Ah yes, the new honor code will fix everything

From The Chronicle of Higher Education, “Coursera Adds Honor-Code Prompt in Response to Reports of Plagiarism.”  To quote:

The step is a small one, but it was carried out with the start-up company’s signature swiftness. Students in Coursera’s courses must now renew their commitment to its academic honor code every time they submit an essay assignment for grading by peers.

Specifically, they must check a box next to this sentence: “In accordance with the Honor Code, I certify that my answers here are my own work, and that I have appropriately acknowledged all external sources (if any) that were used in this work.”

I noticed this in the World Music class this last week when I posted my writing about Aboriginal music, but I didn’t exactly give it a whole lot of thought.  Frankly, it reminded me a lot of all those “terms of service” agreements that we all check without reading.  Hopefully I haven’t agreed to some kind of sick HUMANCENTiPAD project.

Anyway, as I wrote before on this, I don’t think plagiarism is actually that big of a problem in these classes so far, and it is frankly low on my list for the problems of the writing assignments and the peer review process.  But hey, if it makes Coursera et al feel better that I check a box, sure.


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