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  1. #1
    mattbrent is offline Registered User
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    Plagiarism at UoP

    Howdy Folks,

    Last night I uncovered two students attempting to submit work that isn't their own. They essentially googled the assignment, found one that someone else had submitted, and turned it in like they had done it. In my year and a half with UoP , I haven't experienced something this blatant. Now, with UoP actually having students submit a Certificate of Originality with each assignment, I think it makes the act even more serious. Both students submitted the CoO stating the work was their own.

    So here's my question for our seasoned UoP instructors. In your experiences, what tends to happen to these students? I have to submit the academic violation form to UoP after I get a response from the students, but then what? Does UoP fail them for the course? Do they get kicked out? Slap on the wrist?

    Thanks for any information!
    -Matt
    BA in History - Christopher Newport University, May 2004
    MSEd (Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment) - Walden University, February 2008
    MAIS (History & Political Science) - WNMU, May 2011
    PhD in Leadership - The University of the Cumberlands, in progress

  2. #2
    StefanM is offline Registered User
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    When I worked at a UoP ground campus (on staff), I knew of a student who was academically suspended for 6 months for plagiarism. He also received an F in the course.

  3. #3
    truckie270 is offline Registered User
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    I personally have been responsible for having six students permanently removed from the UoPhx for plagiarism. These students had committed prior violations. A couple of them came into my class with no violations and 5-6 six weeks later were no longer students at UoPhx because I submitted multiple violations reports on them for serious plagiarism issues over several assignments. One of them kindly repaid me with a scathing review on ratemyprofessor.com

    I believe it takes two or three violations depending on level of severity. I had one guy submit an assignment that came back from Turn It in as being submitted by his wife for the same class three months before - he just changed the first name and the date on the title page and submitted it. He was immediately expelled for that one which was his first occurence.

    The only thing I can recommend is submit violations reports on any instance of blatant plagiarism you find. I am not talking about improper use of quotes or citation issues, but direct copying from other sources with the intent of passing it off as original. If you do that you have done your due dilligence and it becomes the university's problem.

    The grading sanction is yours to determine - if I had a student submit an assignment that was plagiarized to the extent that I submitted a report on it I would automatically give a zero for that assignment. More than one assignment is an automatic "F" for the course in my view plus the submission of a report for each plagiarized assignment.
    Last edited by truckie270; 06-27-2011 at 10:44 AM.
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  4. #4
    truckie270 is offline Registered User
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    Also.......

    Be on the alert for those that have committed more than one violation in the past. Once you submit a violation report, the student is assigned a tracking number on your faculty page under the violations tracking page. It will give you information on how many times that student has been sanctioned in the past. When I run into these students, I tend to spend a little more time on my examination beyond Turn It In.

    Google is a good source as you noted.

    Another little trick I learned, no BS - I found a couple of doozies using this method, "select all" on the document and change the text to black for all. A student can directly copy text, put it in quotation marks, change the color of the font of the quotation marks to white, and then it will not show up on the plagiarism report when you select "exclude quoted"!
    <2> - RLTW
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  5. #5
    graymatter is offline Registered User
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    I run all major assignments through Turn-It-In and randomly google phrases from DQ posts. I would say that I file 5-6 AVT reports per course. I have had studentes "get off" with a warning. Many who clearly purchase a paper online are required to participate in a 3-day workshop. As noted above, students who have previous serious violations can be discharged - I've been involved in a few of those as well.

    UOP used to allow faculty to see the process as it developed between Academic Affairs and the student. This is no longer the case. We do receive a CC letter when an official letter is sent to the student. These often list the final ruling.

    I had my first plagiarism charge overturned recently. I had a student who had plagiarized the mid-term; my decision was upheld. Then on the final, an entire paragraph (300+ words) was just randomly cut-and-pasted in. It didn't fit in context and was a clearly a last minute effort to reach the minimum word count. I gave the student a 0/200 on the Final Project. I was contacted a few weeks later and told to subtract the paragraph and grade the paper for partial credit.

    I've caught far more students from UOP then LU or IWU or Grand Canyon - but I don't think that it says anything specific about the universities, just that the information is more available online because UOP is larger.

  6. #6
    graymatter is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by truckie270 View Post
    Also.......

    Be on the alert for those that have committed more than one violation in the past. Once you submit a violation report, the student is assigned a tracking number on your faculty page under the violations tracking page. It will give you information on how many times that student has been sanctioned in the past. When I run into these students, I tend to spend a little more time on my examination beyond Turn It In.

    Google is a good source as you noted.

    Another little trick I learned, no BS - I found a couple of doozies using this method, "select all" on the document and change the text to black for all. A student can directly copy text, put it in quotation marks, change the color of the font of the quotation marks to white, and then it will not show up on the plagiarism report when you select "exclude quoted"!
    @Truckie: Faculty (at least at UOP ) are no longer permitted to assign a grade of F based on two charges of plagiarism. I attempted to do this recently. We are permitted to assign a grade of 0 for the plagiarized assignment (which is what I do 99% of the time) but we cannot "kick them out" or assign the course grade. I had a student plagiarize the two biggest assignments in the course (and nothing else that I could find - believe me, I went back and ran everything through). They lost 300 points due to the cheating - but they still ended up with a D. I assigned a grade of F and was contacted by Academic Affairs to change it back to D - even though AVT upheld both charges of plagiarism.

