Culturally Diverse Learners: April 12 - 30, 2010

Video: Plagiarism

Video: Plagiarism

by Sylvia Currie -
Number of replies: 8
The Plagiarism video focuses on examining and explaining the rules of Canadian academic culture. Here are the accompanying resources for this video. A number of questions came up in our web conference on April 12th. I'll post them in a separate message.

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Video: Plagiarism -- our questions

by Sylvia Currie -
So many excellent questions emerged during our April 12 web conference. Plagiarism obviously continues to be a hot topic, but bringing in this cultural perspective certainly raised some new questions for us. I thought I should bring some of our questions forward here. Anything you'd like to pick up on?

Kyra: Whose sense of common sense should we apply?

Emma B: Does anyone have any ideas of different kind of common sense?

Gina: I think it needs to start with the context. WHAT is academic honesty (in North American, in institutional, in discipline-specific, in course context)? & WHY does it matter?

Asif: here's my question -- what if a student reads theorists and in the process comes to integrate the theories as their own -- where does citation stop?

Kyra: When and how are the "rules" taught?

Asif: is there a contradiction between open learning and plagiarism?

Asif: if we ask students to visit several sources to get a sense of some idea -- do we really expect them to cite all those when reflecting on their learning?

Alexandra: Speaking of common sense, is the academic honesty "common" to all the instructors?
Emma B: great question Alexandra- are there faculty from other cultures that this idea is confusing for also?

Asif: 'flow' for one instructor could mean plagiarism for another, no?

Sue Wolff: What are the academic honesty rules for our use of this video in our own faculty development modules?

Gina: I think our current emphasis on correct citation etc. etc. is not sustainable in the new world of mashup
Emma: Gina, where do you see it going?

Wendy Burton: So there are cultures you know of where plagiarism is accepted?

Tony Carr: I see a rush towards intensification of the surveillance + policing model eg in the use of automated plagiarism detection eg Turnitin
Emma: Tony, what's your feeling about that approach?

Emma: Do any of you have conversations around the plagiarism paradigm conversation on your campus? Is there a move to shift at all?

Emma: ...the idea of ownership is an interesting one. From our perspective, we own ideas and want credit, but from other perspectives, to say the words exactly are all one needs because the speaker is known. At what point do we allow students to use their 'way' of knowing?

Wendy Burton: If a student is copying an essay entirely from an essay bank - and they do so deliberately - I'm unlikely to accept that is a "way of knowing" or a cultural norm. Whose culture?

Alexandra: Isn't there a fine line between collaboration and copying your group member's idea and work and make it one's own?

Emma: …so to go back to the other question, if we have students from diverse cultures in the class, how and by whom should they be taught about academic integrity?

Kyra: Is the competitive aspect culturally influenced?

Melanie Wilke: and where does the time to teach this get carved out of?

Asif: what if you're teaching out of canada and into china -- which country's norms would apply?

Alexandra: Isn't it wrong to assume that knowledge belongs to one person from the start?

Kyra: Is this question of post colonialism? Some would argue that the internationalization of higher education has tinges of that... whose standards set the standards?

Sue Wolff: It's a great Big Idea or Essential question: What are Standards?
Who owns the standards? Where did they come from? Who cares?

Wendy Burton: Okay. I've taught in Finland, England, Scotland, China, Japan, Bangladesh, India, S Sudan, and Nairobi. Not to mention in far flung and remote reserves. I have NEVER encountered a student who claimed stealing someone else's words (from anywhere) and not acknowledging that was acceptable. Where are these cultures where this is acceptable?
Emma: ...this is interesting about all the different countries. Did you notice different ways of 'citing' sources in these different places that were different from what you initially expected?

Peter Fenrich: One part of education is to be able to think. Generating your own thoughts is important. How would we know if a person could think if they could copy whatever they wanted and not give credit?

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Video: Plagiarism -- our questions

by Gina Bennett -
Hi Sylvia, hi everybody

Our web conference last week -- especially our considerable discussion about plagiarism -- sure got me thinking. Coincidentally, I am working on a project for the International Dept. at our college, developing a list of educational activities for faculty who wish to develop their intercultural competence. A key developmental model we are using as a foundation is Milton Bennett's Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity, which coaxes us to look at our intercultural understanding as being somewhere on the scale from ethnocentric to ethnorelative. (If you want to know more, this is interesting.)

Anyway, I really got to thinking about how our discussion about plagiarism probably includes both ethnocentric & ethnorelative worldviews. I like Sylvia's opening statement for this thread, about how the plagiarism video is about "examining and explaining the rules of Canadian academic culture" -- I think it's so important to identify the milieu in which we work as an academic culture. Within this culture, plagiarism is often considered to be 'stealing' the ideas of others & such acts are treated as if ethically & morally wrong. While I don't think it's right to purposefully pretend that you created a unique work when in fact it was mostly 'borrowed' without citation, 'plagiarism' is often more vague than that & the grey area gets pretty big pretty fast. It's just different in different cultures, & for those of us who are immersed in Canadian academic culture, I think it's really worthwhile to work towards a more ethnorelative view.
In reply to Gina Bennett

Re: Video: Plagiarism -- our questions

by emma bourassa -

Hi Gina,

This is really what the motivation for producing the films was all about- to encourage us to question the lens from which we decide how our educational practice looks from others' views. And to question/wonder whether we can sustain the current culture of academic 'integrity' in our institutions. Can we learn from other cultures? What keeps us from considering or adopting other views?

