The following is a response to Christopher Harris’ post “JumpCut Meta-Remix.” With regard to the remix culture I wrote about yesterday and prevalent student plagiarism he wrote:

There isn’t a “fix” for plagiarism. You can attempt to curtail it with policies or tools like TurnItIn. But, I pointed out, what if students know their papers are being submitted to TurnitIn, maybe they even have to submit it themselves…and they still plagiarize? What will the conversation be then? The best solution for this is prevention. And prevention is built around a proactive change in our assignments and assessments. One participant pointed out that this would probably take a revolutionary change throughout all of education. Yes, and isn’t that a good goal for us to have?

One of the questions we should have conversations about on these issues is, why are students plagiarizing? I agree with Christopher: Teachers need to take a lot at the sorts of assignments they are giving students and asking them to complete. They need to ask themselves, is this something a student CAN FAKE / plagiarize? I think as teachers we need to challenge ourselves to devise more authentic assessments, many of which may be performance based, which cannot be faked. Are these new ideas? No, many have been talking about the need for more authentic assessments for decades. Are these a revolutionary ideas? Unfortunately, yes, because most people still conceive of education as largely a process of content transmission and subsequent regurgitation on cue. That model needs to not just be rejected, but replaced by one including “unfakable” authentic assessments.

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