Wednesday, November 14, 2007

One Prof Gets Wise And Offers Her Students the Secret To Plagiarizing!

One of these days, I'm going to walk into a freshman composition class, and it's going to happen. I'm going to stop giving the "plagiarize and I will cut off your naughty bits" lecture and just sit them down and tell them how to do it effectively.

Because I am tired of the insult to my intelligence that cutting and pasting the first thing that pops up on Google is. I'm going to say to them "Hello, class. Today we're going to learn the important life skill of *not* getting caught. First, I'd like you all to pick up your bags and follow me to the library. What's that, you ask? Well, once upon a time, people couldn't Google things -- it was before the Internet -- and so they wrote lots and lots and lots of things down, and someone printed them and bound them and those things were called books. And then someone had the bright idea of gathering them all together in one place, and that was called a library."

Then, my class will follow me, duckling fashion, because they wouldn't want to seem to know where the library is. As we step inside the doors, I'll explain to them the magic of the library. "Do you know what this is? This is a place where knowledge that is not available online lives. So if, when you panic and decide that just giving me a Wikipedia entry is not a good idea, just take a nice deep breath and come here instead. You might just get away with it.

Because here's the thing -- in order to nail your little ass to the wall, I have to find what you copied. And my time is limited. So if I can't just Google it and find it in an hour or so, I might just give up."

And then I will give them milk and cookies, and let them go back to bed.