It’s hard to imagine that this article would be a bombshell to college professors and administrators. Cheating isn’t a new thing, and even in a large class of students they must be able to recognize the consistency of a student’s writing ability (or at least a sudden, marked improvement in it). This is how websites and services such as turnitin make all of their money after all, though the effectiveness to which they can counter a custom paper would not be very good. Even though they must recognize this, they shouldn’t be blamed to the extent that Dante blames them. There isn’t much they can do, save look over the shoulder of each of their students as they write their papers. The way Dante customizes papers, researches each subject in depth, and even inserts such things as typos makes the paper buying cheaters nearly impossible to catch. If I were a professor I would of course want to catch the cheaters, but the clandestine way in which they cheat is nearly impossible to detect. This is primarily Dante’s fault, since if he didn’t write the papers the students couldn’t cheat. He shifts the blame to the educators, going so far as to name them as the primary cause of cheating, as if they actively encouraged it. I highly doubt any educator is actively trying to fail their student, but perhaps that’s just my experience since most of my teachers have been supportive. So to get back to the question of what I would do if I were a college professor, I would just continue teaching my students and try to support them to the best of my ability, and maybe try to make them understand the importance of their own work.
Goldsmith’s Uncreative Writing class would be interesting to take. It would definitely be more on the artistic side rather than the usual “write such and such about this and that book”. As a child of the internet, I’ve long thrown away the idea that any of my individual thoughts are truly original. A quick google search for a “new ideas” that come to my mind reveal write-ups, in-depth descriptions, and sometimes even patents. But just as with programming, it’s the utilization of previous works that creates a new, creative work. Programming languages have finite amounts of syntax and libraries which the programmer may use, but obviously not all programs are the same. It’s the creativity and ingenuity with which the programmer, similar to an artist or a writer, executes his work that makes it unique and genius. I would want to take his class for the purpose of seeing this with writing as a medium, just for the sake of seeing where interest can stem from uncreativity.
I found myself reading Dante’s article with more contempt, since his motives were primarily economic. But more importantly than that, the ways in which the two writers use the term plagiarism are very different. Goldsmith’s version of plagiarism is the representation of the individual writer through repurposing, effectively making a new work born out the aggregation of old works, as opposed to Dante’s straight cheating by writing for lazy, incapable, rich kids. Goldsmith’s examples, as art, still exhibit some form of creativity from each writer, which is the essential purpose of art. The purposes of his “uncreative” writing are for the sake of expression, while the purpose of Dante’s writing are to accomplish goals such as passing a class or completing a thesis paper. Dante’s writing is full of empty words and fillers, devoid of meaning, with the single purpose of increasing a number on the bottom right of the page in order to fulfill his economic motives. Stealing content is bad either way, but the purpose for which it is being stolen may make it less bad.