Plagiarism & Academic Dishonesty
The University-wide rules
You should become aware of Ashland University's Academic Integrity Policy. It discusses plagiarism (presenting someone else's words as your own work), fabrication (inventing "facts" for academic writing), cheating, and other forms of academic misconduct. Professors assume you know these rules; ignorance is no excuse. Cheating and lying will get you in trouble in any of your courses here.
The general rules:
- If you didn't think it up yourself, tell the reader where you got it. Don't pretend that someone else's writing is yours.
- If you don't know what you're talking about, find out—then tell the reader where you got your information. (You look very silly when you broadcast your ignorance and claim it's a fact.)
- Do your own work. If you get someone to write your paper for you and present it as your own, that's fraud.
Special Issues in English 100
The product we're trying to make here is not a set of great essays; we're aiming at making good writers. A student once asked me, "Why do you care who wrote the essay I gave you? You got your paper!" I didn't want a good paper; I wanted a good student.
We face several problems in this course:
- Fear and lack of self-confidence. Some students assume that anything written by anyone on the Internet has got to be better than their attempt. That's not really true, and you can't get better by simply turning in other people's work.
- Time pressure. It's just barely possible to be a student AND a member of a varsity team. I understand that, and I'm going to work on helping you keep ahead of your schedule. Stealing something at the last second isn't the way to solve your problems.
- Tradition. Some of you have been taught that a student never actually writes anything new—you've learned that the right way to do a school paper is to glue together pieces of other people's writing. We don't do that here. At the absolute maximum, 20% of your paper will come from an outside source, AND you will clearly indicate where the material came from.
- Second-language problems. If you are struggling to learn English, you may be tempted to believe that any dishonesty that keeps you in the United States is worth it.
- The team study table. Many team sports really do discourage independent thinking, and when the team gets together for the study table, everyone works on everyone else's homework. That keeps everyone eligible to play, but it doesn't result in building your skills. You need to write your own stuff.
- These papers are not research papers. At the absolute most, 20% will be quoted from an outside source (and there's often no good reason to quote anything). If you choose to pad out a paper with excess outside material, I will simply ask you to write a new paper (on a new topic) without any outside quotations.
- If you include an outside source or two and do a clumsy job of citation, I'll simply show you how to do it better. If you include substantial outside material without any citation, you will have to write a new paper that doesn't use any outside material.
- If our in-class conversations show that you don't understand your own writing, I will assume that it's not really yours.
- If your in-class writing is nowhere near the skill level of your essays, I will seriously question how you were able to produce the essays.
- If you use a Blackboard drop box to submit papers, they are automatically scanned by SafeAssign, a plagiarism-checking service. If you submit a paper copy and I have questions about it, I will scan it and submit it SafeAssign. (Note that SafeAssign keeps track of student papers too, so if you submit your roommate's paper, it will catch you.)
- Papers that show substantial, intentional plagiarism will receive a zero with no opportunity for revision. In addition, I will notify the appropriate University authorities and your next English teacher.