Funniest Plagiarism StoriesYou know you have some!  Among my favorites is a student who was asked to write a paper on Antigone.  Alas, not only did she plagiarize from Sparknotes, she made the...

Funniest Plagiarism Stories

You know you have some!  Among my favorites is a student who was asked to write a paper on Antigone.  Alas, not only did she plagiarize from Sparknotes, she made the mistake of copying (word for word, I might add) from the analysis of Jean Anouilh's work, not the Sophocles we were studying. 

Today's word:  B-U-S-T-E-D. 

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alexb2's profile pic

alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Due to some sort of clerical problem, a friend of mine was just a couple of credits away from graduating at the end of 4 years in University. Desperate to get the final credits in Summer school so he could "walk" with his class at graduation, he signed up for a class which offered a few credits (less then a normal class) on alcoholism. Well, when the final paper (and only assignment) came up, he decided to pay someone to write it for him. The topic was open-ended, it just had to be something on alcoholism.

My friend picked up his paper from the guy who had agreed to write it for him and turned it in. He got it back a week later, and he had gotten an "A", so he decided to read what the kid had wrote. It turned out that the person he paid to write the essay had just gotten something off the internet, and it was about 1 page of general information about alcoholism before it went into a gripping personal narrative of an African-American woman's decades-long battle with alcohol and drugs.

So, to recap-- a guy pays another student to write an essay, that kid plagiarizes, and the teacher either doesn't notice or doesn't care, and my friend graduated on time.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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My first teaching assignment was in Kississimmee, Florida.  I was teaching high school freshmen and asked the kids to write an original poem on any subject.  Imagine my surprise when one girl turned in her poem...the complete lyrics to "I Will Always Love You" (performed by both Dolly Parton and again by Whitney Houston).  I told her we should seriously consider putting her poem to music and brought in the music teacher to help us with the endeavor, and put the "poem" on the overhead for all to see.  As we all (students included) began singing the song, she fidgeted uncomfortably and finally admitted her error.  I'm sure this is an event she will never forget, and maybe it prevented her from being ejected from a college class for the same error.

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jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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In college, my friends and I took a writing class from the funniest professor on earth. But we had to write two pages of creative writing a  week. One guy took the class for the laughs and didn't havea  creative bone in his body, so he desperately copied the plot of a Charlie Daniels Band song.....

Of course when he handed them back, he had a little background music.  

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Oh, I have a good plagiarism story to add!  On the NPR program, (my favorite!) Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me Roy Blount Jr. told a true story about a "romance" novelist, Cassie Edwards, who plagiarized a passage in her novel Shadow Bear

Unintentionly comic, the "hot frontierswoman" and Chief Shadow Bear have just finished a passionate love sceen atop a mound of pelts in his teepee.  Inexplicably, the pair then begin an odd discourse about the habits of blackfooted ferrets!  The material was lifted from author Paul Tomay, from his article  which appeared in "Defenders of Wildlife" Magazine. 

Apparently, romance bloggers were irritated about this foray (no pun intended!) into the particulars of ferret life and word eventually got back to Tomay. 

You can hear the story at:

http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=18236421&m=18236409

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Ha!  Jeff, that is too, too funny! 

I have two more, both of which involve people who certainly should have known better.   I cannot recall the two schools involved in the first, but one was Ivy League.  Apparently one plagiarized the Anti-Plagiarism policy of the other, word-for-word, and put it on their own site. 

A personal recollection:  A few years back, I had a student I adored, but he was a real country bumpkin.  Smart and funny, but his writing rarely involved more than two syllable words.  His paper would sound for a bit like his normal East Texas self, and then suddenly jump to language like "anti-conglomurate" (or somesuch thing.)  I looked up the suspect words, but nothing.  Finally called him into my ofc, circle a few of the words and asked them what they meant.  Stammering for a bit, he finally admitted his RA (Resident Hall Advisor) had written large chunks of the paper. 

 

That is what I tell my kiddos. It just takes one word to trip them up.
I had a boy who wrote about Van Gogh. In it he used the word "feverishly". Not a word out of his ballpark, but I am a born skeptic.

I showed him how easy it is to check. I just googled "van gogh feverishly" and there it was word for word.

Now, when I give my syllabus at the start of the year I use the projector and google those three words and tell that story.

Fear and intimidation...two of the most valuable weapons...

Though I am very easy-going and we laugh a lot in my classes, I always begin my courses with the caveat, "Don't mistake my kindness for weakness."  They seem to remember this... 

jeff-hauge's profile pic

jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

Ha!  Jeff, that is too, too funny! 

I have two more, both of which involve people who certainly should have known better.   I cannot recall the two schools involved in the first, but one was Ivy League.  Apparently one plagiarized the Anti-Plagiarism policy of the other, word-for-word, and put it on their own site. 

A personal recollection:  A few years back, I had a student I adored, but he was a real country bumpkin.  Smart and funny, but his writing rarely involved more than two syllable words.  His paper would sound for a bit like his normal East Texas self, and then suddenly jump to language like "anti-conglomurate" (or somesuch thing.)  I looked up the suspect words, but nothing.  Finally called him into my ofc, circle a few of the words and asked them what they meant.  Stammering for a bit, he finally admitted his RA (Resident Hall Advisor) had written large chunks of the paper. 

 

That is what I tell my kiddos. It just takes one word to trip them up.
I had a boy who wrote about Van Gogh. In it he used the word "feverishly". Not a word out of his ballpark, but I am a born skeptic.

