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Author Topic: S/O PD Student Darwinism  (Read 754887 times)

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Iris

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Re: S/O PD Student Darwinism
« Reply #135 on: February 06, 2013, 02:31:16 AM »
^I had an interesting discussion once with a friend who had taken a position with a foreign campus of a local university. They said they had *massive* problems with plagiarism, to the point where they had to institute a special class for new students. There was a huge cultural clash in that the students genuinely didn't see the problem. Their teachers wanted high quality papers so the students saw their role as providing high quality papers by whatever means, without fully understanding the implications about learning etc. He said in the end he found it best to say "You must not do X and Y because your teachers will think you are bad and take marks from you" because the arguments he first tried "Not really learning, not fair" etc just didn't mean that much in that culture.
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MariaE

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Re: S/O PD Student Darwinism
« Reply #136 on: February 06, 2013, 02:44:18 AM »
I'm a bit mortified to tell this.  :)  When I was in grade 9, my English teacher asked the class to write a short story.   The story was going to be a very small percentage of our grade, and I already had a really good grade in his class, so I didn't feel like putting a lot of effort into the assignment.  I had relatives in Britain at the time who occasionally sent me British comics, including a "scary" one called Shiver & Shake.  This comic had a pretty good ghost story, and so I quickly dashed off my own version.  I changed very little - even the closing line was the same ("John Smith never got out of that inferno alive ...").  I submitted it and didn't think anything more about it ...

High school English. I was (what amounted to) a straight-A student. Of course it helped that living in Denmark the only English high schools taught was English as a Second Language and having lived a couple of years in New Zealand I was more fluent than the teacher.

I hated creative writing assignments. Give me a book to analyze and I'm happy, but give me a prompt and tell me to write 500 words of fiction, and I'm up a creek without a paddle. These were weekly assignments and counted for very little in terms of the total grade. I could NOT see the point... and one week ended up getting my younger sister (who's amazing at creative writing) to write my assignment for me.

I never felt bad about it - still don't. But usually we're both such goodie-two-shoes, that looking back at it, I can't believe we'd actually do a thing like that!
 
Dane by birth, Kiwi by choice

Lynn2000

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Re: S/O PD Student Darwinism
« Reply #137 on: February 06, 2013, 09:48:14 AM »
^I had an interesting discussion once with a friend who had taken a position with a foreign campus of a local university. They said they had *massive* problems with plagiarism, to the point where they had to institute a special class for new students. There was a huge cultural clash in that the students genuinely didn't see the problem. Their teachers wanted high quality papers so the students saw their role as providing high quality papers by whatever means, without fully understanding the implications about learning etc. He said in the end he found it best to say "You must not do X and Y because your teachers will think you are bad and take marks from you" because the arguments he first tried "Not really learning, not fair" etc just didn't mean that much in that culture.

I've heard that in certain cultures, using someone else's words is how one shows respect for and compliments them. It's interesting to imagine the entire context of that within the culture. I suppose in a lot of instances it doesn't really make much difference--like passing along a joke someone told you. But in situations where you're supposed to produce original writing, it can be sticky.
~Lynn2000

Lynn2000

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Re: S/O PD Student Darwinism
« Reply #138 on: February 06, 2013, 10:00:46 AM »
Okay, here's one. I work in an office at a university, and for a while we had this great student, Kevin, working with us part-time. He was bright, personable, a problem-solver. His major was English literature but he was really good at French, and we had him working on French stuff for us. Well, we came to find out that since he really loved French, and didn't much like English lit, he was taking all French classes (and acing them), and either not taking English lit classes at all, or taking them and doing badly in them. I asked him why he didn't just change his major to French and he kind of shrugged and said, "Yeah, I probably should do that."  ???

But he didn't. And then he got put on academic probation, so he couldn't change his major, and he had to stop taking French and do well in some English lit classes. He failed to do that and he actually got kicked out of the university. He tried some other last-ditch efforts, too, like trying to get a professor in the French department to vouch for him and give him special permission to change majors, but due to his poor grades overall and his track record of doing whatever the heck he wanted without listening to anyone else, no professor would stand up for him.

It's easy to say that his problem would have been solved if he'd just changed his major when he realized he liked French a lot more; but I'm pretty sure there was more going on under the surface. He was kind of anti-authority and felt like the rules really shouldn't apply to him, so no matter how simple switching majors was, he probably wouldn't have done it.

