Scenarios 1: Whose is it, anyway?


  • David had basketball practice last night and didn’t have time to do his homework. Justin offers to let him copy his and sends it to David in an E-mail. Is that okay? Explain.
  • Manny has to write a paragraph about water resources for science. He finds a paragraph on a Web site that is just right. Manny copies it in his own handwriting. Is that okay? Explain
  • Samantha copies a Web page into her word processor and adds her own first sentence. Is that okay? Explain.
  • Marybeth spends a lot of time searching the Web. She finds a great drawing on a site.She prints it for the cover of her social studies report. Is that okay? Explain.

Questions for discussion

  1. What was happening in those scenarios?
  2. What are the differences from case to case?
  3. What are the similarities from case to case?
  4. What can you do without "plagiarizing" if you want to take others' words and phrases into your own work?

Scenarios2: Considering Copying

  • You copy photographs from various Web sites and place them on your personal Web page.
  • You use a search engine to find several Web sites containing information for a school report.You copy, paste, and reorganize one paragraph from each site into your report. Then you write your own introduction and conclusion.
  • You get a very funny birthday card in the mail, scan it, and post a link on your personal Web page.
  • You make a copy of your favorite word processing program and E-mail it to a friend who needs it to do homework.
  • Kids in school find out you have a very fast Internet connection and ask you to download music files for them.You see an opportunity to make some money, copy the files onto CDs, and offer them at much cheaper prices than they would pay for a CD in a music store.
  • An older brother tells you where on the Internet to get free passwords for subscription online games.You get a password and play a game that costs others $10 a month.
  • You learn where on the Internet to download first-run movies and watch one at home with your family.
  • You watch someone use their password to get into a library computer system and then copy the password to let yourself in.

Questions for discussion

  1. Do a self-reflection: Have you done any of those in your life? If you did, how was the experience?
  2. In each scenarios, which are considering copying and which are not?
  3. In each scenarios, what could you have done better if you were in the cases without being caught "copying"?
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