Wednesday, 30 October 2013

#Plagiarism and digital #citizenship

If you have, at any time, wondered how to react when some of your content was picked up without being cited, this is a nice video to view as you are reflecting on the topic.  The presenter is the wonderful Sophia Mavridi talking about digital plagiarism versus digital citizenship, a war of words. It is a wonderful overview of thoughts, cultural concepts on plagiarism, factual student realities, self expression and identity, privacy, self mediation,  and ... content repetition.

The content is of interest, but at the same time it is also interesting as it is a workshop recording. So in a way, you can enter the actions of this workshop after the actual fact. Though some editing might have cut out the group discussion and enable optimal use of time for us the viewers. But still, fun idea.

The recording makes you reflect on plagiarism, but there are various factors linked to plagiarism: human cultural (copying an author can be seen as an honor in some regions), academic mark (plagiarism is seen as a negative practice), cultural acceptable practice (copying narratives for plays, songs - covers, ... goes back to Roman times and is accepted). With new plagiarism tools (name is indicative for our perception of copying other people's work), detection is increasing. On the other end, there are still opportunities for plagiarism to be un-detected (translating from other languages is one, or rewriting...), and there is the conscious or accidental plagiarism. Sophia also remarks that sometimes grades are more important than learning, making plagiarism more attractive to get good grades (students doubting themselves, lack of time, or simply not knowing how to write something). Digital citizenship is put forward as a solution.

So what to do with this idea? Maybe it needs to be redefined, maybe personally given a place in the broader scheme of things?

In the past I saw some of my content coming up in courses or sites without being quoted, and I myself undoubtedly have sometimes used words of others while loosing the original author out of sight (endless rewriting is not ideal for me in keeping track of everything although I do try). At any occasion I am wondering on what to do. Some thoughts:

  • If I want to make a difference, surely everyone is free to use what I say for their own goals? My name is irrelevant to changing the world? In fact if any detail that I can come up with would indeed have the potential to make a positive change, than this would indeed be AWESOME already? So way should I care about my name?
  • If someone uses content I have built, surely that can only be seen as Open Educational Resources being reformatted (or not) and as such - being a propagator of open education - I must be all for it? My name - again - would not matter?

So, in the end it is my own vanity that compels me to choose my name above my idea. And if I can come up with an idea once, surely I can keep on coming up with ideas so I should not mind others running off with old ideas? Well, reflections on this topic do not seem to stop, so feel free to watch and reflect here: