Plagiarism skills

| Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Here's an excerpt out of the article I'm using to write my paper.

I think that student plagiarists are often poor plagiarists because they don't realize that it's even possible to be a savvy reader, that it's possible to read a text that has been cobbled together from multiple sources and determine where one source's contribution ends and another's begins. Those students don't pay attention to diction, syntax, or tone when they read, so they can't possibly imagine that someone else might.

If that is, in fact, what goes on (or, rather, doesn't go on) in our students' minds when they are copying material, then we may have run into an example of a broad human tendency to take our individual selves as the standard by which we judge everyone else.

The philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach noticed that tendency, explaining the difference between two bad poets like this: "He who, having written a bad poem, knows it to be bad, is in his intelligence, and therefore in his nature, not so limited as he who, having written a bad poem, admires it and thinks it good."

If Feuerbach is right, then by showing our students what good work is, helping them discover what makes it good work, and explaining how we can very clearly tell the difference between good and bad work, or the relative differences between two authors, we are not only improving their minds, but improving their "natures." That is a lofty word, one that even humanities professors (maybe especially humanities professors) hesitate to utter. But maybe we can agree at least that we can try to broaden students' perspectives and raise their standards, so that they can be better critics -- and better self-critics. (Malesic)

I find this interesting.

Also, that quote by Feuerbach is horribly convoluted, but I like it. Not that it's awesome to be pessimistic about everything we do, but I agree with him. It's good to be critical. Finding things to improve on = potential for growth.

I think I'm pretty critical. I know I can be critical about writing. I enjoy it. The chief reason I get crap grades in writing classes is not because of that, I believe, but because I never have my work done on time (if ever) because I'm too busy procrastinating to distract myself from a feeling of idea- and word-drought. I hate that feeling.

I've got a burstlet of inspiration though, so I'm hopefully going to finish a rough draft of this compare and contrast essay here in the next 1.5 hours...

PS. Totally not plagiarizing.
Works Cited

Malesic, John. "How dumb do they think we are?" Chronicle of Higher Education.
15 December 2006: 2-3.

Fellow WR121 classmates might appreciate this.
How to cite a periodical in MLA format
How to cite an electronic source (Ctrl+F for Wikipedia)