I don’t have anything to report on Mabbott right now.  I just wanted to mention that I have graded 15 papers so far, and 3 of them were plagiarized.  Rather, two students plagiarized, and one bought an essay off of  I can’t handle any more right now.

Anybody want to commiserate over a glass of scotch?  That’s where I’m headed.

Updated: what do people think is an appropriate punishment for someone who cheats at the university level?


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4 responses to “Cheaters

  1. Nick

    I’m curious: which sources do they plagiarise? Surely even the most morally jaded student isn’t stupid enough to think you’ll mistake a professional historian’s prose for theirs…

    My old flatmate is a secondary school teacher and spent a while drilling into his kids that copying stuff off the internet was really not acceptable. If he got something like that handed in to him, he’d write the URL at the top of the essay plus a single word: “Detention”. I guess that’s not an option for you!

  2. gilbertmabbott

    Mostly, they use websites. I assume that they think I don’t know about the internet. One of them of was foolhardy enough to actually to cite the sources (a couple of books) he was plagiarizing from. No, he wasn’t paraphrasing. And I know it wasn’t an accident, because he also copied and pasted from a few different websites (including wikipedia) and inserted fake footnotes. I think it was the correct use of the word “shepherded” that tipped me off, originally. How many undergrads even know that “shepherd” can be used as a verb? It was the fake footnotes that really get me angry. Plus, his paper was 2 pages too long for the assignment, so he actually cheated more than he had to. Also, he came to my office hours, got to know me, and then tried to pull this. He also asked about paraphrasing after class, to set up his plausible deniability. I think it was a very calculated affair.
    I think expulsion would be an appropriate punishment, but fortunately for him, the matter is not up to me. He will at least be reported. It is up to the professor (I am just the TA) if he wants to pursue the matter further. I don’t think the disciplinary committee would have a problem with suspension. It isn’t really in the university’s interest to give him a diploma.
    The good news is that I’ve now finished a little over 40 of the papers, and those are still the only cheaters. It was just a very unfortunate grouping, though 3 cheaters for one assignment is rather high. I think it’s a result of the accelerated pace of summer session.
    I am, however, curious. What do people think is the appropriate punishment for cheaters?

  3. Nick

    If they are cheating on early modern essays, then clearly they need to be pilloried, have their ears cropped, and then the offending essay burned by the common hangman.

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