    Also, the AVT portal no longer shows any history of charges. At least not on my page. As noted in my previous post, I can no longer see the correspondence between AA and the student or any history of charges, etc. I'd say that this change happened perhaps a year ago.

  7. #7
    truckie270 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by graymatter View Post
    @Truckie: Faculty (at least at UOP ) are no longer permitted to assign a grade of F based on two charges of plagiarism. I attempted to do this recently. We are permitted to assign a grade of 0 for the plagiarized assignment (which is what I do 99% of the time) but we cannot "kick them out" or assign the course grade. I had a student plagiarize the two biggest assignments in the course (and nothing else that I could find - believe me, I went back and ran everything through). They lost 300 points due to the cheating - but they still ended up with a D. I assigned a grade of F and was contacted by Academic Affairs to change it back to D - even though AVT upheld both charges of plagiarism.

    Also, the AVT portal no longer shows any history of charges. At least not on my page. As noted in my previous post, I can no longer see the correspondence between AA and the student or any history of charges, etc. I'd say that this change happened perhaps a year ago.
    If you go to the AVT page and select the ID number for the violation, it will tell you how the issue was handled - closed with warning, second warning, etc. You are correct - there is no history listed now but I distinctly remember it being visible during my last major student violation issue.

    I can most certainly assign a course grade of "F" if a student gets zeros on two assignments in my courses -based on my point distributions it is impossible to earn above 60% with zeros for two assignments. I do not issue the course grade of "F" outright, the course needs to end and then the grade is assigned. I have never had an occasion where a student gets zeros on two assignments and then gets every single remaining point available in the course which is what would be needed to get over 60%. I have had Academic Affairs contact me on other issues and "request" that I change an "F", but they cannot make you change your assigned grade.

    Greymatter - if you had a student get zeros on the two biggest assignments in your course and still have enough points to get a "D" in the course, you should seriously re-examine your point distributions for your assignments. In a five or six week class, a "D" should not be possible. As I noted, I have never assigned zeros for plagiarism to students that are stellar on the rest of their assignments, discussion, and participation.
    Last edited by truckie270; 06-27-2011 at 03:24 PM.
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  9. #8
    mattbrent is offline Registered User
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    I'm waiting for Faculty Assist to respond to the email I sent them. I was told by the Academic Issues people to email Faculty Assist to discuss the situation. The email says I can only assign a grade of "F" for the course with their permission, as it prevents the grade from being overturned later. In my opinion, that's what I'd like to do. This wasn't a mere "Oops, I forgot to include the citation" incident. Both students copied the same assignment which had been posted online in a former student's portfolio. They are virtually identical except for the formatting. The text is the same. That is blatant plagiarism, and at the graduate level there's no excuse for that (even though both students are claiming they didn't plagiarize).

    -Matt
    BA in History - Christopher Newport University, May 2004
    MSEd (Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment) - Walden University, February 2008
    MAIS (History & Political Science) - WNMU, May 2011
    PhD in Leadership - The University of the Cumberlands, in progress

  10. #9
    graymatter is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by truckie270 View Post
    If you go to the AVT page and select the ID number for the violation, it will tell you how the issue was handled - closed with warning, second warning, etc. You are correct - there is no history listed now but I distinctly remember it being visible during my last major student violation issue.
    I just checked. The AVT Tracker says "no options available for your current role" on all issues since November of 2009. The only thing is now says is "open" or "closed." The only record I have related to final decision is the letter I receive via CC - and I haven't received one on all issues. Previous to November 2009, I can see all of the correspondence between Academic Affairs and the student.

    Quote Originally Posted by truckie270 View Post
    I can most certainly assign a course grade of "F" if a student gets zeros on two assignments in my courses -based on my point distributions it is impossible to earn above 60% with zeros for two assignments. I do not issue the course grade of "F" outright, the course needs to end and then the grade is assigned. I have never had an occasion where a student gets zeros on two assignments and then gets every single remaining point available in the course which is what would be needed to get over 60%. I have had Academic Affairs contact me on other issues and "request" that I change an "F", but they cannot make you change your assigned grade.

    Greymatter - if you had a student get zeros on the two biggest assignments in your course and still have enough points to get a "D" in the course, you should seriously re-examine your point distributions for your assignments. In a five or six week class, a "D" should not be possible. As I noted, I have never assigned zeros for plagiarism to students that are stellar on the rest of their assignments, discussion, and participation.
    Valid points. Years ago, I adjusted the default point settings to increase the value of classroom discussion. Even so, in my course there are checkpoints worth 25/1000. Sure, if a student plagiarizes a major assignment (100/1000) and the final (200/1000), they should receive an F - though clearly the way I have it constructed, they could potentially receive a D.

