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Being Falsly Accused of Plagiarism

 
 
slm1211
 
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2010 07:12 am
Hi I would like opinions for anyone who has every been a student or a teacher or currently is one of the above.

I am a graduate student and I accidentally sent into my professor (via online submission) information that I copy and pasted from a website we were supposed to go to for the assignment. What happened is that I never went back through the document and actual did the assignment/discussion.
She brought me to her office and we discussed how I should receive a zero for the assignment which I agreed with, but on top of that she believes that I have plagiarized the assignment that I did not even complete! I am being submitted to a Professional Misconduct Committee and on top of that I am an Honor Council Member for my graduate school. It was a stupid mistake and now I am at risk of expulsion because of absent-mindedness.

I would like advise on how I should go about convincing the Misconduct Committee that I did not intend to steal or not credit anyone's original works?
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Type: Question • Score: 10 • Views: 4,080 • Replies: 19
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2010 07:16 am
@slm1211,
I don't think intention is the main thing here.

There was an assignment, and you submitted someone else's work.

You seem to take it as a given that copying and pasting a swath of someone else's work and then... adjusting it?... is an acceptable way to do the assignment. That's problematic right there IMO.

How do you "go back through the document and actually do the assignment/ discussion"? Was it just questions that you didn't answer?

I think the rest of my answer depends on that part, really.
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2010 07:45 am
@slm1211,
You made a clerical error. It wasnt an error of judgement or of morality. You sent the wrong document in which you had paraphrased the web site for your own purposes.

They dont believe you. This sort of thing is why I am not at Uni. It may be in your best interest to leave before being fired and applying at another Uni for credits for previous study .
spidergal
 
  2  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2010 07:59 am
@slm1211,
I'd show her the assignment that I actually did, and try explaining how I accidently sent in my notes instead.

I'm only just out of college, and I think you should just be honest about the whole affair.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2010 08:01 am
@Ionus,
There was no paraphrasing though, straight copy and paste.

From what has been said so far, it seems like your best bet, slm1211, is to leave "false accusations" out of it -- if you copied and pasted something from a website and submitted it as your own work it's plagiarism, full stop -- and just explain why it happened.

I still need more info before I figure out how much of a problem it really is.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2010 08:49 am
@spidergal,
Agreed - and also bring along any hard proof you have...and any proof of prior work. Anything you actually have that would support where you stand and your prior performance at school.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2010 08:52 am
@spidergal,
spidergal wrote:

I'd show her the assignment that I actually did, and try explaining how I accidently sent in my notes instead.


This is what slm1211 said, though:

slm1211 wrote:
What happened is that I never went back through the document and actual did the assignment/discussion.


Emphasis mine.

He/she never actually did the assignment/ discussion, so there is nothing to show except for the plagiarized copy and paste.

Maybe I'm misreading.
spidergal
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2010 09:05 am
@sozobe,
I was of two minds about what the OP said but I decided she meant she had done the assignment on her own without consulting the copy-paste notes that she accidently sent to the professor.

I think they need to clarify this part for all of us here.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2010 10:06 am
It's the Committee you will have to convince.

Hopefully, you could show that the plagerized material did not complete the assignment either. In other words, you sent the wrong material, those are just reference notes for your use only.

I hope you DID complete the assignment and just emailed in the wrong file.

Slip of the finger . . .

That would be your best defense.
0 Replies
 
slm1211
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2010 10:20 am
@slm1211,
To all:
I have these assignments for this online class the meets once a week. The assignment was to go to this products website and list its features and then write a response about how the features apply to people with disabilities. I always copy and paste the information from these websites into a document so I don't have to go back and forth between windows on the computer. I did this for every assignment so far for the class. I then would come back to the assignment before the due date and write my opinion/discussion about the product then delete the product description I use come to my own conclusion about how the product can help certain disability populations. The product description does not include the answer needed for the paper. In this case I never reread the document to finish the paper and submitted it online thinking it was done.

Now what was copied and pasted had nothing to do with the assignment that is why I am saying I did not complete the assignment thus should get a grade of a zero for the paper (yes I agree). But if you read what was sent, it doesn't even make sense and it doesn't even look like I new what the assignment was.

Let me know if I can answer any more questions.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2010 10:32 am
@slm1211,
OK, that makes more sense, thanks.

I do think that while it was due to carelessness, you have some culpability. You did not do the assignment, yet submitted something.

You may well have to bear some consequences for that beyond getting a zero on the assignment.

It doesn't sound like expulsion is likely or deserved, though.

I think you just have to present it exactly as you say here (your latest post, your first one was a bit confusing), with a copy of the document in question and a copy of the assignment itself.
slm1211
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2010 10:42 am
@sozobe,
Yeah sorry, its hard to be logical and concise when your future is on the line over absent mindedness
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2010 10:46 am
@slm1211,
Here it doesn't matter, but in terms of the committee, now is exactly the time to be logical and concise!

While I can't say anything for sure of course I do think it's unlikely that they would expel you for the scenario you've laid out. So take a deep breath, get your documentation together, and then just explain things.

Let us know what happens... good luck.
slm1211
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2010 11:41 am
@sozobe,
Thanks for all the advice and I will let you know the outcome:)
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2010 11:45 am
If I were on the Committee, I would ask you why you didn't save a copy of the 'completed' assignment that you submitted - or at least printed it out for your own records. It would have revealed everything.

Sorry, but you showed impulsiveness and lack of attention to the assignment. Hardy grounds for expulsion, but they will be watching you from now on.

Hope this is a lesson for you to check, check, double check.

0 Replies
 
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2010 02:03 pm
I am having trouble understanding how it that since you knew the assignment was unfinished . . . in fact, it was so unfinished that you never read the original assignment . . . you submitted a supposedly finished piece of work to your professor which seems to have consisted of material she initially suggested to the class as a source of information.
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Nov, 2010 06:44 pm
@plainoldme,
A moment of mis-attention to file names.
0 Replies
 
slm1211
 
  2  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2010 11:39 am
@slm1211,
Hey all:
I have a conclusion to the issue finally. I went to the committee meeting said my peace, they asked a few questions, I admitted to plagiarism or copying and pasting from the online catalog. I got a letter later from the department director she she said that the committee concluded that the professor should have handled this issue and the director did not initiate any extra punishment. My professor ended up giving me a zero, which is what a believed should have took place a long time ago. Thanks for all your input into this matter. The lesson I learned from this was to reference and cite every assignment I complete that has ideas, concepts, thoughts, research etc.. that is not my own, especially if it is from the internet!!!
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2010 01:10 pm
@slm1211,
A fair and decent outcome I suppose. A lesson learned. I'm glad you didn't get a far stricter penalty like academic suspension or worse.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2010 01:48 pm
@slm1211,
That's probably the best possible outcome.
0 Replies
 
 

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