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Cheating! Again!

I’ve stopped teaching students how to write anything longer than a paragraph because no matter how much I explain what plagiarism is or how severely I punish it, someone thinks they’re crafty and they plagiarize.

But for years I’ve had students create videos and have been delighted with the results of this speaking activity. The benefits I saw were:

  • They could re-do any mistakes with video,
  • They could work with friends they’ve selected on a topic they’ve chosen,
  • They could see their own performance
  • I can grade more carefully as I can pause or re-view part of the video to really access it properly

This Friday we watched each other’s videos. The morning was full of entertaining stories that incorporated vocabulary we’ve learned and told a story based on one of the themes in the book.

Then in the afternoon, we had some videos that were more slapdash. Problems like the camera wasn’t held the right way or part was upside down. Okay, there’s going to be some variance in quality, but–

The third video is shown and it’s exactly like one I saw this morning. Word for word. A few videos later, same story. At home I put the dialog into Baidu, the Chinese Google and lo and behold there are scripts online that students have used.

This semester all the teachers have been emphasizing the dangers and effects of plagiarism and any sort of cheating. Sure, a few students had cheated and they got the usual negative points. (I don’t give zero for cheaters any more as the student who doesn’t submit work gets a zero–honestly. The cheater tried to get an advantage by deceit, a deception that circumvents learning.)

I’ve found more cheating and am grading accordingly. I now have to check snippets of dialog for each video in Baidu. What a pain.

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