was the end of the spring term with the carefree summer on the horizon.  For a few weeks, Sam had been working up the courage to ask Rachel out.  In the hallway, he overheard her complaining about a final GNED paper that she could not find the time to complete.  Thinking critically, Sam knew that he had completed the same course the previous semester.  What if he offered to share his work with her, in the hopes that she might go on a date with him?  There were a few wrinkles to this plan.  He only received a C+ for his efforts, despite the fact that he borrowed from Derek’s paper.  Unfortunately for Sam, Derek received an A- on his paper.  Furthermore, he thought that Rachel kind of liked Derek. 

What should Sam do?  Discuss the different dynamics working in this scenario.

This is the type of scenario we will explore in a Progress Campus library workshop.

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