Your initial discussion thread is due on Day 3 (Thursday) and you have until Day 7 (Monday) to respond to your classmates. Your grade will reflect both the quality of your initial post and the depth of your responses. Reference the Discussion Forum Grading Rubric for guidance on how your discussion will be evaluated.
Ethical and Legal Implications
In this discussion, you will explore and discuss how to use information ethically and legally. You will begin by watching a video about the serious nature of plagiarism and sharing your reaction. Then, you will examine some scenarios related to plagiarism at Ashford University.
Prepare: Begin your discussion post by viewing the CBS video, CBS Morning News “Plagiarism” story. Then, review 6 Ways to Avoid Plagiarism and Generally Be a Cool Person. Finally, read the article or listen to the podcast, Turnitin and the Debate Over Anti-Plagiarism Software.
Reflect: As you watch the video, think about the implications and consequences of plagiarism in the workplace and in the entertainment industry.
Write: After watching the video, describe your reaction to the video and the implications to your own work. Did it surprise you to learn how serious plagiarism is, or do you feel that you already understood this issue? Do you know of any other instances of plagiarism either in school or beyond? If so, what was the punishment in those situations?
Next, read one pair of scenarios below that highlight some of the most common plagiarism issues at the college level. The pairs will be assigned to you by the first initial of your last name in the chart below. For both scenarios in the pair, carefully read the scenario and respond as directed.
First Initial of Last Name
A – H
I – P
Q – Z
The discussion board prompt for Serena’s American History class asks students to brainstorm ways to improve the democratic system of government. Serena searches online to help her come up with ideas for what to write. She comes across the following sentences and copies and pastes them into her discussion post without any additions or her own commentary: “We cannot improve on the system of government handed down to us by the founders of the Republic. There is no way to improve upon that. But, what we can do is to find new ways to implement that system and realize our destiny.”Serena submits her discussion post but has a bad feeling about it. She is not sure what she should have done differently.
Write a paragraph of advice for Serena explaining why copying and pasting in the way that she did was wrong and what she should do differently next time.
Cara is writing a research paper for her Anthropology class. She notices that she is using a lot of quotations and wants to mix it up a bit by also paraphrasing some of her sources’ ideas. One of her sources states, “Almost all cultures celebrate some form of marriage. However, there are multiple variables across culture, some of the most noteworthy being average age of first marriage, common gender roles within marriages, and the role of romance.” Cara attempts to put these ideas into her own words by writing: “According to Smith (2004), practically every culture celebrates a certain type of marriage, but there are many variables such as average age at time of union, expected gender roles, and the role that romance plays.”
In this scenario, we know that Cara has good intentions and that she cites her source, so what is she doing wrong here? What should she do differently? Write a paragraph of advice for Cara telling her what she should do to fix her poor paraphrasing and how she should approach this process differently next time.
Paraphrasing Without Citation
Kelly is researching the representation of females in film for her Composition final. She wants to discuss the films of Kathryn Bigelow. She searches for “Kathryn Bigelow” in the Ashford University Library databases and locates an article by Joel Johnson that discusses Bigelow’s film, The Hurt Locker. Kelly finds a sentence that she feels perfectly covers what she wants to say about Bigelow’s filmmaking: “Bigelow is one of the few female directors who has consistently tackled ‘masculine’ subjects in her films.” She writes in her paper, “The subjects of Bigelow’s films are often male-centric, which is rare for a female director” but does not credit the idea to the source.
Write a paragraph of advice for Kelly explaining the importance of citing sources. Describe to Kelly what steps she needs to now take to avoid plagiarizing the author of the article.
Ryan’s Philosophy professor asked for students to explain the word “semantics” and use it in a sentence. Ryan looks up “semantics” on Dictionary.com and finds that it means, “the study of Meaning. It is the study of linguistic development that examines and classifies changes in meaning and form of words.” In Ryan’s response to his professor’s request, he writes, “Semantics focuses on meaning. It is the study of linguistic development. It looks at and classifies changes in meaning and forms of words.” Ryan is surprised when his professor gives him a 0 on the discussion post and warns him not to plagiarize in the future. Ryan argues that all definitions of “semantics” that he reviewed are almost identical and that the definition should be considered common knowledge.
Does Ryan have a point, or is there a different way he should have approached including a definition? Write a paragraph of advice for Ryan explaining what, if anything, he should have done differently in this situation.
Shawn is assigned a paper on biases in the judicial system. Shawn is having difficulty figuring out where to find sources for this topic. He has searched online and once briefly in the Ashford University Library databases but has not found what he is looking for: statistics of the number of people currently in jail in the United States versus ten years ago. Feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, Shawn decides that he knows enough about this topic to guess an average number. He writes, “The number of incarcerated males in America has increased by 10% in the last ten years.”
Write a paragraph of advice for Shawn explaining why creating a fact statistic is wrong and what he should do differently next time. Explain to Shawn what he should have done in this situation instead of fabricating a statistic.
Wanda and her brother, Gene, are both students at Ashford University. They share many of the same interests. Both are English majors, they take most of the same courses (though not the same course section), and they like to do their homework together because it helps them share good ideas and also save time. Recently they took an American Literature class and read The Great Gatsby. Wanda and Gene had to complete the same final paper topic, so they researched together, reading and incorporating the same resources into both of their papers. They also discussed their ideas while writing and ended up both arguing the same main point in their papers. Several weeks later, Wanda and Gene got letters from the Office of Academic Integrity saying that they had committed plagiarism.
Write a paragraph of advice to Wanda and Gene explaining to them what they might have done differently in this situation to avoid this outcome. In your paragraph, explain whether or not you believe their actions to be plagiarism.
To maximize the opportunity for vigorous discussion, you must post to this discussion on at least three separate days of the week and your posts must total at least 600 words as you address the questions noted above. Your first post must be completed by Day 3 (Thursday) and the remainder of your posts must be completed by Day 7 (Monday). You must answer all aspects of the prompt at some point during the week. Also, be sure to reply to your classmates and instructor.
Respond to Peers: Reply to at least two of your classmates who explored a different scenario than that which you examined. Will the advice they provided be helpful in the future for the individual in the scenario? What might your classmates add to their advice to make it even more helpful? What additional resources could the individuals in the scenarios be directed to for help?