Monday, May 29, 2006

Big bad RANT

I am shocked.
There has been wholesale downloading and cut-and-pasting for term papers for at least two courses taken by the present UG1s. Lots of people who deserved better have had to be penalised because of shameless and pathetic plagiarising. I want to know: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE??? Granted, that given the wholesale nature of the problem it's a systemic failure: we haven't learned you good how to use material and quote/adapt in academic work. Only one or two people had any idea how to write a bibliography. Practically no one cited complete URLs for websites. 'The adventures of Tintin' is not a text and doesn't exist in any recognisable bibliographical sense. Listing five websites does NOT excuse lifting huge chunks from each of them and cut-and-pasting them into an essay. That is (read my lips) PLAGIARISM. Someone called Kaavya got caught, remember? I bet she produced term papers using exactly the methods you seem to think so cool. I also want to know: DO YOU THINK WE (THE PROFS) DON'T KNOW HOW TO USE THE INTERNET? Do you think we've never heard of Google string search? Do you think we'll give you marks for having broadband? I repeat: I really don't understand what's got into you. Even in my benighted UG1 I had some dim sense that if I copied stuff I'd look very dumb indeed. Hey, do you think just because your parents haven't a clue how to rip off wikipedia that we're the same? It's really sad because many of you chose really sexy topics that you could have had a ball with. Instead you found some obscure article on a uchicago website (say) and cooked it up. Removing lines like 'And I'll come back to this point later on in the lecture' does NOT (a) make it your own work or (b) stop us from finding the source on the web. And all this in spite of your having been warned repeatedly in class against doing exactly that.
Wise Up!
But there is HOPE (for the next batch at least). Having been collectively appalled we are changing the UG1 format. From now on, you won't have any options in your Sem 2. Instead in the optional slot you will have a core course called PRINCIPLES OF ACADEMIC WRITING (PAW). Hopefully this will teach you guys how to use on- and offline sources, edit stuff, quote, make notes and references, organise an essay, set up an academic argument, all that basic stuff. Sheeesh.

19 comments:

babelfish said...

Or instead of going to all the trouble of a six month course you could just send them along to their seniors who do the plagiarism thing all the time without getting caught.

achha you can stop glaring at me...my term papers at best are incoherent bursts of creative writing...i'm up at dawn and making silly comments...bleh, delete :(

Bhooter Raja said...

PAW - even I don't know this and I am in Ugh2 (will be Ugh3 very soon). Can you organise 1 or 2 special lectures for the oldies?

aneelirh said...

I second the bhoot. Could we sit in on a few of the PAW lectures, do you think, especially the ones to do with citing sources? I'm UG3, and I sorta just picked that stuff up, and though no one has actually complained, I'm always unsure about whether I'm doing it right.

Erythrocyte said...

I've just submitted a course outline to the Don, and am told that the name has to be the much less exciting Rhetoric and Composition (some bizarre technical reason). So its RAC, not PAW. Stretches, anyone?
As for allowing the rest of you in to audit, i don't see why not, provided we can stuff you in the classroom (a scarce resource these days at JUDE). But I would have to check with the Don. Plus since it's a core course, you might have schedule clashes.

mojo said...

yeah...i think we should have been given the opportunity as well,i dont think its very fair on us...how on earth are we supposed to know the technical nitty gritty if we arent taught?

rainbeau_peep said...

are we going to be taught how Not to cheat in our term papers, or to cheat within a certain ethical code? Don't the Norton footnotes teach plenty bibliography?
more importantly, does anybody else find it funny that we have courses that abbreviate into body parts? first paw, and now rac[k]?
jeez, this is what i'm doing night before my end-sem. i must be a nervous rac. :-|

mojo said...

@r p: then whats the use of offering the course to the next batch?if norton footnotes arte good enough?

"sen"sational said...

I second mojo on that...and I am still not sure what does and does not come under plagiarism...and can't the course be optional so that we (the present UG1's) can take it as well?? (without classes clashing...that is)

The Alluder of Alliterations said...

i want to attend.. thoughipromise thati havent plagiarised a single line

Erythrocyte said...

OK, for a start, people, the biggest, feistiest, rockingest guide you will ever need re footnotes, biblio and a lot else is the Chicago Manual of Style which i strongly suggest you invest in. It costs between Rs 175 and Rs 325 depending on which edition you get (in College Street). There is also a copy in the DL if you're broke. Rules for avoiding plagiarism are simple, but that will need another post. Watch this space......:)

Talking Contradiction said...

ug 1. chee chee! I am shocked! WHy dont you try and be ORIGINAL??? write a poem or something!

Srin said...

My mother was a little offended by the ignorant parents bit.

Phõéníx said...

babel has a point...the term paper is an opportunity to let you explore you creative streak. Why corner yourselves because of some stuffy lecture by some old, droopy-bottom proffessor? The term paper is way better than any examination or internal we get in college.

Erythrocyte said...

OK, OK, not all parents are internetically challenged :)

arundhati said...

i don't see why there should be a confusion about what is plagiarism and what is not.reading something, interpreting/applying/agreing disagreeing with the concept in your term paper and explicitly crediting the source is not, tuke jheoe, onyer idea nijer boley chaliye dewa is.period.
jodiyo i do think it is unfair to give the students chaap about hte bibliography is a bit unfair considering no formal instructions are given.
and rimidi, could you please send me an invite to this blog?

yashodharaghoshmail@yahoo.co.in

arundhati said...

err, the tuke jheoe bit ia actually,tukey,jhepey. just in case you were wandering.

Teleute said...

@ arundhati - wandering? wondering, perhaps? :P

yippeeHippie said...

i support "sen"... we should be allowed to attend the PAW/RAC course as well...i`m pretty clueless about the bibliography bit..

Strictly for my friends said...

I feel left out as an ex- PG II !!