Do you remember learning how to print neatly in second grade? And how is your cursive? If you plan to attend a university, apply for a job, or write anything that needs to be your own work, you might consider brushing up on your penmanship. In an effort to prevent plagiarism, Harvard™ University is requiring all official assignments to be handwritten, and other major universities are expected to follow suit. Assistant Vice Sub-Dean of Disciplinary Action, Henry P. King VIII, explains:
We know that no policy other than keeping students locked up in steel cans1 will prevent all plagiarism. However, we think that this new policy will make plagiarism more difficult. One of the reasons why plagiarism has become so much more common is that it has become very easy to cut-and-paste someone else’s work. If you tried that with a handwritten essay, it would be very obvious, and students may not have any paste on hand.
Student representative John L. Doe III penned an open letter arguing against the new policy:
Plagiarism is the way of the future. To make students produce their own work does not prepare them for the modern business world, where imitation, flattery, and devious disregard of intellectual property rights are all expected and rewarded.
In order to prevent plagiarism in the electronic world, Yahoo! Inc. plans to introduce a new e-mail format featuring handwritten e-mails. No further details are currently available.
Image by Durova, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
- We are currently looking for a donor to fund enough steel cans for the entire student body. ↩