The New York Times once again stretches its credulity to stretch ours with this article about student plagiarism, whose central thesis seems to be that kids today don’t understand the concept of authorship. Props to Mike Sebba for the link. The article contains the usual professorial stories about hilariously obvious student copying, including this classic font-shift tell:
The tip-off to one student’s copying was the purple shade of several paragraphs he had lifted from the Web; when confronted by a writing tutor his professor had sent him to, he was not defensive — he just wanted to know how to change purple text to black.
First of all, way to hand the problem off to the writing tutor, professor who does not want to have to go to academic court. Second, the article considers this and other anecdotal instances of egregious ripoff—plus the omnipresent recent surveys, in which the number of respondents who say that copying from websites constitutes “serious cheating” declined from 34% to 29%—and concludes that modern college students don’t understand the concept of plagiarism. Guess why? If you said “the Internet,” then congratulations—you’re ready to write trend pieces for the New York Times. Here’s your Zune.