Monday, December 11, 2006

How Dumb Do They Think We Are?

Chronicle Careers: 12/11/2006: How Dumb Do They Think We Are?: "How Dumb Do They Think We Are?

By Jonathan Malesic
First Person

It happened more times last year than I can even recall, but I clearly remember the first time. I was grading a paper and came across a sentence that surprised me. It just didn't fit in with what I had read up to that point. I was surprised partly because the sentence made proper use of the word 'implacable,' whereas in the paragraph before, the student had used an abstract noun ending in '-ship' as a verb. Twice.

I read more and found more seismic shifts in the writing style. Magisterial paragraphs were followed by inane ones; syllogisms gave way to circular logic, and back again. I picked one suspect sentence, entered it into an Internet search engine, and in milliseconds, I found it -- word for word, punctuation mark for punctuation mark. It turned out much of the rest of the paper had been plagiarized from the same document.

I deduced that the student had also performed a 'find-and-replace' function on one key word in the document to make paragraphs that were on a different topic seem as if they were on the topic I had assigned."

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]