You're no Henry Siegman

Plagiarism is such a pain in my ass - why, oh why, would a student think that she could pass of sentences like, "These two fundamental propositions must occur together; one without the other is empty persuasion," as her own? And why would she copy and paste from the fucking COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS?!?

Update: Oh, wait, there's more! Another three paragraphs lifted directly from! Holy shit - she left the fucking hyperlinks in her paper! That's hi-laaaar-ious!

Final tally: 4 of 6 pages completely plagiarized, with text lifted directly from nine separate websites. I could have graded another 5 exams in the hour it took me to do that!


special-k said...

My favorite plagiarism error - a student paper that had the phrase "we authors claim." how dumb do they think we are?

Theo said...

When one of my math profs was teaching at Indiana University (apparently they're very soft on academic misconduct there), he saw a really amazing case.

You see, a graudating senior failed one of this math final, and this failure was going to keep him from graduating. So the student gets his graded final back and claims that it has been misgraded (or he wrote the wrong answers on the answer sheet but he had the right answers in the text book ro something) and he didn't fail. From his home in California (he apparently didn't have time while he was in Indiana, and he wasn't attending the graduation ceremony), he mailed the prof about the error. The prof said to FedEx the final to him, but to do it very soon because the prof would be moving in the next two weeks (to my university).

So about a week and a half later, the prof received the final via FedEx next day delivery... Now, this was a test that had an answer sheet on the front of it:

1. _______
2. _______
3. _______

and there were multiple versions of the test. To distinguish between different versions, a different period was left out after certain answers. For example, version A would have:

1. ______
2 ______
3. ______

and version B might leave out the period after 3. What was odd about this test that was sent to him is that there appeared to be no periods left out... So the prof thought that was weird.

So then he starts grading. The answers appear to be correct, but something looks odd. So the prof gets out his answer keys. He notices that the fonts don't seem to match up. You see, the test was typeset with LaTeX, so it has a particular look and feel to it, and the test that came over FedEx did not have that feel. The test that came over FedEx looked like it had been put together in Word...

You see, the graduating senior typed up a whole new test matching the source test and took that test using the right answers. He then "misgraded it" using the same color pen as the grader and FedEx'd the doctored copy back.

So the story only gets better from here.

The prof e-mails the student back and tells him to send him the real test. (keep in mind the prof is moving in about 4 days from now, so the student has very little time)

The next e-mail the prof receives from the student is as a carbon copy. The student "Forwarded" to his PARENTS a message "from the math PROF" saying that he was right and he had passed and he would be graduating, and he CC'ed this fake-forward to the math prof to give it some added legitimacy.

So the prof (a guy with a good sense of humor) responds with something like, "When you type up your diploma, be sure to get the fonts right."

So I thought that was a pretty funny story... Not exactly about plagiarism, but I think definitely related.