If I told my students the god awful truth, I would say to them, "If you are going to cheat, do it so well I don't notice."
I am sure that some of my students do cheat so well I don't notice, but I notice enough of the cheating to realize that I should run a seminar on cheating. I should put it out there under a false title, something like, "Improve Your Grade Instantly." I would market it to the students desperate to get into the UC system and charge a ton of money for it.
In the class, I would show them the teacher secrets of how to notice plagiarized text. My first lesson would be to hand out two essays, one that a student wrote herself and the other an essay the student stole and turned in.
"See how in one essay she writes 'I much admire activities on the mountain tops.' And now notice how in the next essay, she purports to write 'After a very long and lustrous day of skiing in the alps, we all repaired to the quaint and homely cottage owned by the hapless goatherd and drank mead.'"
I would walk the aisles, looking serious. "What differences do you notice?"
None of the students would volunteer because they just wouldn't see the diction and syntactical differences. But by the end of the class, they would be able to write on their own "After visiting the mountain top, we enjoyed the company of the goatherd. We went to his charming cottage and drank an alcoholic beverage."
They would learn to steal and then turn the stolen words into their own. It would be a miracle! They wouldn't have to think and only have to employ a few techniques to fool any hapless English teacher, much less goatherd.
But no. None of my students have taken this class, for which I will charge millions. They got to the "must have an A at any cost" school of design, and some are failing in that regard as well.
Meanwhile, I listen to students tell me that they cheat because they are far from home. Because they don't know the culture. Because they have to get into UC. Because they are lonely and stuck in their apartments eating terrible American cheeseburgers.
I blink. I nod. I lecture. I wish for the mountaintop.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org