April 29, 2013 at 3:18 am #155117
What are your thoughts about a Continuing Education site that might be offering a course that has been plagiarized from the web…in particular Wikipedia?
I was asked to review an upcoming course so that this company could get it approved. Since the topic is not one that I normally deal with, during my second round of reading, I went to the web for clarification on a few items. It was then that I found the nearly identical text (word for word) on Wikipedia and so far another site. Yes, I suppose that the CE author could have updated the Wiki sites and written the other paper – there are no author names…but seriously, how coincidental would that be?
I consider plagiarism kind of a ‘deal breaker’ but as my 7th grader told me “it’s not considered plagiarism if every 5th word is changed”….seriously!? That’s what they learn in school….’course they also make flashcards so as to avoid plagiarizing….. but this got me to thinking: how offended are other professionals about plagairism?
Would you be willing to pay for a course if you could find the information for free on the web?
(Yes, I am still making comments on the course….up to 7 pages of comments…and I’m not done yet. But they will get my thoughts on plagiarism by professionals as well…..)April 29, 2013 at 10:45 am #155123
In addition to ethical issues there is an educational one: if the instructor has had to plagiarize the course, how deep can his or her familiarity with the subject be? We take a class because we want a different, deeper experience than reading a Wiki post can give (as well as the CEUs). I think a live class ought to offer more than a plagiarized text (although it reminds me of my college chemistry professor who simply read us the text book day after day for an entire year!)April 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm #155122
Leslie B WagleParticipant
The chance that they looked at other sources and accumulated material isn’t so much a deal breaker but attempting to pass off word for word is pretty amazing. Couldn’t they find anything a little more obscure than Wikipedia? That’s a bad precedent not only for the one course but anything else they might also offer becomes suspect. Even companies looking to fill their blogs to keep their readers interested will typically say in advertisements that writers must send original writing.April 29, 2013 at 3:16 pm #155121
Unless they were the one who provided that info to wiki, etc, it’s a hard sell. As Rob pointed out, being professionals, I think it’s fair to say that the intention for continuing ed is that we want to learn from experts in their field. To show that the credentials have to look good first, plagiarizing just sounds awful.April 29, 2013 at 7:34 pm #155120
I called the company to check their policy on copying or plagiarizing from the web and the reply was essentially:
– the course was a compilation of material and the site(s) were not copy written (I found one that was used and was also copy written) so they can use that information if they want to;
– my comments didn’t really matter (although I could send them) because they were only interested in how long it took me to finish the course.
I’m sure that I “won’t” pass the test after my call (you mail the test back to them) and probably won’t ever be asked to review a course for them again….oh well. At least I know whose course I won’t pay for in the future.
A bit disappointing.April 29, 2013 at 10:34 pm #155119
Dennis J. Jarrard, PLA, CLARBParticipant
I had a professor in college that taught Recreational Geography. He, also, basically read the textbook to us everyday. On the plus side, he was the actual author of the text book. Still it would have been nicer to have a deeper discussion on his themes instead of a regurgitation of them. What I thought would be enjoyable class turned out to be very boring.April 29, 2013 at 11:45 pm #155118
I wish that I could say who the company is but I don’t think that it would be appropriate….perhaps the course will not even be approved…I can only hope.
The course is so badly compiled (per the person that answered the phone…as opposed to written) that it was confusing without poor flow and had poor hierarchy of topics, scattered information (“random” information would be stuck in a paragraph that didn’t make sense), poor grammar, misspellings, etc. Since they (originally) asked for a review, my comments were intended to let them know what things might be unclear or confusing to somone like me who hadn’t worked in that particular area.
Imagine picking a topic that you were going to teach…and then opening several free websites about that topic but instead of actually reading / researching those sites, just copying the information onto “your” paper. Just copy and paste. Yeah, that bad.
As “random” as some of it was…it could have been put together by a 7th grader….well then again…probably not…afterall, they are taught not to plagiarize….
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