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Like I said, I assigned my students sonnets last week. After finding a paper written by one William Shakespeare, I found that half of my senior class copied other well-written sonnets and called them their own. Below are the details of my course of action.


– Taught them a new word (“Plagiarism,” obviously)

– Slowly made two piles of the submissions on my desk while the students watched in silence (save the “OHHHHH!” whenever a paper went into the plagiarist pile)

– Described Rensselaer’s policy on stealing others’ work (well, their policy for every other class but Comp Sci)

– Asked the students if they they thought I didn’t have the mental faculties to pick out plagiarism from the Chinglish that they usually hand in

I calmly went to the back of the room and gave the students an opportunity to make the work up. They could either get up in front of the entire class and admit they plagiarized, in which case they would have the opportunity to hand in their own work two days from now, or they could sit there and fail. Every student I called went up and admitted to stealing another’s work. This was very contradictory to what I originally assumed would happen since I thought this culture put more weight on saving face than others.

This weekend, I recovered from a sore throat (hover aside).

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