I’ve been behind on grading. Felt lousy. Been busy. Assorted reasons that I only just yesterday got to the second round of discussion questions for one of my classes. I don’t often give writing assignments. I can’t tolerate it much. College students, for the most part, can’t write worth a damn. They’re not learning basic 5 paragraph essays, they’re not learning how to support an argument, and they’re not learning how to properly cite stuff. God help profs in the English department. But in one of my classes I have a weekly discussion question that they have to answer with valid academic sources, properly cited and referenced in APA style. Basic. Ludicrously easy by the standards of what I had to do when I went through college.
My university subscribes to Turnitin, an absolutely AWESOME website/software that detects plagiarism. It caught three plagiarists this week. Now it’s up to the professor to decide how to handle such things. If it had been an example of somebody swiping text from the book and not citing it, I’d probably let them off with a low grade, issue a warning explaining what they’d done wrong, and just moved on. But that’s not what this was. This was wholesale copying and pasting from other websites that traffic in assignments at the college level. Turnitin makes a lovely report giving percentages plagiarized, highlighting every stolen word, and giving the link to the source. So there’s really not room for argument. So when I got a 91%, 85%, and a 67% plagiarized, I gave in to my ill-temper over it being Monday and already cranky from other issues, and opted to give them zeroes and report them directly to the Honor Council so that if they do it again, they move up to the second level and fail the class. Irritating, lots of paperwork, students notified, done.
And then one of my students had the nerve to ARGUE WITH ME, claiming that she didn’t copy and paste (there is no refuting the fact that she did, as she was making statements that had obviously come from graduate coursework out of another program). And THEN she had the audacity to tell me what constituted plagiarism. I held it together–barely, and managed not to completely rip her a new one, but instead pointed out the errors in her statement and informed her that even had she actually included quotation marks (which she hadn’t), to indicate they weren’t her words, her answer would still have been wholly unacceptable and STILL plagiarized.
Y’all I had to have 4 squares of Ghiaradelli chocolate and then come home and have a glass of wine, I was so pissed off.
It’s not even the plagiarism itself that gets me. I’ve been teaching too long to be surprised by the laziness of students. No, what really infuriates me is the absolute INSULT to my intelligence that they put forth NO EFFORT and think that I’m too stupid to catch them. Dude, if you’re going to plagiarize, at least pick multiple sources and mix it up some (at which point, really, you should just put forth that amount of effort on doing the ACTUAL work). Don’t just wholesale copy and paste from a couple of random internet sources and think that’s gonna fly. Don’t think I was freaking born yesterday.
And DON’T, for the love of all that is holy, dare lecture me, your professor, with years more training, on what constitutes plagiarism.
One more email. Send me one more email arguing about this and I will fail you for the entire class. I dare you. >.<
Idiot students should learn never to eff with me on a Monday. I freaking hate Monday.