Ctrl+c –> Ctrl+v… My encounter with online plagiarism

Plagiarism, the act of taking the writings of another person and passing them off as one’s own (Encyclopedia Britannica).

“Citation in the first line of the article? Good going!”

It is considered to be a heinous crime in the scientific and literary circles. The most recent example of such was seen in the speech of wife of (unfortunately) current president of US of A. Parts of the speech were quite evidently copied from a speech of her predecessor. This matter did not stay in the news for long because integrity was never considered a strong suit of politicians.

Another incident i must mention, which in fact prompted me to write in the first place. Like many others searching for additional resources to learn something new, i opted for a short online course on ‘Coursera’. This particular course had a ‘Peer graded assignment’ at the end of it. In such assignments, students are expected to research on chosen topics, and prepare a report of sorts which is then reviewed by other people enrolled in the course. Each student has to compulsorily review at least 4-5 other assignments.

After undergoing my share of painful online research i compiled my report and submitted it. When the first report was given to me for review, just out of curiosity, i copied one of the lines of the text and searched it on Google. I stumbled upon on the ‘about us’ section of the company’s website. Much to my surprise the entire assignment was exactly the same as the content on that page except for the addition of bullet points for ‘organisation of information'(!). After spending 4 days of my vacation flipping through (more like scrolling through) pages after pages of annual reports of past year, making sense out of stock market squiggly lines and adding up the number of money and jobs lost during 2014-15, i was rightfully infuriated to see a 100% plagiarism. After reporting this i was presented with another one which sadly was the exact same case. I had to report that too.

The third report i saw was written by someone clever. This time, before hunting for plagiarism myself, i ran it through an online service for detecting plagiarism. I was pleasantly surprised when the assignment came out to be a 100% original one. i wasn’t convinced so i decided to keep digging. What happened next will shock you! (by this time it really shouldn’t)(also, buzz-feed like much?)

This guy (or girl), whoever he (or she) was did this:

They evaluate customer’s needs for ventilation, heating, detection and electrical systems. They also provide creative solutions that fits customer’s budget and needs. (sentence from the assignment)

We will evaluate your needs for ventilation, electrical, heating, monitoring, and detection systems. We’ll also provide creative and scalable solutions that fit your budget

(sentence on company’s website)

You don’t need a degree to understand what is done here. Now this technically doesn’t count as complete plagiarism, it still is not accepted in the academic community and is a shame that people can get away by doing this.

I guess this is why an employer probably would not take a course certificate as seriously as a course completed by being physically present with the instructors. This was just one of the courses which i did. I am pretty confident that as i venture on to other courses i will see no difference in their assignment submissions as well.

I do not have a proper conclusion for this one.

One advice though, DON’T COPY. You were given a brain (i hope!). Use it. It is not that hard…


11 thoughts on “Ctrl+c –> Ctrl+v… My encounter with online plagiarism

  1. I do agree with this. The ‘lazy mindset’ of people is just getting better not in terms of using their nerve connections to build something original but to Ctrl+C and then Ctrl+V. Mostly because they’re technologically more advanced ( being sarcastic).
    Since eternity this plagiarism virus is ruining the academic and scientific excellence. Unless people start using antidote for it (here, antidote- Use your God damn Brain), this problem will not cease to null.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazingly written. Keep writing more.
    And about the article, yes, sadly, plagiarism is seen even in our courses that we ate currently studying and the IITs aren’t an exception to this either…


  3. Be something like an agnostic. Assume that whatever you read might be plagiarized. Be happy if what you read is useful and/or enjoyable. Do not dig further.
    This view leads to the questions about writer’s motivation and intellectual property. If those questions could be answered in a useful way, we will have a different paradigm about writing and reading.

    Employers have learnt not to trust the attendance too. They have also learnt to provide in-house education even for the topics which were supposed to be learnt before one gets a degree.


  4. Good piece of writing Gandhar. Really enjoyed your choice of topic. The title was quite irresistible. Look forward to more!


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