By sheer coincidence I posted All your own work on the English and ESL blog yesterday. Yee Piao, a boy from Malaysia, left an interesting comment to which I have replied. (Yee Piao has YouTubed himself lately, I notice.)
Emergence of sites like Wikipedia, Answers.com, Free Dictionary and the best of all, Google had made this kind of hassle for teachers and lecturers.
Try visiting computer labs and libraries which are full of students and you will find many printing out stuffs from these sites. Whether they will further extract it or not, we really don’t know…
Today’s Sydney Morning Herald story concerns take-home assignments, the potential for plagiarism in such assignments, and the ethics of tutors and others who may have a hand in writing or revising such assignments.
My own position as a part-time tutor is to state “I will not do your assessment tasks or your homework, but I will review tasks after they have been marked, and I will assist you to understand the question before you do an assignment.” I go on to explain that the only good way for the student is to engage in the task for himself or herself, as in the exam situation no-one but the student can do the work. My task is to enable the student to cope in that situation as well as he or she possibly can, and to clear away as many obstacles to success as I possibly can. If the student is lazy or deeply untalented there is nothing much I can do for them no matter how much (and it isn’t much) they might pay.
Yes take-home assignments, any unsupervised assignment, may be rorted. On the other hand, there is no alternative that is fair. To do all assessments under examination conditions would seriously limit the range of skill and knowledge that would be assessed. There is no substitute for an assignment involving research over an extended period of time, and such assignments are by their nature “take home”.