Sometimes, many times, this Cafe's barristers talk about our students. Our favorite topic is how do they cheat. Or, to be precise, 'how do they cheat stupidly.' Well, frankly, it's hard to know if they cheated in the exam. It is usually easier to detect plagiarism in an essay or paper assignment. And it is very easy to detect a clumsy plagiarism.
I'm sure it happened to the other lecturers, one way or another. But I did experience my articles being plagiarized. Aco once told me that one of his former students copied-and-pasted a few paragraphs of my article for his term paper without any citation. A worse case, reported by Rizal a few days ago, was when his student submitted my other article -- yes, a full article -- for his/her assignment (Rizal did not specify gender, and I did not care).
But I happened to have a first-hand experience of the stupidest plagiarism ever. A few years ago, my student even submitted my own article for her final assignment. Not only she was too lazy to write her own assignment. She was too lazy to check the stuff she was stealing!
We economists know very well that people (students) have incentives to cheat. But what we don't understand is why they do not bother to do it smart. Come on. We are lecturers and researchers. Reading newspaper articles is our job. Sometimes even we're the one writing those articles. At least, we are friends of the authors whose article you steal.
I once tried this way. In the final exam I asked one question: "write the title of your essay assignment and summarize it in one paragraph" (the essay was submitted before the exam). While most student did well in this question, still I found one or two who wrote a completely different thing from their essay, one or two who left it blank or were only able to remember the title, and some who did not 'answer' it correctly.
If you happen to be that type of student, I just want to say "Plis deh...!"