Writing Ethics in the Writing Major: Rhetorical applications for plagiarism pedagogies in the collaborative age

Daniela Antonina Ragusa, University of Rhode Island


Due to the impact of online collaborative writing technologies on the field of Writing, an ethical dilemma exists in reconciling discrepancies between an evolving concept of authorship and competing definitions of plagiarism. My project argues for the curricular inclusion of an interdisciplinary course in Writing that bridges Composition to English Education as it examines important questions raised by uses of technology in the classroom. My project includes extensive literature reviews on authorship, technoliteracy, and plagiarism, as well as an attitudinal research study used to collect data from directors and coordinators of undergraduate Writing Major programs across the country Research participants were asked their opinions on the importance of forming a writer's identity through the study of authorship as an evolving concept, the practice of online collaborative writing technologies, the use of pedagogy to inquire into plagiarism, in order to study the ethical issues tied to writing. While research results demonstrate varying levels of agreement among respondents on most survey statements, there was one hundred percent agreement on the necessity of studying ethics. Therefore, my project culminates in the creation of a complete capstone course in the Writing Major for students majoring in Writing or English Education. This final project requires them to work collaboratively in rewriting policy and redefining plagiarism to teach others what they have learned, thus enacting a new cultural reproduction of Writing as a discipline within the Composition/Rhetoric and English Education fields. I also argue that as a result of taking "Writing Ethics," undergraduate Writing majors' experience as policy makers and educators help form their writers' identities and contribute to their awareness of ethical issues tied to writing so as to create a credible ethos. In discussing future implications of my project, I propose to expand my original study to extend further into undergraduate Writing Major programs, exploring them as offering different and competing approaches to plagiarism pedagogy. ^

Subject Area

Education, Language and Literature|Ethics|Language, Rhetoric and Composition

Recommended Citation

Daniela Antonina Ragusa, "Writing Ethics in the Writing Major: Rhetorical applications for plagiarism pedagogies in the collaborative age" (2009). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3401125.