Gigantic Idiot / Technical Writing

Question: When Did You Learn That Copying and Pasting Is Wrong?

A question for the masses: When did you first encounter MLA in your English classes? When did you learn that claiming someone else’s writing as your own is plagiarism?

I learned MLA in eighth grade and used it throughout high school. Can’t remember when I learned that copying someone else’s words is called plagiarism, but I can recall The Fear that was put in me if ever I did plagiarize. Definitely practiced citing my sources throughout high school.

And now I find myself teaching community college writing, and I have students claiming they didn’t know that using someone else’s words and calling them their own is wrong. And I just can’t believe them! It’s like not learning that 2 + 2 = 4, right? How do you not know that!?

Any insight you can provide would be much appreciated!

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2 thoughts on “Question: When Did You Learn That Copying and Pasting Is Wrong?

  1. I distinctly remember an occasion where I had to write a report on whales in the 1st or 2nd grade. And when I got a little close to the encyclopedia’s wording (read: copied), THE FEAR was instilled with a good dose of disappointment.

    • I think my first report was on osteoporosis in fifth grade. And we were told to put everything in our own words. Maybe I just learned the lesson faster than my classmates?

      On my FB wall, someone said she learned these things in her upper-level HS English classes. Students who didn’t take them (and who are now in a community college because they realize they need some education) were likely never exposed to MLA and the like.

      Guess I need to implement a plagiarism module earlier in my semesters!

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