This is a reasonably good story about plagiarism, covering the usual theories about How Social Media Are Changing Our Kids, but offering some rebuttals as well. But there’s one point that always emerges in stories on this topic that bug me a little, i.e.:
At Rhode Island College, a freshman copied and pasted from a Web site’s frequently asked questions page about homelessness — and did not think he needed to credit a source in his assignment because the page did not include author information. . . .
And at the University of Maryland, a student reprimanded for copying from Wikipedia in a paper on the Great Depression said he thought its entries — unsigned and collectively written — did not need to be credited since they counted, essentially, as common knowledge.
Professors used to deal with plagiarism by admonishing students to give credit to others and to follow the style guide for citations, and pretty much left it at that.
But these cases — typical ones, according to writing tutors and officials responsible for discipline at the three schools who described the plagiarism — suggest that many students simply do not grasp that using words they did not write is a serious misdeed.
Hasn’t anyone here ever heard of playing dumb? Anyone can say “I didn’t know it was wrong” — but are they really as ignorant as they claim? Haven’t people been pleading innocence-through-ignorance as long as there have been rules or laws? Let’s have a bit of skepticism here, people. Not all students are as clueless as they claim when backed into a corner.