Drained by Plagiarism

This week I have been feeling super drained because of a plagiarism problem in my programming intro lecture.

Last week one of the TAs noticed a trio of identical reports. I sent a message to the students asking them what was up with that, and what one of them said in response rang some alarm bells in my head. I started digging in previous week’s reports and, sure enough, I started to find a large number of copied reports among students.

Writing a script to detect all the copied reports took me some time, and double checking the script results took even more time this week. And then the mental load of figuring out what to do with the students and how to talk to them — a weird balance between sternness and openness that feels extremely dependent on each student, and double hard in Japanese!

I guess the thing that gets me is that this is an introduction to programming class for a computer science degree. This is THE lecture that the students should have been excited about, or at least realize that a lot of their future depends on understanding how to program. So it feels really crummy to see so many students trying to take the easy way out here. :-(


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