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Plagiarism @ Uni

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by R.O.S.S.I, 17 Sep 2009.

  1. R.O.S.S.I

    Capodecina

    Joined: 16 Nov 2002

    Posts: 10,389

    Location: The Moon

    Hey all, just a quick question! A girl I know is just about to start her 2nd year at MMU in Manc. She had to resit a module last year as she failed it, and she recieved a letter yesterday from the Uni saying the module is being deferred due to Plagiarism.

    It doesn't really say anything other than we'll be in touch sort of thing, now i'm going to phone up for her today at some point to find out whats going on, but she is ADAMANT nothing has been copied in it and is pretty stressed out about it all to be honest.

    She is hoping they have got it mixed up at Uni as the work was a group assignment and so the work is likely to be very similar to one of her course mates who was in her group who had to resit it again; she has also recieved a letter saying the module is being deferred due to suspected plagiarism.
    So I don't really know whether they think its suspected plagiarism of another students work, or plagiarism from text books etc.

    Just wondering what the liklihood is that it is a mistake, and what Uni's stances are on Plagiarism now? When I finished Uni last year i'm fairly sure it was a case of if they suspected you of doing it you were thrown out of Uni.

    Any help appreciated.
     
  2. Hitman_Leon

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 29 May 2004

    Posts: 4,493

    Location: Tall building nearby

    Its a big thing these days, the uni will investigate, it might go to a board and through appeals and such, uni's have to defend the integrity of their degree's and along the way some innocents might get swept up, also a couple of innocent actions can have you up for plagiarism, example, dont even copy from your own prior work!, only quote!, did she do a whole new set of work or did she re-use some from the year she failed, that can be said to be plagiarism.
     
  3. rodo

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 22 Mar 2008

    Posts: 1,607

    Is there a possibility that another group member could have slipped a sentence or two in from wikipedia etc? I have had to work with dishonest group members before and been llet down by their laziness in referencing as well which can cause plagiarism issues.
     
  4. Hitman_Leon

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 29 May 2004

    Posts: 4,493

    Location: Tall building nearby

    :eek:


    Instant fail at some uni's for even quoting!
     
  5. Dev2

    Hitman

    Joined: 5 Jul 2006

    Posts: 959

    Location: Dublin

    Universities do take plagiarism very seriously, depending on the extent of the plagiarism they could well enact disciplinary measures. If they do she is lying to you if not then she didn't. I doubt they would expel her unless she simply took someone else's essay and submitted it as her own where the essay constituted a significant marking bias to her passing.
     
  6. Nitefly

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 24 Sep 2005

    Posts: 33,349

    I would consult your university / faculty's handbook - it will vary even within the university. Either way, it's very serious. I know a 4th year medic who was kicked off his course due to plagiarism.
     
  7. Dracata

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 21 Oct 2006

    Posts: 1,614

    Location: Cambridge

    I had this in Year 2 of uni back in 2005, when getting one of my module results they were "pending" I think and it stated that I was being accused of plagiarism, basically I could accept it and fail the module or go to a hearing type thing.

    The thing is, I hadn't copied a single word in the assignment in question, I swear on my daughters life. I spoke to the course tutor who was quite rude about it (I can understand they get a lot of plagiarism) and basically stated that if I didn't accept it, then it would get taken to some board of members who would likely still find me guilty and I'd get a worse punishment!

    Talk about draconian - they wouldn't give me any of the details in the end. I accepted it and re-took part of the module..
     
  8. R.O.S.S.I

    Capodecina

    Joined: 16 Nov 2002

    Posts: 10,389

    Location: The Moon

    Funny you should say that, because it was the same question they got issued to re-do, so both of them just got their old essays out and re-added to them with some extra new stuff. So a LARGE amount of it will be exactly the same as what they submitted the first time round.

    This may be where they have slipped up if so! Just wondering what the process is now though, I mean it's probably being looked at but is she expected to continue with her 2nd year etc as normal? If she gets found out to be guilty and they don't expel her, then technically she won't have passed her first year so will they get them to resit it again, just seems a bit of a cop out if they allow you to resit it lol? Or would they hold them back a year? I don't understand really, going to have a scan of the MMU website to see if i can find anything.
     
    Last edited: 17 Sep 2009
  9. Nitefly

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 24 Sep 2005

    Posts: 33,349

    I can't speak for all universities, but I certainly have to self reference from other essays / work.
     
