Plagiarism and college culture

Blog for Eng 114. Spring 2010

Sunday, January 31, 2010


I'm assuming that since this is a blog, things I write don't have to be sooo formal. :] To be honest, I wasn't looking forward to this assignment since I found it slightly amusing that for class we're reading a BOOK about plagiarism. Can you really write a whole book on plagiarism? Apparently it's possible when it's about plagiarism and college culture. After reading the first 28 pages, I realized that the book isn't as bad as I thought. Susan Blum just kept hitting the nail right on the head! From what I've read so far, Blum didn't write the book to explain the statistics of plagiarism (gender, age, ethnicity, gpa, etc). She sincerely wants to know and understand just why people commit the crime.

I wasn't even through with the introduction when I found myself agreeing to most of what she's written. She acknowledges the stresses and burdens that students often face and generalizes them as "how to break up with their boyfriend or girlfriend, how to save money on books" and from juggling extracurricular activities to telling one's parents that he/she is no longer interested in a previous career choice. (pg. 3) Blum accredits a student's busy lifestyle to a possible motive for cheating. According to her, we always seem to be in a rush to get things done and over with before moving on to the next task. She mentions academic texts as a stop sign of sorts, that slows us down by requiring that we stay within a set boundaries such as answering all aprts of a prompt, writing the expected number of pages and by citing our sources.

Citing sources is a serious annoyance and it's a tedious task, especially when 1) you procrastinate and don't have much time to do it! 2) you don't really know how to (hint:use noodlebib)

I thought I got the gist of plagiarism, but I guess not! I never knew there was "self-plagiarizing." Seriously? Would you have to cite yourself? And lo and behold there is a name for "paraphrasing", or more like changing words around/finding synonyms...patchwriting!

Anyhow, who doesn't want a good grade? Perhaps getting a good grade is what people use to justify cheating, they at least care that much. Then again, some people are just lazy, aren't willing to work hard, are insecure about their own writing skills, are in a rush to get things done, or perhaps just forgot to cite sources/didn't know how or when.

Blum wrote that "social conditioning prior to college has shaped students' lives in college." (pg. 3)
She's damn right. Remember high school? Wikipedia was your friend and even if you didn't plagiarize you most likely knew people who did. I never thought I'd know someone so brave as to copy/paste whole paragraphs into their essay. Reasons? "Oh he'd never notice, I've done it before." Well, in college the consequences of cheating are much scarier since our essays are more scrutinized compared to high school. I'm sure you can scare most of the student body into not plagiarizing, but why not just teach them to respect work that is not their own through the use of proper citation/knowing when it's necessary to cite sources.

P.S. I misspelled plagiarize soo many times! :[ why couldnt it just be plagerize


Blogger uzettes said...

Haha, you crack me up. Either I'm more blind than I thought, or I didn't catch any of your misspellings of "plagErize". ;)
Anyways, I wasn't looking forward to this assignment either. YAY for blogs! I know what you mean, Blum was surprisingly interesting to read. I was just as shocked about self-plagiarizing too! WTH?
Oh man~ Wikipedia! haha, good times. I totally agree with the respecting work and proper citation. If only people knew just ONE and correct way to do so..

January 31, 2010 at 7:37 PM  
Blogger Sherry said...

I agree I wasn't looking forward to this blog too since i have work and all. But the book did get me interested in reading. Wikipedia use to be on my top search and now is wayyyyyy at the bottom of my search haha. It is true how we got more stuff on our minds then just citing papers...

January 31, 2010 at 11:47 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Great post! I especially like your point about respecting the work others have done; learning to write in college is often largely a cultural process -- you're becoming part of an academic community, so taking the time to cite others correctly is a way of showing respect to other members of your community.

February 1, 2010 at 9:04 AM  

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