Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Topic: Plagiarizing from the Internet

10-second review: A light-hearted look at a serious problem, students who pay as high as $250 for a ready-made term paper from an Internet site.

Title: “Dear Plagiarists: You Get What You Pay For.” Suzy Hansen. New York Times (August 22, 2004). Internet.

Summary: A $25 paper from an Internet site is probably going to be worth $25, with a boatload of grammatical mistakes and ugly sentence structure. But maybe that’s the point—the paper will be consistent with the way the student writes, but it probably will not earn what the student expected from the $25—a good grade. And the student can get caught, with some dire consequences. The author suggests that the quality of papers downloaded from the Internet could be very poor. You might as well write it yourself.

Comment: In small classes, I become familiar with the students’ writing and will probably be able to detect a mismatch with the student’s regular writing. But in a lit class with 100 students, I wouldn’t be familiar with students’ normal writing patterns. The moral of this article: pay your $250 for the best, a custom-developed paper. However, if it’s too good, even if the instructor doesn’t know your writing, the instructor might become suspicious. Better take the time to re-do the paper to make it more like your writing or, better yet, write it yourself and save yourself $250. RayS.

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