Sunday, April 30, 2017

Week 13: Final Project

My project is going to be a video in which I demonstrate how to plagiarize writing. The reason for this is because many students, especially those from other cultures and countries, are unfamiliar with what is considered plagiarism in the United States. Sometimes, they are also unfamiliar with the expectations for a research paper. I have had students in the past who thought it was appropriate to take relevant passages from articles they had read and copy and paste them into a word processing document. There was little to none of their own writing between these passages explaining, in their own words, the connection to their research interest. In other words, as a reader, I didn't know why they had selected the passages they did or how it related to their paper topic.

The barrier I'm encountering with this project is the utter futility I feel about completing it, and this course, in the first place. I realize this is some kind of blanket requirement from the grad school, and I appreciate and value an eye toward ethical behavior in higher education. At the same time, to make this a requirement of students who teach writing and encounter ethical discussions and questions of ethical practice just about every day is borderline ridiculous. As a PhD student, I have serious demands on my time. Every week, I have three courses to read for; usually, our professors assign an entire book or 7-8 academic research articles. This is usually around 150 pages of reading, x 3 = 450 pages of reading per week. In addition to my reading, of course, are any papers assigned for midterms and finals. Besides my coursework, I am a teaching assistant with my own lecture preparation, administrative work such as updating and posting information on Canvas, and grading to complete. The sheer quantity of work is ghastly. This is my last semester of coursework, so I'm kind of amazed that I even got this far, especially as a nontraditional student (which many PhD students are). Adding this course to my workload, well, frankly, just pisses me off. But I suppose I'd better stop wasting my time complaining and work on my final project.

p.s. Oh, and let me add to this post that the fact that I find it EXTREMELY unethical to ask students to spend time writing blog posts (or any kind of writing, for that matter) which no one is actually reading, save for the occasional other student who may comment on this blog post out of necessity because it's required for this course. When we assign writing to students in the English department, at least the course professor is reading it closely and offering detailed feedback on it.

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