Bennett's work, we have found, has been useful in providing a springboard for reflecting on where one is on the intercultural sensitivity continuum. Kyra and I have also administered the IDI (Intercultural Development Inventory) to about 40 faculty, staff and students at TRU (the cohort we worked with for Internationalizing Curriculum was an interesting start- although there is momentum to internationalizse, the 'readiness' to do this beyond adding on was not necessarily a given. I've since learned that the IDI and 3 day workshops were transfomative for some) . In my own case, it provided a 'starting' place that I could then identify what I needed to do to increase cultural awareness and begin my own shifts. It's exciting to know that you are using Bennett as well.

I'd like to invite others to respond or build on to any of the questions from the first session that Sylvia has provided, or let us know how you are taking in the other videos. As well, the student video may provide some insights- Sylvia where is that piece?


In reply to Gina Bennett

Re: Video: Plagiarism -- our questions

by Kyra Garson -
Hi Gina,
I agree that it is worthwhile to move to a more ethnorelative view, especially in higher education which is rapidly becoming a more international, intercultural environment. Hence our motivation to create the film scenarios: a springboard for dialogue and exchange of best or innovative practices.

The plagiarism / academic integrity piece is really interesting. It tends to evoke emotional responses, particularly from Western educators :) There is a growing number of scholars who are questioning the academy's rigorous defense of our rules and what is considered acceptable academic use of English. Indeed, Englishes is now considered in the plural form. Scholars and students all over the world are using English in ways that might not fit the paradigm we hold so dear, add to that the increasingly contested notion of ownership in the technological age, as well as the uncomfortable questions being raised in terms of not only ethnocentrism, but charges of post-colonialism within international education.

Perhaps we demand that academic writing adheres to Western standards because we are truly convinced that it is the only correct model where others are indeed deficient. It is interesting that we are able to make this claim knowing so little about other rhetorical models and academic discourses, isn't it?

Just a few heavy thoughts on this fine morning :)

Hopefully, you will have a chance to check out some of the resources we posted along with the films on the SoLR site, some of them expand on the above notions (I have more if you are really interested!)

In reply to Kyra Garson

Re: Video: Plagiarism -- our questions

by Gina Bennett -
Thanks, Kyra! I really **AM** interested to see more. What I would love to see (I haven't looked through all the resources in detail yet though) is a case study or narrative or other resource that illustrates differences in cultural approaches to education. For example, I once read an interesting account of how Asian scholars may think about certain writing approaches which include 'copying' the work of others (shows respect), the collectivist idea of truly shared knowledge, etc. Darned if I can remember where I read that but it was a really interesting glimpse into the [highly-ethical!] thinking of someone culturally different! And I also once read a research report comparing the 'creativity' of Asian schoolchildren when compared to American. The Asian children were taught to copy artistic works very closely when they were young. It was considered arrogant for them to express individual style until they got much older & more technically capable. Interestingly... by the time they were in early adulthood, the Asian students were at least as creative as their American counterparts. I love that kind of thing that challenges our stereotypes!

Ah, and yet a THIRD reference that I can't locate! I remember reading an old Frontier College publication, written to help prepare itinerant educators to work with disenfrancised adult learners. The text advised educators to remember "there is no 'right' English. All dialects are created equal." Of course, academic writing (any writing, really) needs to be clear, understandable... but good English is also not a moral issue!

A long post, sorry blush
In reply to Gina Bennett

Re: Video: Plagiarism -- our questions

by emma bourassa -

Gina, your post about the creativity reminded me of when I taught visual arts to middle school (gr 6-8) students. The Asians were amazed at the ideas the Canadians had (freedom to play) and the Canadians were astounded by the skill of the Asians (attention to quality). It was transformative to see them learn from each other because they were open to incorporating the different approaches. So, the 'creativity' didn't need to wait for adulthood :)

Does anyone else have some first hand stories to share about engaging in and valuing different perspectives? I believe it was Pat Pattison during the live session that questioned our questioning around plagiarism and invited us to consider why we think that way. ( If I"ve misquoted, please let me know!!)

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Video: Plagiarism

by Emma Duke-Williams -
One of the things that someone mentioned in the live session was (were?) mashups; i.e. the creative use of multiple online materials.

I've just read a blog post by Graham Attwell including some thoughts on bricolage (i.e. mashups)
He said:
Young people today are collecting their treasure to make their own meanings of objects they discover on the web. In contrast our education systems are based on specialised tools and materials.

I can see a couple of aspects of this:
1: How we use that bricolaging (?? is that a word!) skill of the students in the educational world (I suspect many of us in this group are doing that already with innovative assignments - but how do we encourage the more reluctant lecturers to innovate)

2: If we're going to be encouraging our students to use Creative Commons sources - do we encourage them to then re-share the material (esp. if that's part of the CC licence used in the first place). What if they don't? [they forget] What if they don't want to? [They don't want anyone else using their work / they don't think it's 'good enough']

There are also opportunties at times to look at how company A has taken company B to court for using its images/code/whatever on a website (and / or how students feel about their blog postings being "splogged" ) - etc. Do they see that in the same light as academic plagiarism. (And, following on from aspects of culture - are there differences between differing groups of students [be they from different nations/age groups/gender/ whatever]
I've not really looked at this - but as I'm looking at updating a Web design unit for next academic year, I think that mashups (legitimate ones) & less than legitimate use of others work could well be included.