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  1. #1
    suelaine is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    Question for online instructors: Plagiarism

    My students are teachers working on their Master's Degree. They have to turn all their work in to Turnitin. I have to download their work from Turnitin.

    A recent assignment required them to create a rubric for a performance task. They were given resources such a "Rubistar" which includes a rubric generator. This asks teachers questions about the assignment, and generates a rubric based on the questions. This is a very nice tool. I sincerely believe the intent of this website is that teachers can use the rubric that is generated, as is, making any small modification needed to fit their individual circumstances.

    Well my supervisors are saying that because the generated rubrics have much of the same wording, that the high percentage matches on Turnitin are unacceptable and we should tell students they are plagiarizing, and we must make them do the assignment over again, rewording the rubric completely.

    It is my opinion that this defeats the entire purpose of providing a tool such as a "rubric generator." I do believe that students should credit the website and tool in the paper they write which includes this as an appendix, but that including the wording generated by that tool within the rubric itself does not constitute plagiarizing! I'm curious about what other instructors out there think about this.
    A.A. Empire State College: 1991
    B.S. Empire State College: 1994
    MAT: Marygrove College: 2002
    Ph.D. Northcentral University: 2010

  2. #2
    SteveFoerster is offline Resident Gadfly
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Northern Virginia & Dominica, West Indies
    I've taught courses in HTML where for some assignments students could use authoring tools, and it would make no sense for me then to turn around and call them plagiarists for doing so. Your supervisors are focusing on rules for their own sake rather than considering the actual reasons for the rules, so to the extent you can ignore them, I think you should.
    BS, Info Sys concentration, Charter Oak State College
    MA in Educational Tech, George Washington University
    PhD in Leadership, U. of the Cumberlands (in progress)
    More at http://stevefoerster.com

  3. #3
    ahardinjr is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    I concur with you. The students should definitely cite and give credit to the website and Rubistar tool; however, use of the tool to create a rubric should not constitute plagarism.

    Plagarizing is to pass off anothers work or ideas as your own, so as long as your students are properly giving credit to the website and tool, then they should be fine.
    MS Information Technology Network Management - Western Governors University
    MBA Information Assurance & Security Management - CSU San Bernardino
    BA Biological Sciences - UC Davis
    Security+, Network+, Project +, MCTS Vista, ITIL v3 Foundations, CNSS 4011 & 4012

  4. #4
    graymatter is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Interesting. My issues are usually the other way around: administration saying that what I believe to be clear academic dishonesty is simply "poor citations."

  5. #5
    Rich Douglas is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    I agree with ahardinjr and Steve. Anti-plagiarizing tool are just that: tools. They should not be used as substitutes for judgment.

    Use the rubric generator, cite its use, and carry on. Gee, if you use a survey instrument used by others, is that plagiarism? Of course not. If it's been validated, that's good research technique.

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