August 2, 2008
I hate to think that a fail has “snuck up” on a student and taken them by surprise. You’d think they knew they were turning in crap all semester- after all, they saw the crappy grades they were getting- so why did they think their final grade would magically metamorphose into an A?
But the strangest of these is the plagiarist. I make a pretty big deal about plagiarism in my orientation materials, such as my syllabus and my orientation powerpoint. I think I make it pretty clear that cutting and pasting from websites is definitely plagiarism, and that I will definitely fail you for doing it.
Every couple of semesters, I catch someone plagiarizing on their final exam. I think it would happen more if I were more vigilant and a subscription to Turn It In, but generally, it would take a lot more work to catch folks than I have; so when I do catch somebody, you can bet it is pretty glaring.
Then comes the hilarious part: the post-semester email, when the student gets that final report, or checks on their grades in the gradebook, and sees that big, fat ZERO on their final exam. Ah, the great cry of “Why did I get a zero???”
What, you didn’t notice when you hit that “copy” button? How about the “paste” button?
What else can I say? “Here is the webpage you pulled your sentences from. Fail.”
As in, epic.