Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I'm glad to be teaching Newstalk again. That's because I get to talk about news items that are interesting to me. As a model of a Newstalk blog entry, I posted this one today:

Expert sets up survey on cheating

I found this article with the title above, in the local free campus newspaper, the Daily Egyptian today. It is about a national expert on plagiarism, Don McCabe of Rutgers University, who is doing a survey here at SIUC and who will visit SIUC in February to present his results. SIUC invited him here partly as a response to a plagiarism scandal involving its president, Glenn Poshard, and in order to raise awareness of plagiarism in general. By the way the DE invited both students and faculty to take the survey here. In general Dr. McCabe knows about and collects stories of academic cheating from around the USA, and is interested in SIUC probably because its students could be compared to students at other big universities. It is interesting to him, for example, how much our awareness of the plagiarism scandal could change our opinions.

I am very interested in this situation, because I have studied plagiarism for years, and I knew who this man was before I read the article. Plagiarism is quite different for my international students than it is for Americans, most of whom have heard about it for many years before they arrived in the university. My students in general are shocked at the high price American academics pay for being associated with plagiarism, especially since copying is quite common in some countries and in some circumstances not even considered wrong or illegal. I think it's important to teach it to them as soon as possible, but I hope they don't leave CESL without having some idea what people are saying about plagiarizing in general. I strongly recommend that SIUC students go to this talk (4 PM, Feb. 7, Old Baptist Foundation) for this reason.

More about this later, I hope.

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