My book chapter/ case study on academic plagiarism just recently came out - " Copycats of the Central Himalayas: Learning in the age of Information ." Basically, I spent about 8 months in Almora, a rur-town in Central Himalayas, investigating what people do with the Internet. Given that cybercafes had sprung up relatively recently, I volunteered to work for one in exchange of playing witness to internet usage. It was amazing as I really actually pictured people to be using it for the usual browsing and entertainment oriented stuff. Instead, I became an active accomplice to plagiarism by college students - open, active, ingenious plagiarism! Of course as soon as one says "plagiarism," academics and others get all hassled about it, frothing in the mouth about it immorality, the decline of this generation and more. Rather than focus on the "pathological" reasons why students do what they do, I thought it would be worth stopping and asking how on earth di
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Can social science academics write with passion (pre-tenure of course)! After all, didn’t many of us get drawn to this field because we were just innately and insatiably curious about everything and better yet, wanted to be paid to think deeply about it, and share this through our teachings and writings? I love the drama of writing…truly. Just coming up with titles gets me in a tizzy. Isn’t it better to say “I can’t do Barbra” than “Social Learning in Multi-contextual environments?” [See this article of mine, http://www.payalarora.com/Publications/EdPhil-TheoryJ-2008.pdf ]. Does this compromise on what I’m saying or does it enhance the experience of thought? I mean, our social scientific methods can keep us disciplined enough to control our biases but it’s our biases that makes for real passion!