  10. Hitman_Leon

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 29 May 2004

    Posts: 4,493

    Location: Tall building nearby

    Some of the time it can be put down to two people who think too much alike. Uni's have database's of prior work and some use tools to check that work, its not beyond comprehension that two people at different times at different uni's gave very similar answers and triggered that software to flag up plagiarism. It can be very unfair where it fails, think about it this way though before all this electronic checking so many halfwits must have passed degree's with prior work from another uni the other end of the country.
     
  11. AJK

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 8 Sep 2009

    Posts: 1,722

    Location: UK

    There are any number of reasons why someone would be flagged up for plagiarism. Sometimes it's purely an automatic check - a computer system says "hey look, this is similar to that, something's going on", sometimes the marker will notice something that looks suspicious and it warrants further investigation. Either way, you'll need to wait until your friend gets an explanation; there's not much point in guessing as depending on what she's done the best course of action could be very different.

    If they got re-issued the exact same question, it's unreasonable to ask them to discard earlier work which may have been (in part) good and worth using. I doubt this is it somehow (though if it is, I'd argue it!)
     
  12. R.O.S.S.I

    Capodecina

    Joined: 16 Nov 2002

    Posts: 10,389

    Location: The Moon

    Well thats what I thought, if I got asked to resit a question then i'd use my old work and add to it.

    Not having any luck finding anything on the MMU site lol!
     
  13. Gaygle

    Capodecina

    Joined: 7 Nov 2004

    Posts: 15,101

    Location: East of England

    As said above, i would get read up on what the university's plagiarism policies are. Failing that, just call someone at the University and i'm sure they'll be able to tell you far more about the specifics than we ever will.
     
  14. Hitman_Leon

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 29 May 2004

    Posts: 4,493

    Location: Tall building nearby

    If it is a single unit/module she may be allowed to resit that unit capped at the pass mark while she takes the 2nd year, it all depends on the plagirism charge and what the uni decide to do for punishment.

    Get her to check all her uni guides on plagiarism and work submission, IF it is not clear enough that you cannont use your own prior work without reference she could argue self stupidity and ambiguity of prior warning.

    She can't however simply say "I did not read the whatever guide" as you are supposed to read all rules and regulations
     
  15. R.O.S.S.I

    Capodecina

    Joined: 16 Nov 2002

    Posts: 10,389

    Location: The Moon

    So they'll let you resit a resit again lol!? even if you've been found guilty of plagiarism?!
     
  16. Azrael

    Gangster

    Joined: 29 Aug 2008

    Posts: 107

    Location: Canterbury, Kent

    In my first year of Uni we were asked to write an essay on the History of Computing. Needless to say, I did it and handed it in and got a good mark for it. However I also got accused of plagiarising for using the word "Albeit".

    I mean, come on! Loads of people I know use that word in daily life, not just uni work.
     
  17. Hitman_Leon

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 29 May 2004

    Posts: 4,493

    Location: Tall building nearby

    That's only if she can prove idiocy or lack of information, they may cut her a deal, its not a certainty and a resit module is capped at the pass mark, you dont pass you fail your degree and its a rock for your own back as you have a whole extra unit/module to study over and above the standard set for the year so if she struggled with her first years work she will not have an easy ride with the 2nd as she just gave herself another module.
     
    Last edited: 17 Sep 2009
  18. h00fzilla

    Hitman

    Joined: 1 Jul 2009

    Posts: 674

    Location: Finsbury Park

    A lot of unis use JISC's Turnitin plagiarism detection app:

    http://www.jiscpas.ac.uk/turnitinuk.php

    I guess it's a load of algorithms that look for similarities between past papers. My guess is that there must be a lot of false positives...
     
  19. AJK

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 8 Sep 2009

    Posts: 1,722

    Location: UK

    Each result that JISC flags up as "suspicious" should be reviewed by a human to ensure that it's not a false positive. I would hope that most Unis do this but wouldn't be surprised if some don't bother before crying "you cheated" at the students :(
     
  20. Mr Jack

    Capodecina

    Joined: 19 May 2004

    Posts: 21,152

    Location: Nordfriesland, Germany

    If she genuinely hasn't plagarised she should be able to take it to appeal. Someone at the Student's Union or Student Support should be available to explain the process to her and help her put her case.