Academics, you would think, are totally above copying and pasting information from a lowly source such as Wikipedia. However, when I was reviewing a professor’s PowerPoint last week prior to a quiz, I came across something shocking.
It seems that there aren’t as many checks on our educators as we would like.
I briefly thought that my professor had made a mistake, so I consulted Wikipedia to double-check the information. Lo and behold, the text on the PowerPoint slides was identical to the Wikipedia page. I was absolutely dumbfounded. How could someone who took 20 minutes during the first class to warn us of the ramifications of plagiarism actually plagiarize herself?
When students at Binghamton University sit down at the start of each semester, every professor stresses the importance of academic honesty. We are told to cite our sources, and we are sternly warned not to try and pass off anyone else’s work as our own. Bu some of us do it anyway. And it is inevitable that in every large class, someone will end up getting caught.
But who checks the professor’s work for plagiarism? And if the professors themselves are caught by students, should they be called out on it? I think students and our teachers should maintain the same level of academic honesty.
In their academic papers, there is no way that professors would try to publish something they found in passing on the Internet. Is it too much to ask then that they take the classes they teach just as seriously? I find it insulting that someone who is paid to teach wouldn’t take the time to even reword something.
It’s only fair that students and faculty are subject to the same rules. In the future, Binghamton University should set up some whistle-blowing system to prevent situations such as the one described above. When professors are caught passing off the work of other websites as their own — without proper citations, of course — students should be able to give them hell for it.
There shouldn’t be a double standard to begin with. Plagiarism is plagiarism and realistically, people that have received their doctorates should be able to put a set of quotation marks around something they lifted from the Internet without much trouble.
Copying and pasting something off the Internet ruins the credibility of the teacher and takes away from everything learned in the class, even if it happens only once. So much so, that I’m not listening to the professor at the moment, but instead writing this article.
While this is the first time I’ve caught someone teaching by way of Wikipedia, there is no way of knowing in what kind frequency this happens. Next time you’re studying for a test, type a few of your teacher’s words into your browser. Maybe you’ll be surprised, too. And perhaps in the future, our teachers will be annoyed when they have to run their lecture notes through Turnitin.