Friday, May 21, 2010


Dear SFSU,
I am a student at San Francisco State University. I and my fellow students in English 114 has done research on plagiarism. I believe that plagiarism is a problem at our school for several reasons. For one, students do not have a clear understanding of what classifies as plagiarism. It will be difficult to enforce the policy on plagiarism without giving a clear and precise meaning of the word. Then Teachers need to clarify what constitutes as common knowledge for their classes, and that the rules on plagiarism should be the same for every class. Some classes allow using old papers while others do not, it needs to be uniform so students will be able to hold more accountable when accused of plagiarism. Plagiarism has many forms, and there should be different levels of punishment for each type. For example, the punishment for having someone write the paper should be more severe then copying a couple of sentences. Also, I think that to solve the issue of plagiarism, we need to consider the reasons why students plagiarize in the first place.

My class has done a survey to gather data on plagiarism and read a variety of articles concerning plagiarism. The data suggest that the most common type of plagiarism is reusing old papers for assignments. In Susan D. Blum's book of “my Word”, she discusses a form of plagiarism known as patch writing, which is the process of copying a sentence and trying to change the words. The students recycle their assignments so they would have enough time for homework and activities, or try to copy the text from another person. . Students are more likely to plagiarize when they are short on time for their homework. I believe that there should be a workshop that will teach students on how to manage their time and maybe instruct them on how to use a planner. From the article “the Term Paper Artist” by Nick Mamatas, he explains that students know that it is cheaper to buy a paper from a paper mill then repeating the course again next year. For freshmen, they are not use to the work load, so I would suggest that the School suggest classes that would be easier for them to adjust to the pace of a college student.

There are many forms of plagiarism and students are unclear on which are covered by the rules of San Francisco State. The types of Plagiarism are: buying from a paper mill, patchwriting (changing a few words from a copied sentence), writing papers for others, allowing others to write for them, failing to cite sources and etc. It isn't surprising when students plagiarize by accident due to plagiarism being a vague concept. From our data, the most common type pf plagiarism is reusing old papers. Ten out of forty four students have answered on our survey that they had reused old papers. The students do not see it as plagiarism because the author is themselves, so I believe the school should make it alright to use old papers for their assignments or explain to them why using old papers are considered plagiarism. The school needs to also make clear that students who let others copy off of them is as guilty of plagiarism of those who copied off of them. Then after we define what plagiarism is, we need to decide the punishment for students caught doing plagiarism.

Since, plagiarism is not a crime in federal law, we need to clearly define plagiarism then decide according on how to administer punishment. The punishment for students caught plagiarizing should be base on the type. The penalty of being expelled is too severe a punishment for most circumstances. I think that students should be expelled for copying or buying an entire paper, while students who plagiarize by accident or by a couple of sentences should receive a lighter punishment. The university should instead punish students caught plagiarizing by requiring to make them take a course regarding plagiarism similar to how drivers have to go to school for getting a ticket. Another solution is to hold a trial for those accuse of plagiarism and let the student defend himself to see if he has any reasons for plagiarizing. This will give the student a fair chance to bring up any misunderstandings and to make sure that there is evidence to accuse him of plagiarism.

The data of our class survey has suggested that students are unaware of the school's policy when they plagiarize. I also think that by clarifying what plagiarism is that we can decrease the number of students who plagiarize. Due to the many types of plagiarism, I think that we have to decide on which ones should be addressed by the guidelines. The punishment should be determined by the type of plagiarism committed d by the student. By doing this, students are treated fairly while understanding the misdeed they committed.

Susan D. Blum, 2009 “My Word! Plagiarism and College Culture.”

Corbell University Press.

Nick Mamatas. The Term Paper Artist. 2008.

