Absolute MUST READ: Plagiarism, Inspiration, and John Dunleavy

I’ve been out of the twitter loop for a while, running around trying to meet deadlines. Sadly I missed this whole saga, but thanks to Brent’s post, I’m caught up.

Read. And learn.

Plagiarism, Inspiration, and John Dunleavy – http://www.brentozar.com/archive/2010/03/plagiarism-inspiration-and-john-dunleavy/

My students can attest that the one single thing they can do on their assignments that will guarantee huge mark deductions is – NO PROPER CITATIONS.

We usually have online discussions in class, and students are asked to post a way to solve a problem, or to post about a new SQL Server feature etc. And I emphasize to them that it doesn’t matter what their answers are, it must have come somewhere. If it’s an article, a blog, a white paper, I need the author, the title, and the link back to that article. If it’s a book, good times but use the traditional citation. If it came from my lecture, or something I said in my lecture, I ask them to put explicitly “Heard from Donabel’s lecture”. If they absolutely thought about it on their own, or just did their own experimentation and never consulted a book, they should still explicitly say the source is them.

It sounds very tedious for a student, but I just want to plant in their minds that in this day and age where information is easily obtained anywhere, I still want them to pause and take the time to acknowledge where they got that information from. (Students usually learn after the first time they get deductions).

Deja Vu

Which reminds me .. I used to mark papers when I was still in school. Caught one of the students plagiarizing really bad – that s/he has copied everything (verbatim) including all the spelling and grammar mistakes. C’mon – that’s just called EMBARRASSING.

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