Class Activity: Ethical Problems of Plagiarism

Document created by Bethany Gordon Employee on Jun 22, 2017
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Ask your students to read the following scenario and identify all the ethical and practical problems with Jack’s strategy. After students have identified the problems in the scenario, ask them to answer the following question: What suggestions do you have for Jack to finish his paper ethically? Assign this activity as a Writing Reflection exercise, or alternatively, consider using this topic for a class discussion. 


At the end of history class on Monday, Jack’s instructor told the students, “As you’re finalizing the paper that is due Friday, let me know if you have any questions about how to cite your sources. Remember to submit your paper at my office no later than 5:00 p.m.” Jack panicked. He had completely forgotten about this paper and hadn’t even begun working on it, much less thinking about how to cite sources. He raced out of class and went back to his room where his roommate was just waking up. Jack’s roommate had the solution: “Just pick a topic that a lot of people have written about—something like World War II—go to Wikipedia, and copy all the information. Wikipedia even has all the sources listed.” Jack had never used Wikipedia before, but he thought “borrowing” the Wikipedia write-up was a good last-minute solution.