Module 1: RECOGNIZING THE FEATURES OF PATCHWRITING

Overview

Welcome! Watch this short, three minute videoin which students from Boston University talk about plagiarism.


As you can see, there are a lot of different kinds of plagiarism, some of which are entirely unintentional. One common form of unintentional plagiarism is patchwriting. Just what IS patchwriting? And how does it differ from other forms of plagiarism?

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"Patchwriting" is a term coined by Rebecca Moore Howard to describe what happens when students attempt to paraphrase a source but rely too heavily on the original source's syntax (the way sentences are arranged), phrasing, and/or vocabulary. Typically, students don't INTEND to patchwrite. However, when they do, they may face severe consequences from instructors who view patchwriting as indistinguishable from intentional plagiarism.

No doubt, you've come to this course because YOU don't want to accidentally patchwrite. To help you avoid this error in paraphrasing, the first step is to understand what constitutes patchwritten text.

In this module there are three related lessons. Start by moving through each one. By the end of lesson 3, you should have a more clear sense of how to identify patchwriting. After you review the three lessons, we'll "test" your knowledge by examining two case studies.

MODULE LESSONS

Click on the links to each lesson below before starting the Case Studies.

LESSON 1.1 HOW TO RECOGNIZE PATCHWRITTEN SYNTAX
Objective: Students will identify patchwritten syntax
LESSON 1.2 HOW TO RECOGNIZE PATCHWRITTEN PHRASING
Objective:Students will identify patchwritten phrasing
LESSON 1.3 HOW TO RECOGNIZE PATCHWRITTEN WORDING
Objective:Students will identify patchwritten vocabulary

CASE STUDY #1 EXAMPLE

Now that you've had a chance to watch the video tutorials/lessons and reflect privately, let's test what you've learned.

1. First, watch this video (5 minutes) of a student attempting to paraphrase. As you watch, try to determine if you think she is paraphrasing effectively, or whether she is accidentally patchwriting. Using what you've learned so far, take note of any strengths or weaknesses you identify in her process.

2. After you've watched the case study, watch this video (5 minutes) of a professor evaluating the student's attempt. Compare and contrast your analysis of the student's attempted paraphrase with the professor's analysis. Did you identify the same strengths and weaknesses?

If not, return to the earlier lessons to review them. If you're ready, move onto Case Study #2 and follow the directions there.

CASE STUDY #2

In this lesson so far, you've been working individually. Now we're going to do some group work. If you haven't done group work before, take a look at this video example [1] of a face-to-face class doing a very similar task as you: trying to decide if something is plagiarism.


READY TO LOOK AT ANOTHER CASE STUDY WITH YOUR CLASSMATES?

Angela is doing a research paper on industrial farming. She has come across an article she'd like to use in her paper and would like to paraphrase from it in her notes. However, she's still feeling a little uncertain about the rules regarding paraphrasing. Imagine you've been paired with Angela to help her determine if her paraphrase is patchwriting. First, take a look at the attempted paraphrase below and compare/contrast it with the original source material. Note any strengths or weaknesses in Angela's attempted paraphrase. What suggestions would you give to her?


Case study 2 module 1.png


Now that you've read Angela's attempt, discuss your observations in groups of four or five students.

1. In a face-to-face class, your instructor can put you in small groups. If you're using this course in an online class, refer to this Excel to sign up for a small group (no more than four students per group please).

2. Then, go to this link [Todaysmeet.com] to find the site where we'll do all of our discussion; the discussion for this module will happen in the classroom called KNILT2Group#. Or, your professor may prefer to use a different discussion site, for example in Blackboard.

A FEW NOTES ON GROUP DISCUSSION:
You may find it helpful to preview a group discussion rubric to guide your feedback (your instructor may want to use it to grade your contributions). Additionally, you may want to refresh your memories about proper etiquette in group discussion [2] Finally, you may be wondering why you're doing group discussion at all. Generally, studies show that the more students participate in group discussion, the more they learn. If you're interested, here's a quick breakdown of the benefits that accrue from participating in group discussion (and why your instructors are likely to use it in class!).

DIRECTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

In the discussion forum assigned to your group, consider Angela's work. You should make at least three posts:

  • Your first post should explain your observations about the paraphrase
  • Your second post should respond to a classmate about his/her observations. Do you agree or disagree? Why? Perhaps ask your classmate a question about his/her observations, or suggest why the two of you may disagree.
  • Your third post should be a response to a classmate who has responded to you. You should try to reach some sort of consensus in this post about the paraphrase. Avoid agreeing to disagree.

CASE STUDY #2 ASSESSMENT

It's your turn to give Angela some advice about her paraphrase. Write a short letter to Angela (5-7 sentences) in which you identify any errors you see in her paraphrase. Explain what she has done well and what specific revisions she will need to make to avoid patchwriting. In so doing, identify at least one example of patchwritten syntax, one example of patchwritten phrasing, and one example of patchwritten word use. Also feel free to note any examples of blatant plagiarism.

Upon completion, submit your letter to your instructor. If you are taking this course in an LMS like ANGEL or Blackboard, your professor may have provided you a dropbox. Alternately, you can write your letter in Googledocs and share/email it to your professor.

Your letter will be evaluated based on the following criteria:


1. Did you correctly identify one example of patchwritten syntax in need of correction and suggest a way to fix it?
2. Did you correctly identify one example of patchwritten phrasing in need of correction and suggest a way to fix it?
3. Did you correctly identify one example of patchwritten word use in need of correction and suggest a way to fix it?
4. If blatant plagiarism exists, did you identify it?
5. Did you provide feedback to Angela about what she has done well?




READY TO MOVE ON? RETURN TO ELIZABETH'S MINI-COURSE ON PATCHWRITING TO START MODULE 2.