Temple requires that term papers be submitted through a service known as TurnItIn which purports to check for plagiarism not just with other papers but with THE ENTIRE INTERNET.  A task that’s beyond even the best webspiders and the Internet Archive can apparently be done by a piddling plagiarism policeman.  Laughable.  Anyway, I submitted my term paper and received a note back two days later from the instructor that the paper had been flagged for plagiarism and that I needed to explain myself.

Me: I didn’t plagiarize anything.
Instructor: Well, large portions of your paper were highlighted in red, indicating that they were copied.
Me: Copied from where?
Instructor: It doesn’t matter, plagiarism is plagiarism.  The Fox School stands for the highest standards of education.  Don’t think you can slip one by us.
Me: I didn’t plagiarize, I’m too arrogant, what now?
Instructor: You need to explain this to the department head.
Me: Can you at least tell me what was apparently plagiarized?
Instructor: I’ll see if I can send a copy.

I received the copy, and you know what my plagiarism was?  QUOTES, FUCKING QUOTES.  Magazines, articles, surveys and webpages all meticulously cited in the end-notes showed up as plagiarized.  How fucking dumb is that?

The irony is that being cited for plagiarism by using citations makes it more likely that students will take other people’s ideas without citation and simply modify them slightly to avoid being accused of plagiarism, which increases plagiarism.  Two weeks folks, two weeks.