I showed him how easy it is to check. I just googled "van gogh feverishly" and there it was word for word.

Now, when I give my syllabus at the start of the year I use the projector and google those three words and tell that story.

jamie-wheeler's profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Ha!  Jeff, that is too, too funny! 

I have two more, both of which involve people who certainly should have known better.   I cannot recall the two schools involved in the first, but one was Ivy League.  Apparently one plagiarized the Anti-Plagiarism policy of the other, word-for-word, and put it on their own site. 

A personal recollection:  A few years back, I had a student I adored, but he was a real country bumpkin.  Smart and funny, but his writing rarely involved more than two syllable words.  His paper would sound for a bit like his normal East Texas self, and then suddenly jump to language like "anti-conglomurate" (or somesuch thing.)  I looked up the suspect words, but nothing.  Finally called him into my ofc, circle a few of the words and asked them what they meant.  Stammering for a bit, he finally admitted his RA (Resident Hall Advisor) had written large chunks of the paper. 

 

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

One more story . . .

I was on a WASC accreditation team which looked at another school's plan for achievement. In their plan they spoke extensively about the farm on their campus and the work that the students did to maintain this farm. Pretty much the entire school revolved around this farm. When we went on the visit we were all excited to see the farm and the programs related to it. When we got there it was the first thing we asked to see. The site administrator looked very puzzled and said, "We don't have a farm." We back at him and asked why then did they talk about the farm at length in their plan. It turns out that the person committee who was assigned to write their school plan blew it off and submitted a plan from another school in the area with a similar demographic thinking they could pass it off as their own, not even thinking about the farm! Lesson learned here- even teachers cheat! Needless to say they did not receive the accreditation they were seeking- I would have like to see the other school though, the farm sounded pretty great! :)

This is amazing!  Oh my word...let's hope someone was fired...

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

One more story . . .

I was on a WASC accreditation team which looked at another school's plan for achievement. In their plan they spoke extensively about the farm on their campus and the work that the students did to maintain this farm. Pretty much the entire school revolved around this farm. When we went on the visit we were all excited to see the farm and the programs related to it. When we got there it was the first thing we asked to see. The site administrator looked very puzzled and said, "We don't have a farm." We back at him and asked why then did they talk about the farm at length in their plan. It turns out that the person committee who was assigned to write their school plan blew it off and submitted a plan from another school in the area with a similar demographic thinking they could pass it off as their own, not even thinking about the farm! Lesson learned here- even teachers cheat! Needless to say they did not receive the accreditation they were seeking- I would have like to see the other school though, the farm sounded pretty great! :)

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

In response to those stories above- HILARIOUS! I have quite a story myself.

A girl submits a final term paper and I am baffled because she has submitted a photocopied term paper from a student in another class, said class is another course entirely, it's a whole different grade level in fact and has been asked to write a different term paper! When I ask this student to stay after class to discuss her paper, she is appalled that she will now receive a failing grade. She tells me it isn't fair because her printer broke ad this was all she could do, not to mention, she tells me, that this paper is far more advanced than what I had asked her to do so she should at least be allowed to write the paper. I asked her, "Well _______, I thought you already wrote the paper and your printer broke." To which she replies, "I didn't write the paper because my printer broke and I knew I wouldn't be able to turn it in so I tried to find alternative methods of submitting a paper." Imagine the laughter I had to contain! :)

jeff-hauge's profile pic

jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

I had my kids write about political candidates. One kiddo copied and pasted straight from cnn.com without reading it. I told him it was so good I wanted him to read it aloud to the class. So, for the first time, he read it... including the line "all of which will be covered tonight at 8 pm Eastern with Wolf Blitzer....."

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I once had four students plagiarize from the same section on sparknotes.  In his defense, one of the four students said he couldn't have cheated because he didn't know "those girls" (the other three).

Response?  "I'm sorry, young man, your logic does  not resemble our Earth logic."

LOL!!!! :)

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I once had four students plagiarize from the same section on sparknotes.  In his defense, one of the four students said he couldn't have cheated because he didn't know "those girls" (the other three).

Response?  "I'm sorry, young man, your logic does  not resemble our Earth logic."

malibrarian's profile pic

malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

One student of mine had to write a paper for Classical Lit, and the minute I started reading his paper I knew he hadn't written it - the words just didn't sound like him or anything he had previously written. I called him at home and said, "So, ______, your paper sounds really good.  I just have one question - What does 'ubiquitous' mean?"  Dead silence on the other end...Hello?  Hello?  He finally stammers and says, "Well, I knew it when I wrote the paper!"

Another student lifted big chunks from a wikipedia article - then cited the wikipedia page in his bibliography.  That just makes life so much easier, don't it??? :)

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mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

I used to do book reports in summary form and have two of my favorites that are similar to what's already been posted.  One who copied the dust jacket (but accidentally left the dust jacket on my desk when he turned in his report).  The second was great because it was a LOW (!!) level student who had a HIGH (!!) level student write the report for him.  When the kid turned in his book report, he turned in both his report and the one he had copied from.  Rather than point this out right away, I simply asked the kid to define some of the words he had used in his report.  Once his face couldn't get any redder, I showed him his mistake.

My all time favorite, though - When kids take hard copy tests, I just have them start a pile on my desk.  One kid came up to "ask me a question" about the test.  I didn't realize it at the time, but he had placed his test right on top of another test to ask me the question then grabbed both of them and brought them back to his desk.  I probably wouldn't have caught him, except when he turned his test in, he had stapled both tests together!

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