When I submitted Thomas F. Edgar’s article, Lab Courses Go Virtual, to the Plagiarism Checker, the article was returned with a 100% similarity index. If this were a homework assignment, this score would tell me the paper was intentionally plagiarized, and there was absolutely no effort put into the assignment. I would be very dissatisfied if I was an instructor and one of my students handed in a paper with a 100% similarity index.

My first course of action would be to allow the student an opportunity to explain himself or herself, although I cannot imagine there being any reasonable explanation for such a high percentage. As an instructor I would have a zero tolerance policy on papers returned with a 100% similarity index, so any student’s explanation would be for my personal pleasure.

Next, I would issue a 0% to the student for the assignment. I would explain that a 100% similarity index is a blatant disregard for plagiarism, cheating, and the student code of conduct. I would also tell the student I would have to inform the campus committee due to these actions.

If an argument was made, I would be sure to reinforce the student code of conduct. I would stress how plagiarizing is dishonest, and can be demoralizing to students who do not plagiarize. I would make sure the student is aware plagiarizing diminishes critical thinking ability and diminishes standards at work.

If that was not enough for the student, I would let the student know there are other forms of behavior that constitute academic dishonesty. I would inform the student about fabrication, unauthorized assistance, copyright infringement, misrepresentation, and collusion. I would hope plagiarism would never be an issue again with this student, after that lecture.

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