I'm sitting alone in my office, surrounded by student papers. And once again, I'm catching plagiarizers. Two so far today. Both caught using Google. Both students in classes where I made it clear what plagiarism is. It's quite depressing, actually.
When plagiarism is blatant (as it was in these instances), I give automatic F grades. Rarely do the students challenge the grade -- on the occasions that they do, I simply take them to the web page from which they plagiarized. That tends to do the trick. On some occasions, they become sullen; on others, they start to beg for a second chance. I tell them they are welcome to repeat the class, but the F stands.
Asian students are more likely to plagiarize than white students; males are more likely to plagiarize than females. Plagiarism occurs less often in my gender studies classes and more often in my Western Civ courses. These are generalities, but no course or ethnic group is immune, it seems. And while it is dispiriting, there is almost something fun about catching a blatant example of academic dishonesty! I confess that on certain occasions, writing in a well-earned F next to a student's name gives me a certain pleasure. It's not akin to the joy that comes from giving a hard-working student a well-deserved A -- but it's close!