Monday, May 3, 2010

lass Project

I had learn from the class project that students tend to procrastinate on their homework because they prioritize extracurricular activities first. This could imply that in desperate situations that student might plagiarize. Although in theory, doing homework would take roughly the same amount of time, even if you procrastinate. Therefore, it would be best to do it first and get it out of the way for extracurricular activities.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


It has been an interesting experience at SFSU. I was glad that there was a shuttle that would take me from the bart station to the school. I have not taken quite an interest in my classes. The school seem quite busy with everyone passing out flyers. At the Casesar Chavez Center, there were plenty events that would occur there. I am only a first year so I do not have much experience at the school.
There are a wide variety of people at the school. I find there are a lot of activities and clubs that occur at the school. I did not face any problems with plagiarism that was describe in Notre Dame. I think I share the quality of being a performance self, since Bloom describe that students tend to be a performance self.
I would think that it is quite different from Notre Dame. Since, Nothre Dame is a private school, there would be differences in required courses. I believe that the students in Notre Dame would not as much Asian students compare to San Francisco State University. I believe that the students on Notre Dame would be more likely to plagiarize due to the pressures of being in a private school.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I have quite a selection of books recently. My favorite was the series called Ranger's apprentice. I read a total of five out of the seven that's currently available. It is a fantasy book for young adult's. It is about a boy who was in a king's orphanage in the castle after his parents passed away. After a certain age, the boy William and the other three orphans are chosen for jobs. William ended up being chosne by the mysterious ranger corps.

Another good book is the Giver, which I think it is a master piece. It is about a utopia and how one boy realizes something terrible about the society that he grew up in. It is an interesting perspective on how humanity try to keep things the same. It makes a person think about what is truly important. If you like the first book, then I also think that you should read the loosely base sequels "Gathering Blue" and " the Messenger." The books are also a quick read and very engaging.

I have read the whole secries of Cirque Du Freak. I do not think its for everyone, but it is about vampires. The vampires in the book aren't exactly the same vampires most people would imagine, since they do not turn into bats, but have some interesting traits. I find it good to read if your willing to go through the books.

One of the most recent books i read is called "The Dead and the Gone". I am not sure that's the full title, but it did have those words. It is about a post apocalyptic world after the moon got hit by a meteor which sends the moon's orbit closer to earth. This causes floods and eletric shortages in New York and around the world. Now, the main character must take care of his two sisters while, one of his parents are in Puerto Rico for a funeral, and the mother is out of reach when she went to her job.

I tend to check out books that have sequels of it. I tend to not be satifisfied with just one book in it. A read all of these books at my local library so i won't ran out of stuff to read. I consider reading a hobby for me.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Wikipedia is a valuable tool, but it should not be cited as a source for college level work. Wikipedia is simply a short summary compared to other sources. The wikipedia also faces problems with their quality of work. There are also inaccuracies within the articles of Wikipedia that may be misleading. Although Wikipedia is convenient, it's user generated content makes it questionable to be for paper that require critical thinking.
A Wikipedia may have valuable information, however it is more classified as an overview of the subject. It should merely be use as a starting point and a way to double check your information. College papers require critical thinking, which requires highly detailed information and " should not be citing an encyclopedia for college". Teachers should teach their student to use Wikipedia in leading to more Qualified articles.
Wikipedia faces problems with the quality of their articles, which makes them unsuited for citing. Wikipedia has a lot of articles, but they tend to differ with quality. The site lack enough editors to match their ever growing articles, which means that some sentences are either badly worded or confusing.
Wikipedia has inaccuracies, which makes it misleading. Their number of errors may be similar to Encyclopedia Britannica, but it is still significant. The major problem is that student do not double check their facts to see if the information is true. This will lead to poorly developed papers, if you just rely on wikipedia alone. A student should only cite Wikipedia, if he cited primary sources also.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Inventing the University

I find that Inventing the university an intriguing article. It discuss the difficulty of students trying to fit into the subject of the class. The student may have the same idea as a teacher, but the student is unable to express it in academic language. I find that students have an easier time learning facts then learning how to think critically.

I find it difficult to understand in keeping the language consistent throughout the essay. Since, I find that it is perception on what language belong to the rest of its context. There seems to be difculty in how to choose the corrects words to type.

It assumes that the basic writer is a remedial english student. This would explain why the voice of the author doesn't match what it is suppose to be for the crowd. I also find that writers may not be aware of their audience when they are writing to them. Teachers should try to go over more about writing to the appropriate audience.

