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August 2004, Week 5


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Lou Thompson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 29 Aug 2004 12:59:32 -0500
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I don't think Turnitin does still require such a database.  It finds the phrases on the internet and locates the source (web site) for you.

I got my access free from Prentice Hall, but alas they have terminated the offer.  
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Larsson, Donald F 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Sunday, August 29, 2004 11:34 AM
  Subject: Re: [SCREEN-L] Cheating and Student Papers

  This whole issue came up for discussion last year on the ADE Chairs
  list.  While some reported that they were happy with subscribing to or other services, most did not seem to think it was worth
  the money.  A simple phrase search on Google (just put the suspect words
  in quotation marks) usually did the trick.

  I don't know how Respondus works, but Turnitin requires a database of
  bogus papers, which itself raises a variety of legal issues (data
  privacy on the one hand and students' "ownership" of their work on the
  other, just for starters).

  As Jeremy suggests, the kind of stuff peddled for purchase on the
  papermill sites can be pretty obvious, and as Deb suggests, customizing
  the assignments can make it difficult or impossible to apply any of that
  stuff in a non-obvious way.

  Deb also points out that students usually need to be educated about
  quality of sources and the rules of citation.  Many of us have found
  that some international students come from cultures where our concepts
  of "cheating" and of "intellectual property" can be tenuous, but
  domestic students can have their own notions of what makes a paper
  "sound good" that may not be directly linked to a desire to get around

  Of course, the truly dedicated student will always find a way (or
  almost).  A few years ago, I had one student who submitted a composition
  assignment that I was sure was plagiarized, but I couldn't find a source
  on the internet or in our own library.  Finally, after 3 hours in the
  stacks at the University of Minnesota, I came across an obscure book in
  French with English translations on the facing pages--his paper, word
  for word.  I took this one through our somewhat cumbersome judicial
  process (better than Leo's situation but still probably enough to set
  his teeth on edge) and was gratified that he seemed to get his

  Don Larsson

  "Only connect."  --EM Forster
  Donald F. Larsson
  English Department
  Armstrong Hall 230
  Minnesota State University
  Mankato, MN
  [log in to unmask]
  Phone: 507-389-5501

  -----Original Message-----
  From: Film and TV Studies Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
  On Behalf Of Darrell Newton
  Sent: Sunday, August 29, 2004 9:39 AM
  To: [log in to unmask]
  Subject: Re: [SCREEN-L] Cheating and Student Papers

  Has anyone out there used, or witnessed a demo of Respondus? It uses a
  specific kind of search program that compares with student papers with
  sites on the 'net.

  Hypothetically, one would load a student paper into it (preferably from
  WebCT or Blackboard) and let it rout out striking similarities in syntax
  and wording. The results are astounding.

  Our campus is considering buying it...

  Darrell M. Newton, Ph.D.
  Assistant Professor,
  The Department of Communication and Theater Arts
  Salisbury University
  290 Holloway Hall
  Salisbury, MD 21801
  (410) 677-5060 Office
  (410) 543-6229 Department

  >>> [log in to unmask] 08/29/04 08:23 AM >>>
  As Ph.D. student in film an English Dept., I teach more composition
  than film classes, but I've found that students have a real problem
  understanding what is public knowledge and what should be cited.  I've
  had few that
  borrow more than what they feel is "public knowledge" but the concept of
  gets in the way.

  Many students think that information on the Internet is "public" and I
  had some that thought that copying from IMDB or a book jacket was okay
  it is, of course, public on the net or on a glossy (sell the book)
  All I was asking for was a paper proposal but I had someone plagarize.
  That was
  disconcerting and enlightening.

  The lines between promotion and ideas can get lost in the hype to sell a
  book, or film, or any other commodity.  There's a postmodern moment
  there or at
  least a Sontag pause for reflection.

  The best defense against borrowing from the Internet paper mills is,
  obviously, to customize assignments and simply to ask for copies of the
  sources they
  have consulted. This can help.

  The most enlightening experience for me was to require a look at
  works and to realize that Siskel was the epitome of a "critical" film
  There is much to be taught and we can do well at this task but each
  must be our own.

  Ciao, Deb

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