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Alex Hutchins

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Plagiarism and what, if anything, should be done about it in our Colleges and Universities.

There is a business simulation that is being played in many colleges and universities where, if a company (team) is ahead of you in points, simply copy what they are doing right with their products and advertising.

Is that plagiarism?

Years ago, I talked with an container manufacturer who took the artwork from a competitor and made 10-12 drawings, each one a little bit different than the previous one but the last subliminally identical to the competitor's design so that business could be stolen from that competitor with the client in question.

Is that plagiarism?

Are we confusing plagiarism with unethical behavior or is copying simply copying without recognizing the source?

Most Colleges and Universities have a third party available to all instructors that will check out papers to see if they have been plagiarized. Many professors use that service but there are some that simply copy and paste sentences from various paragraphs into the Google search engine and press enter and the sources are readily available. Some have been paraphrased and some have been completely copied and used as their own.

So, here is the debate: should we hold students accountable for plagiarism when the "real world" does not or should we simply let it go, realizing that life over time is always self-correcting?

Sometimes, plagiarism is so easy to spot especially when one has in-class writing assignments and can compare them to out-of-class writing assignments and it is sad to think that college students believe that they will not get caught by professors.

Another issue for debate that is tied to plagiarism is: should colleges and universities prepare students for life and the "real world" or should they just acquaint them with the pursuit of knowledge? Can this question be easily answered by reading the Charter/Mission of the school?

Plagiarism is a substantial component of the competitive environment and should not be tampered with at any cost... is my opinion.


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  • Jun 25 2013: there is something more in reallity "not everyone is an inventor" things get copied but as long as they are encouraged to enhance what they copy

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