A bit of recycling, perhaps?

As part of the service from WordPress, for every hit I get from search engines, I get to see the various items that had been searched on. And many of these items seem quite clearly to be essay assignments from schools and colleges: sometimes, the exact question appears to have been typed into Google, word for word.

This does make me wonder whether some of my posts, either in whole or in part, have been appearing in college essays. If so, I do find myself rather amused by the idea: I haven’t studied literature in the classroom since I was sixteen (I studied physics, and, later, operational research at university), and I doubt very much whether my ramblings here are the kind of thing examiners are looking for. And furthermore, if students can find my blog with a simple Google search, so, presumably, can examiners.

However, if anyone has used any of my posts in school or college assignments, I’d be very curious to know what sort of feedback they received from tutors or examiners. So please feel free – in complete confidence, of course – to contact me with this: I promise I won’t give you away!


3 responses to this post.

  1. Funny I’ve had exactly the same impression about some of my posts.
    Like you I haven’t studied literature since I was not 16 but 19. I wonder how what I write can be worth including in an essay.

    Apparently, some students have an essay to write about The Return of the Soldier these days…


  2. Posted by alan on April 12, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    I suspect that the need to avoid accusations of plagiarism makes students look for a wide variety of comments to pick ideas from. So, probably only the clumsiest of plagiarists will have quoted the whole of one of your pieces.
    However, I also suspect that a GCSE English assignment that I’ve heard of the form “Who was responsible for the death of Romeo and Juliet?” isn’t going to be easily satisfied by your style of literary criticism of Shakespeare which is usually about examining a play a play in the round. As for an undergraduate assignment, I expect that it would be just as specific but would address a different kind of question.
    As for me, I think that GCSE question is rather a good one, tending as it does to lead people into moral and sociological questions as well as tempting the writer into anachronism. The problem for the student, as always, is “What kind of answer is going to satisfy the the examiner?”.
    I was never very good at answering that question.


    • Yes, you’re probably right. I think frankly that I’d be crap at answering exam questions – unless of course, I train myself specifically to do so. I just enjoy rambling on here after my own fashion. Well – it’s my blog! 🙂


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