Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rational Responses to Plagiarism

Rob Jenkins has a nice piece in the Chronical of Higher Education about the pedagogical issues surrounding plagiarism enforcement.  An excerpt:

"Either you can be a teacher or you can be the plagiarism police. I choose to be a teacher. As such, part of my job involves catching the occasional plagiarist. When that happens, I chalk one up for the good guys. Otherwise, I don't worry about it. I find that I'm much happier and more productive that way. True, some students may 'get away with' cheating, for the time being, but I believe they'll get their comeuppance eventually."

The article was written, at least in part, in light of the experience of Professor Ipeirotis (NYU Business) who blogged about his dissatisfaction as a teacher serving in the plagiarism police role.  Still, I'm not sure about the cosmic-justice theory of plagiarism enforcement that Jenkins espouses, especially in legal education.  Working to detect and report unethical future lawyers, if not a duty, would seem to be at least a moral or professional requirement in law teaching.


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