My Word! Plagiarism and College Culture.
Plagiarism and College Culture
By Susan D. Blum;
Cornell University Press, 2009;
240 pp.; $24.95
THIS BOOK IS LIKELY TO PROVIDE FUEL for both sides of a tricky debate, because Blum, as interviewer, remains a neutral observer. She doesn't condone plagiarism, but neither does she endorse what she carts outdated academic policies that treat art infractions the same way. Is the student who mistakenly omits a citation as guilty as one who copies paragraphs from a website, or who buys a paper online and turns it in as original work? As Blum says, it's not a black and white issue, but one of many shades of gray. And it's not just plagiarism--Blum presents a picture of an entire culture that believes that the occasional incidence of cheating is not a big dear. Many of the students that Blum interviewed in the book said they did what they did only as a means to get to "the next step." They know it's wrong, but an "until-I-get-caught" attitude persists. That's where the conversation really needs to start, and, Blum argues, that is what must change.