The other problem he had with us was that he was chronically tardy, to the point of simply not showing up for work at all. At first it was kind of like, "Oh, that Kevin," but it got worse and worse (coinciding with him being in worse and worse shape academically) and he became completely unreliable. After he was kicked out of school, my boss went to extra trouble to retain him as a "no college degree, not a student" hourly employee, with an hourly rate that was higher than what I was making, and he still couldn't be bothered to show up for his full 40 hours a week.

He finally left to get a French-related job at a company. He's on his second company by now, I think; maybe he'll stick with it.
~Lynn2000

artk2002

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Re: S/O PD Student Darwinism
« Reply #139 on: February 06, 2013, 10:26:17 AM »
This just cropped up in my in-box.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

katiescarlett

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Re: S/O PD Student Darwinism
« Reply #140 on: February 06, 2013, 10:31:49 AM »
So, I apparently kicked off this topic with a post in the Professional Darwinism thread about two graduate students who handed in identical assignments. The professor, who also happens to be the department chair, gave them half credit the first time on the very kind assumption that they did not understand the directions. (They then lost that credit when they tried to change their answers after the fact).

Guess who handed in two identical assignments again?

OK, not completely identical: they had one sentence at the beginning that was different.

You did!   :)

Lynn2000

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Re: S/O PD Student Darwinism
« Reply #141 on: February 06, 2013, 11:33:30 AM »
I don't necessarily wonder at people who cheat. There are often a lot of incentives to do so. I wonder at the people who cheat badly--like in mbbored's case, turning identical assignments in to the same class for the second time, after they were caught and punished the first time. What goes through their heads? Is it some kind of cry for help? Like their parents pressured them to go to this school and the only way out they can see is to get kicked out for cheating? No joke, sometimes I think that's what's going on in these cases, like with Kevin whom I mentioned above.
~Lynn2000

ladyknight1

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Re: S/O PD Student Darwinism
« Reply #142 on: February 06, 2013, 02:06:42 PM »
My Freshman Composition I class in 2011. We had such gems as: two students bought the same essay and turned it in, students collaborating on their essays (a violation of the rules), and students occasionally appearing in class while expecting a good participation grade. This was a class that met once a week in person, with the remainder online.

My Intro to Forensic Science class. This is a upper division class, and most of the students should be in their junior year. However, over half of the students in the class are freshman and I have never before experienced this level of giggly, loudly whispered conversations. The remainder of the students in the class have gotten very good at shushing, and it has persisted. After last week's guest lecturer was interrupted so many times, the professor sent a class-wide email that anyone who fails to show respect to the professor, lecturer, or their classmates will be asked to leave and may not return. We'll see how that goes tonight.
ďAll that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
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Sebastienne

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Re: S/O PD Student Darwinism
« Reply #143 on: February 06, 2013, 03:14:38 PM »
I completely forgot about this one!  The student who plagiarized a significant portion of one of my own published essays, and then was surprised that he got caught! Was I supposed to be flattered?

lilfox

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Re: S/O PD Student Darwinism
« Reply #144 on: February 06, 2013, 03:21:31 PM »
Ha!  The comment about skipping a class where attendance counts reminded me.

I signed up for a high level Anthropology class, very Socratic method style, where participation in class discussions counted for something like 40% of the final grade.  There was a guy who showed up to the first few classes, and then hit on me after one class and got nowhere.  He stopped showing up altogether, so I figured he had dropped the class.  Nope.  He showed up for the midterm paper discussion and again the last week or two when the final paper assignment was handed out.  I never did find out what was up, but how that guy expected to pass after blowing off 40% of the grade, I don't know.

Slartibartfast

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Re: S/O PD Student Darwinism
« Reply #145 on: February 06, 2013, 03:33:01 PM »
Freshman year of college, we were all required to sign up for a freshman writing course.  You couldn't place out of it, but the course came in many different themes.  (Mine was "Crime and Punishment" which turned out to be a full semester on "Why the NYPD Is Racist," but I digress . . .)  The topics varied, but no matter what your topic was, the point was to better your writing.

My roommate ended up with a crotchety old professor who had been teaching for about a million years.  For their midterm papers, he gave the students a sheet full of possible paper topics and encouraged them to select a subset of one topic for their paper - for example, one of the choices might have been "the history of US government services" and a student might choose to write about the history of the Forest Service.  I don't remember what the overarching topic my roommate chose was, but her subtopic ended up being "discrimination against German lesbians during WWII."

You'd THINK that was a specific enough topic that her professor wouldn't know much about it and she could skate along with superficial research.  You'd be wrong - she got a D on her paper.  Turns out her professor just happened to be the world's leading expert on discrimination against gays and lesbians in Europe during WWII, and he commented on her paper that if she hadn't come across any of his published works in her research then she obviously hadn't researched enough.

