Policy on "plagiarism"?

Sami Kohan skohan at ucla.edu
Sat Dec 30 01:29:54 EST 1995

In article <9512281646.AA08399 at polywog.biology.uofs.edu> Brian T. Greuel,
greuelb1 at uofs.edu writes:
>We are in the process of drafting a written departmental policy on 
>"plagiarism" to address an occasional problem we have with students submitting 
>papers or lab reports that make inappropriate use of reference materials.  
>Anybody out there have a written policy already in force that you could share 
>with us?

Well in my experiences as an undergrad, policies are very ineffective.
Everyone knows cheating is wrong and regardless of the punishment certain
people will do it anyway. What the chem dept at UCLA does, which I think
is particularly effective is that all lab classes have finals in which
students are asked to analyze data analogous to what they should have
recorded and analyzed in their own lab reports. People who spent the time
doing their own lab reports had quite any easy time on it since it was
basically a quick review of it. My friends who copied lab reports from
former students all got burned.  Trying to institute a similar policy, I
think would be much more effective than writing a cheating policy than no
one pays attention to(ours was as draconian as you can get: either
suspension for a quarter or expulsion from the university). They other
thing they did, which I thought was unfair was that each lab group which
receive different samples. E.g. In a titration lab, each pair of students
would have to figure out the pH of a slightly different sample of acid so
that no one could copy data except from their own lab partner. Students
were then graded on their accuracy by a computer into which they typed
their data. However the equipment was so poor I think it was unreasonable
to expect very accurate answers.

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