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Q1. Read Karon’s “A Positive Solution for Plagiarism (Links to an external site.).” What’s this?!? It’s as if you get to see behind the Great Oz’s curtain! This discussion of common causes for plagiarism and common solutions that professors employ to combat it is revealing for two reasons. First, you, as a student, get to consider the other side of the plagiarism issue (and it is an issue!) The information you may have received about this topic to date has been directed at keeping you from falling, intentionally or unintentionally, into it. Karon walks through some of the common approaches to quelling/addressing plagiarism and then proposes a solution that has worked in his classes. Your task in this discussion board is to apply what you learned about refutation in the second essay and to write a two paragraph refutation of his proposal. Remember that a strong rebuttal can also acknowledge where the author is correct.
Choose anyone from (A-C)
A. While Karon’s article was informative and gave some decent pointers on ways to decrease plagiarism, I think there were areas that could be improved. Karon lists the four general ways that plagiarism can be minimized and he describes why he believes each one of those things should happen in the process. I can agree that those four general ways can positively contribute, in some way, to potentially decreasing plagiarism. However, I was unsure of the method he shared as his own way to combat the amount of plagiarism that his students partake in.
While I think that having them complete an assignment on plagiarism is beneficial and also important in order to raise awareness, I think his process could backfire in certain situations. By telling his students about a website that is openly used for cheating and obtaining free essays, he could be providing them with resources that they had no idea about. Some students genuinely do not care what grade they recieve on assignments and would be willing to download a free essay, change a few things, and use it regardless. While I can understand where he is coming from, I believe that he could find a better process for his assignment, that does not involve providing students with negative resources that can be used for cheating.
B. Karon made a lot of great points when it came to discussing the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to addressing plagiarism with students, but he also made many assumptions without providing any supporting evidence to back it up. For instance, Karon stated that a committed discussion about plagiarism is an ineffective way to address it, but he never states how he came to that conclusion. Furthermore, he seems to pile all types of plagiarism into a single simple category and suggests the solution is to ignore it all, regardless of how intentional it may be, and focus only on making students more aware of it. This seems quite unfair to the students who put in the time and effort to do the assignment, as well as unfair to the people who may have had their work stolen.
Later in the article, in the section “A workable solution,” Karon says that his preferred method is to instruct students to explore random websites and download free essays, then jot down some notes about them. While this may sound like a good way to make students more aware of plagiarism, having students download examples of free essays from sketchy websites would be irresponsible for an instructor to do. First off, downloading random Word documents may contain malicious code that could infect the student’s computer. Secondly, this strategy could have the reverse effect by making students feel more comfortable with this type of behavior. That’s like telling someone to go buy drugs because it will help them understand the negative impacts drugs have.
C. In Karon’s proposal to address plagiarism he utilizes some strongly worded ideas on why students decide to plagiarize in the first place but is not clear on what the specifics are in which students are plagiarizing. In reading his proposal it seems that he is using personal belief on why students choose to plagiarize in the first place, opposed to utilizing facts or resources that solidify his thoughts on the matter. One could agree that in fact people do plagiarize because it’s easy or even that people will always find ways to cut corners to get an easy grade or steal an old idea and make it new without giving credit where credit is due.
It seems as if Karon’s outlook on this subject is to give up on spending countless hours trying to peruse students plagiarizing so professors may avoid countless hours of combating it, and just allow for the behavior to take place. If this direction came to fruition, it could potentially stop students from forming new ideas, and hinder the education of countless students in the future. Another approach that could be taken instead is to utilize those students found cutting corners, and find out exactly what they did in order to be successful, that way systems that are currently in place could be upgraded in order to assist in combating this epidemic for professors. Condoning plagiarism is not the idea here, it’s the thought of taking one’s mind that is creative enough to beat the system and win then turning it into something that can assist others in the future to avoid these types of concerns.