Thursday, April 21, 2005
Plagiarizing in a Bible Course
Plagiarism in general is unethical and wrong, but plagiarism in a course on the Bible is grounds for 20000 years in the bad parts of Purgatory, or so I've been told. Of the 37 papers I just finished grading for my Prophets and Prophecy course, 8 of them were plagiarized. That is 21%. Additionally, the largest demographic for those who submitted plagiarized work were seniors. Nearly half of those who turned in plagiarized work were seniors who plan on graduating in a couple of weeks. A few years ago I would have failed them. I'm getting soft in my old age. I recorded a grade of 0 for this assignment for these students, but gave them the option to turn in a revised version free from all forms of plagiarism. I didn't tell them where there were problems, I will leave it up to them. I'll check the resubmitted papers very carefully, and if they are free from plagiarism, I'll record a grade of something like a 50 or 60 depending on the quality of content. But are we teaching them to plagiarize? Freshmen are much less likely to turn in plagiarized work in my experience. I don't think these students are evil, just they did not put in the necessary time to write a 20 page academic paper. Some were so lazy they didn't bother to make sure the fonts remained the same from section to section.