I ran into the same thing myself two years later, doing a 25-page music history paper which essentially boiled down to "Would contemporary musicians have performed a particular composer's work using the B-flats he wrote, or would they have substituted in B-naturals?"  I'm glad I did my research - my professor wrote half of the scholarly articles out there about it  ::)  I cited three or four of his papers and took the same side of the argument he did (yes they would have substituted) and I got an A  ;D

jedikaiti

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Re: S/O PD Student Darwinism
« Reply #146 on: February 06, 2013, 03:43:08 PM »
This wasn't so much SD, but got quite a few raised eyebrows in class.

The class was on documentary film, and we had weekly evening film viewings, with a one-page paper summary/opinion on each week's viewing due the following week. Often, he would select a paper that exemplified either what to do or what not to do, and read some or all of it aloud.

One week, we were watching a couple of depression-era documentaries that prof had just GUSHED about in class. The way he went on about these films, you would think they could walk on water. I HATED them. So for my paper, I wrote all about how awful they were. (Yes, I had been in class when he gushed about them.) The day he handed those papers back, want to guess whose paper he read?

My paper was well-written and polite, but I did not hold back on how awful I thought those films were. You could hear gasps around the room, the occasional giggle, questions as to who had been dumb enough to write that, and "Oh my god, did THEY bomb that paper!" Not surprisingly, I was the only one who wrote about NOT liking those movies.

He loved it. Thought it was one of the better papers of the whole term so far. I got an A.
What part of v_e = \sqrt{\frac{2GM}{r}} don't you understand? It's only rocket science!

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Twik

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Re: S/O PD Student Darwinism
« Reply #147 on: February 06, 2013, 03:46:24 PM »
Part of the problem is that when students start writing reports, they aren't expected to produce anything original as far as thought or research goes, so they are taught, unintentionally, that creative non-fiction is taking other people's words, and sort of making a tossed salad of them that's "yours".

I think I've written one completely original term paper in an arts class, and I was so proud of it. The idea was MY baby, my own precious. Even in my research, I never came across anyone who referred to the idea directly. Maybe someone else had it, but even my prof thought it was new. Giddy times.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Twik

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Re: S/O PD Student Darwinism
« Reply #148 on: February 06, 2013, 03:48:32 PM »
This wasn't so much SD, but got quite a few raised eyebrows in class.

The class was on documentary film, and we had weekly evening film viewings, with a one-page paper summary/opinion on each week's viewing due the following week. Often, he would select a paper that exemplified either what to do or what not to do, and read some or all of it aloud.

One week, we were watching a couple of depression-era documentaries that prof had just GUSHED about in class. The way he went on about these films, you would think they could walk on water. I HATED them. So for my paper, I wrote all about how awful they were. (Yes, I had been in class when he gushed about them.) The day he handed those papers back, want to guess whose paper he read?

My paper was well-written and polite, but I did not hold back on how awful I thought those films were. You could hear gasps around the room, the occasional giggle, questions as to who had been dumb enough to write that, and "Oh my god, did THEY bomb that paper!" Not surprisingly, I was the only one who wrote about NOT liking those movies.

He loved it. Thought it was one of the better papers of the whole term so far. I got an A.

JediKaiti, a mark of a good teacher is that s/he loves to find a student who can say, "I understand what you were saying, but I disagree, and here's why."
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Lynn2000

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Re: S/O PD Student Darwinism
« Reply #149 on: February 06, 2013, 04:50:47 PM »
Part of the problem is that when students start writing reports, they aren't expected to produce anything original as far as thought or research goes, so they are taught, unintentionally, that creative non-fiction is taking other people's words, and sort of making a tossed salad of them that's "yours".

This is a very good point. I think this accurately reflects my experience, at least, in junior high and elementary school (about age 14 and lower). If you can get a student to find and read a couple of non-fiction books on a subject and write something (heavily) based on them, that's considered a win. Not that an 8-year-old should be expected to come up with mind-blowing original theories about things, of course; but this is where I think the emphasis on "form over function" comes in--the minutiae of bibliographies being the focus instead of the synthesis of background information with original words. Unfortunately I've found that this continues on into high school as well, again in my personal experience; I can see how kids who had this kind of training for years, and never really gave it a second thought, would get quite a shock in their first university class (or first class that had different rules).

That's not an excuse for plagiarism and cheating, of course, especially if the new class's rules are clearly laid out and the student engages in subterfuge (indicating they knew they were doing something wrong). But maybe it explains the cases of true first-time offenders who seemed more bewildered than afraid/defensive when caught.
~Lynn2000