Wednesday, May 17, 2006

You have to love the conscientious ones

I just had a phone call from one of my students.

"Can you tell me what the exact definitions of plagiarism and collaboration are?"
I gave her the version from the university's plagiarism policy, but she didn't seem satisfied.

"What about this?" she asked. "I ran into a guy from my class today and he asked me how I was finding the assignment. When I said I was nearly finished but that the last question was really hard, he told me the answer to the last question was on page 325 in the textbook. Does that count as collaboration?" Her voice quavered. "Because I need to know if I can sign the declaration on the assignment that I didn't collaborate or plagiarise, or if I should turn myself in."

Do you know how hard it is to reassure someone convincingly when you are trying not to laugh (or cry, or both)?

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Clair said...

Aww..if only more people were that honest!

Lydia said...

That's adorable

StyleyGeek said...

I thought it was really cute, too. And wish all my students would follow her example. Or at least a happy medium would be nice.

I'm not quite sure what she was envisaging under 'turning herself in' (her phrase). Above and beyond telling me what she'd done, that is, which she already had. Maybe she thinks the Dean comes in personally and leads plagiarising students away in chains to the university's own private dungeon.

Now that's an idea...