Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Just over a year ago the academic media had a brief rumbling over reports that a student at my old university was sueing over failure to detect his plagarism. A Google search suggests that nothing much further was reported beyond the initial story, though there's an interesting interview with Jaswinder Gill of Gills Solicitors (the leading firm for educational law matters) on some of the issues involved.

One has to wonder why, in the age of Google, anyone would be stupid enough to plagarise of the internet. Especially at one of the leading universities for computing where they can easily track stuff down!

The case attracted a lot of attention across the internet, with several long discussions on many blogs, but very few seemed to be informed by anyone with direct experience of Kent - one honourable exception being paul haine (he prefers it capitalised that way). In general there was little sympathy for Gunn - few found the idea that the university had deliberately kept quiet while taking extra fees was in any way credible (even in the era of tuition fees undergraduate students still cost a university more than they bring in). Some of those without local knowledge wondered if the rules had never been made very clear, but from a combination of my own experience, the experience of other students (including direct contemporaries of Gunn in the same department) and even external examiners the universal view is that the guidelines are very clear and that it is repeatedly drummed home to students. About the only comments I saw in Gunn's favour were either an anonymous comment on one blog claiming he was the victim of prejudice but without substaniation and one blogger querying if giving students a rather dry handbook and expecting them to read it all is enough (well that is far from all he would have received, but even if it was I doubt a court would be swayed by the argument that the University should have made him read it out loud!).

A year on it seems nothing much happened that the media took any interest in. I suspect, given Jaswinder Gill's comments, that at that stage no legal proceedings had actually started, for whatever reason. More generally the problem of plagarism remains. I wonder if the Gunn case has had any effect on any current students.

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...