I find the text difficult to read for the most part. The writer abruptly shifts to an essay to provide an example for him. I wonder whether it would of been better for him to add in examples more fluently. I had to reread some of the sections for me to understand the point of the essay.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Chapter 3 of My Word!

I agree with Blum's definition of performance and authentic self. Performance self is more about the goal, by whatever means is necessary, while Authentic self focus on originiality. The two of them are vague and can mean a variety of things. A performance self is more likely to plagiarize due to the lack of identifying who is the author. The performance self is what led to the creation of wikipedia, where the people do not get themselves credit.

I believe that I am more of an Authenthic self because I am more focus on my own thoughts then how it looks like for others. However, i believe that people are a mixture between authenthic and performance self. It is unlikely to be purely one thing, since personality tends to go back and forth between original and borrowing others words.I believe that a lot of students are more like performance self because their main goal is to get good grades.

I believe that the shift between authentic self to performance self should be reflected in the school. Since, teachers are more likely to be authentic self,while students are more likely to be performance self causes a conflict between the two. Due to technology, students look to be more about borrowing words, which causes the teachers to condemn them of plagiarism. I wonder what would happen when the students become teachers in the future, which will cause the teachers to be more of a performance self. I wonder what this would be for the students, it would probably have the school more lenient on the students habits, unless students shift back to authentic self.

I agree with Blum's quote of The performance self is more prone to cheat and plagiarize than the authentic self. . .For a performance self, intellectual property is a quaint yet meaningless notion." Since, the teachers are of authenthic self, obviously they would think that the students with a performance self to be cheaters. It is a matter of style. The students simply fall into the category of what teachers believe to be plagiarism, when it is simply a matter of habit for the performance self. The performance self is more likely to borrow words for their goal sense they have a less firm sense of self.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

chapter 2 of my word

I find that this chapter of My word quite interesting. It takes different stances on plagiarism by taking quotes from the people they have interviewed. It has answered my question on the first account of plagiarism seems to have taken place in Germany. The chapters questions what is original and defines intertexuality.

I am disappointed that there was no clear definition of plagiarism. As one of the interviewer remarked" plagiarism may be taking two or three words coincidentally. chapter points out that identically in a sentence." I do not see the schools expect us to not plagiarize, when it is not clearly defined, which makes everyone have their own subjective view on plagiarism. Since plagiarism is generally asking another person's work or idea, to avoid it you must be original. However, as the book has pointed out that everyone is influence by other people's ideas. Also, everything would eventually be classified as public domain, once enough time has passed.

It is intriguing on how people quote in normal conversation compared to the standards expect students to write. I understand that we do not quote in our normal conversation because it would be too much of a hassle and that it would kill the joke by interrupting the context that is in. In both Instant messaging and writing, it is common to quote something that is obscure, unlike common knowledge. What is determined as common knowledge is determined by what the writer perceives what his audience should already know.

I never thought that footnotes were any important. Now, I understand that it is a way for a person to check on their sources. I wonder if footnotes are better or more effective then quotations, but most likely that each are good for certain purposes. There are plenty of ways to cite your sources, but I find it disappointing that it's either too complicated or most students just don't know how to cite properly. When I embed quotes into an essay, I am not too confident that I had done it correctly.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


What I think an essay is a literary work that deals with answering with a topic question. High school essays consist five paragraphs, which I find boring and tedious. The formula for an essay does need require the five paragraphs, but are taught strictly throughout middle and high school. I find that essays are more interesting, if it is done in a move creative way.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Word! Chapter 1

I have read the introduction and the first chapter of My Word!. It reinforces the view I have on plagiarism about how its taking the credit of another person's work. I find it surprising at how vague plagiarism has become. Plagiarism is a serious crime for students, but it is so vague that almost everyone has committed plagiarism at least once.

The first chapter had answered my question on how plagiarism is viewed worldwide. I found it interested that plagiarism existed all across the world, and even as far back in China's history. I did not know that patchwriting may be considered plagiarism, since I find it commonplace. It's quite difficult that an important concept such as plagiarism has so many meanings, that it is easily for people to inadvertently plagerise someone's work.