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Monday, April 16, 2007


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Thank God I didn't have to deal with you and your overt, blatant quality bias when I was a student...

Anna Haynes

Does ghostwriting count as plagiarism?

Max Little

All good points! Maybe I'm too old, but seriously, just copying whole chunks from a resource is passing off, not original writing! You get points for inventiveness and originality, showing your understanding, rather than copying. It's the curse of Ctrl-C/V.


Semi-seriously, perhaps instead of taking the responsibility for defining all the things they can't do we should simplify the instructions and place the responsibility on them:

"Convince me that you understand this material. Note: I reserve the right to discuss the results with you."


Dewey: Thought about it. However, some of my students take the class online. it would be very difficult to discuss their understanding over the internet, as they would still have plenty of time to look stuff up. I suppose I could do it over the phone, but that would still be problematic.


Not to take this too far afield from what are, after all, some very clever exam instructions, but the point is that we're in the middle of a significant period of cultural evolution in which rules and norms and institutions are all struggling to catch up to technological changes.

Cultural/social changes brought about by technology are nothing new (car, phone, etc.), but the scale and pace of the changes wrought by the expansion of information technology are just beyond the expectations of most institutions. In other words, we've got a culture that's based, in part, on certain expectations about rates of stable change, and we can't really expect it to willingly drop those expectations. Meanwhile, the actual changes are advancing at this new pace, which means we're all of us grinding away with outdated rules that don't scale to the new capabilities.

I don't know how to realistically manage this in education. And from an institutional standpoint, the general response is always management for the lowest common denominator, which means that policies will be set not for Web-savvy people like Catherine, but for the most technophobic member of the faculty.

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