With Time and CNN suspending
their columnist for plagiarism charges, many newspapers have printed articles
with their reporters speaking out on this. Some papers have even dedicated an entire
page to plagiarism, not in journalism, but plagiarism among students.

 The articles
speak a lot on how students should refuse copying and think, write on their own and
all. This made me think about my own situation in college. Before every
internal, we are given an assignment in every subject. In my first year, I was
so naive that I wrote all my assignments by referring text books not prescribed,
writing down the matter on my own, making a 5 mark assignment look like a
technical paper. I was proud of it, but I realized later that I was looked upon as
an idiot by my friends. Why? Because I spent so much time in writing a ‘silly’
assignment when others were just ripping off text books, Wikipedia and copying
exactly what others have written. This isn’t even seen as copying, its dubbed
“sharing” or “helping”. Just last week, when my class was
given an assignment one creative friend  of mine photocopied someone
else’s  assignment and soon whole class did the same.

 So what now? Are
we to ban assignments in colleges and move on to other evaluation process? No.
What could be done is to order students not to copy their assignments. Not
only that, giving different assignment to different students would help a lot.
We are so obsessed with marks that the assignments that are given just before exams because
they will make the student understand the subject, are not taken seriously, and end up being copied from someone else just to save some effort. Plagiarism, in college, has
to stop, just to protect interests of students like me. Yes, it is a big deal.
We sometimes spend hours in writing assignments and understanding the concepts. We don’t do that to have some hotshot to write exactly the same thing. We do it
for ourselves. We have to do it only to better ourselves and not because I’m
writing an article on it. Now that I have made my point, I have an assignment
waiting for me.

 

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Srinivas Arcot

Srinivas Arcot

An eternal optimist with volatile cynicism.