Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Someone's Mom Asks For Forgiveness.

This is a new one. I came to work this morning to find this e-mail in my inbox.

Dr. X,

I’m am sending this message to explain what happened on a recent assignment given to my son. My son is not dishonest and plagiaristic; he is guilty of not providing his sources. Due to technical difficulties, I helped him with the assignment. When I looked at the assignment, I encouraged getting the best facts from a comprehensive web site. The one you found may be the same one but it wasn’t the only site consulted just the one that covered the material comprehensively. The website and use of it was not a secret, my son simply failed to turn in the “sources” part of the assignment. I’m not writing to appeal for a grade but simply to not have him appear dishonest when I was a part of it. The need for clarity in content seemed more valuable to me than rewording.

Paula Parent

Unfortunately, I could not respond the way I wanted to respond. I wanted to say that this was not the first time I have had your son in a class of mine. I wanted to say that he has taken this same class twice before (unsuccessfully) with two other instructors. I wanted to say that I could probably guess how this whole thing went down. He had an assignment to do and instead of him doing it by himself (technical difficulties, WTF does that mean?) that you did it for him, probably like you did when he was in high school.

When he received a zero for the work (not done by him and really not even done by you) he probably came home raising hell that YOU landed him a big fat zero on the project. Oh, and by the way, rewording something (which you were too lazy to do) is also considered plagiarism, especially if you don't provide the source(s).