    But if a student plagiarizes two of the lesser checkpoints (that I generally don't run through Turn-It-In anyway), they could conceivably receive an A.

    I checked and both of these scenarios are possible in the default course setting as well.

  11. #10
    graymatter is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattbrent View Post
    I'm waiting for Faculty Assist to respond to the email I sent them. I was told by the Academic Issues people to email Faculty Assist to discuss the situation. The email says I can only assign a grade of "F" for the course with their permission, as it prevents the grade from being overturned later. In my opinion, that's what I'd like to do. This wasn't a mere "Oops, I forgot to include the citation" incident. Both students copied the same assignment which had been posted online in a former student's portfolio. They are virtually identical except for the formatting. The text is the same. That is blatant plagiarism, and at the graduate level there's no excuse for that (even though both students are claiming they didn't plagiarize).

    -Matt
    Please post their response; I'm curious. I doubt that they will allow you to give them an F for the course. I predict that they will suggest that you give them a 0 on the assignment.

    When I recently issued an F in a course because both issues of plagiarism (one major assignment and the final), it was overturned. That's two situations such as yours in the same course - just weeks apart and after receiving a formal warning from UOP .

    I initially wrote back to the "Faculty Development Administrator" justifying why I assigned an F for the course. I received this reply:

    "Our end goal is to create an optimal learning environment for our students prior to seeking punitive measures when presented with an opportunity to teach them a useful tool for future assignments. The college believes that a formal charge would not assist this student in learning this skill as much as in-class guidance from an instructor. While we appreciate your diligence in upholding university standards and academic integrity, this issue has been dismissed as the student is not in violation of the student code of conduct. However, the issue has been documented for future reference. Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns in regard to this student."

  12. #11
    Maniac Craniac is offline Moderator
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    Have I entered bizarro world? It is possible to get caught cheating and STILL pass the class? STILL finish the degree?
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  13. #12
    truckie270 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by graymatter View Post
    The college believes that a formal charge would not assist this student in learning this skill as much as in-class guidance from an instructor.
    Small problem here - the blatantly plagiarizing student is not interested in learning the skill and does not care about any form of "in-class guidance".
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  14. #13
    mattbrent is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maniac Craniac View Post
    Have I entered bizarro world? It is possible to get caught cheating and STILL pass the class? STILL finish the degree?
    It could be about the almighty dollar...

    On a related note, during my first semester at WNMU, I caught the same student blatantly plagiarizing TWICE while doing peer reviews of her work. Apparently she thought her book review could essentially be copied from the reviews on Amazon.com. Idiot. I reported both incidents to the professor. I have no idea if he did anything about it, but I hope he did. I never saw the student in any of my other classes, so my assumption would be that she was booted out or chose to leave.

    -Matt
    BA in History - Christopher Newport University, May 2004
    MSEd (Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment) - Walden University, February 2008
    MAIS (History & Political Science) - WNMU, May 2011
    PhD in Leadership - The University of the Cumberlands, in progress

  15. #14
    graymatter is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by truckie270 View Post
    Small problem here - the blatantly plagiarizing student is not interested in learning the skill and does not care about any form of "in-class guidance".
    Oh, I COMPLETELY agree. This student DENIED the first instance of plagiarism - even after I forwarded her the Turn-It-In report. No remorse whatsoever. I believe that that should be factored in.

    That being said, this is the first time I've had something overturned. Recently they upheld a decision that did result in a (very loud!) student receiving an F for the course.

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  17. #15
    graymatter is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maniac Craniac View Post
    Have I entered bizarro world? It is possible to get caught cheating and STILL pass the class? STILL finish the degree?
    Back when I could review the AVT file, I know that there were students who were dismissed for multiple violations. The class that I facilitate is often in the last block of classes. I remember reading one comment in the file stating that the student's diploma was put on hold due to it being a repeat major infraction.

    When I was facilitating a graduate course for LU, I recall a particularly heinous cheating violation - it was my first. The student received an F/D which meant that even after re-taking the class (which was required), the F/D would remain on the transcript with the post-script that the student had failed due to Dishonesty.

  18. #16
    truckie270 is offline Registered User
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    I just looked at my two current courses to confirm my theory since I have not had to exercise it in a while, but I have my assignments structured so that a zero on any two of them (LT or individual) would result in a failing grade in the class.

    I use 20% for discussion/participation, 30% LT, and 50% individual assignments. Each week I have one major assignment due (LT or individual paper) + discussion, and participation.

    Speaking of academic affairs - if you want to get yourself into a pissing contest with them, give a student a "zero" for his/her plagiarized portion of an LT assignment while giving the other students in the LT some points (the remaining team members still get hammered for failing to check, but do earn some points). It has happened to me one time and the "zero" was upheld after much debate on the fairness and equity of the practice. They were mainly pissed that I gave the other students a substantially reduced grade, but I hit them with same argument about the value of the LT in the workplace that they like to use when students complain about the fairness of the LT.
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