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Time Estimate

50 minutes


To have students gain a larger understanding of the context of authorship, plagiarism, and intellectual property


Leigh Blackall, “It’s not plagiarism, it’s an easy essay


Pass out the article by Leigh Blackall and ask students to read it and be ready to discuss the main points afterward.

  1. Break students into groups of 3 or 4 and ask them to respond to some of the questions that Blackall asks the essay writing company in his blog.

  2. Ask students to report their group’s findings and mediate the conversation according to your own perspective. You can also ask some of the following questions during discussion:

    • How would they (the students) respond to the essay company’s answers?
    • Do they feel this practice is unethical?
    • What should happen to students that purchase an essay and get caught?
    • What does the company mean when they claim that their essays are “plagiarism-free”?
    • Can a purchased essay be plagiarism-free?
    • What is the difference between a copyrighted work and a plagiarized work?


Ask students to answer the following question: “Is plagiarism a matter of ethics or a matter of decisions made while writing? Are these two different?”

Computer Lab Option

Students can read Blackwell's blog online and then post their comments under the article. They can do this in class or on their own time. You can then review these comments for class the next day and continue the conversation if need be.