Sunday, March 23, 2014

Link collection

A few links, submitted by a reader:
  • An article in the Guardian "How can universities stop students cheating online?"
    The author of the article believes all the marketing nonsense that MOOC-offering organizations can detect the student's identities by their typing and a web-cam picture. Hogwash. I can feed any film of myself into a stream and make it look like I am currently being watched. Even if they can identify my typing speed, they can't see the person standing across from me or the paper I just purchased online. That's why in Germany we proctor exams for online courses by having the students show up somewhere where a proctor will be watching over what they are writing.
  • A student at a Christian university blogs about plagiarism. The article quotes statistics from a site that I caught in 2010 (and in 2008) taking money from students to "check their papers", then submitting them to Turnitin, and doctoring the report to make it look like it was from their software. Turnitin put a honeypot paper in their database in 2010 and we checked all of the software systems with this paper. Only this system returned "100% plagiarism".
    The student blogger repeats myths such as "Professors use to screen student work before it is graded. If the work is original, it passes, but if it is derived from another paper, the teacher is made aware of it." This is just not true. Even if they call it an "originality score", one cannot ever prove originality. One can only prove plagiarism by finding a close source that was previously published.
  • From India: Two PhD guides found guilty of plagiarism: "Two professors from Zoology department working at an Ahmednagar-based college affiliated to the University of Pune, have been stripped off their status as PhD guides and two increments have been stopped, after they were found guilty of plagiarism."
  • Rodney Smith, in a bid to become president of the University of the Bahamas, tried to explain away the plagiarism in a speech he gave in 2005 while president of New York University. He was forced to resign over that incident.  It was a small mistake, he says, it was the writer of the speech who was at fault, it was the press' fault, etc.

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