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Judy Bailey
Judy Bailey,
Category: Research
Satisfied Customers: 2517
Experience:  Teacher at Sonoma County Schools
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I am a graduate student at university. My finance professor

Customer Question

I am a graduate student at university. My finance professor has accused the group of plagiarizing an Microsoft excel sheet that we took a template from online and modified the formulas and numbers to match what we needed. While some parts of the sheet remained the same (same formulas) the numbers were based on our data from our study. The instructor claims this was not our orgrional work and is plagiarism even though we are dealing with numbers. He decided to give the group a grade of a zero. I no longer feel comfortable being in the class and having to continue doing group assignments. The charge is severe and has caused lots of stress. I requested to withdrawal from the course given within the university deadline timeframe. The instructor has come back saying he would like to see what his "options are" prior to signing off on a withdrawal failure. This isn't right has he sent out I writing an email saying that the situation was determined to be handled by giving us all a grade of 0 so if I withdrawal it should be a withdrawal fail. My question is now I have discovered and can prove that my instructor has pulled verbatim (word for word) concepts and explanations to financial theories on his PowerPoint slides from the publisher which the publisher has clearly labeled at the bottom of the slides as being copyright by the publisher. I want to speak with the instructor in private to get my withdrawal processed as a pass and not a failure given I requested a withdrawal prior to him issuing the grade or to get this matter dropped as a whole or file a claim of plagarism against the university professor. This seems to be all nonsense but he started this. My question is if I can be charged for plagarism On an excel sheet can I not do the same against him with a PowerPoint that has a copyright right on it that he didn't cite. I have no interests in filing charges but want to use this as leverage in negotiating a clean departure from the course. Your assistance on how I should handle this is appreciated.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Research
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Me note the instructor created his own slides using the publishers as a template. His slides have no citations but you can see that some are taken from the publishers slides which have a copyright. So he didn't cite his work
Expert:  Judy Bailey replied 4 months ago.

Hello and thank you for using justanswer. I want to be sure that I understand the question. You are asking if a professor needs to cite work which has a copyright in his teaching materials. Is this the gist of your question?


Customer: replied 4 months ago.
according to Harvard in the first paragraph of the link I pasted below; it doesn't matter where the info is from, please advise. I would assume as long as you have slides that you put copyrights on each footnoted if I took anything from it and created my own and used anything verbatim I could be accused of plagiarism likewise
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
From my research understanding is that even if you posted material online that you stated was free for reproduction it would still need a citation such as "permission to reproduce by ...." Citation would be needed
Expert:  Judy Bailey replied 4 months ago.

There is a great deal of information regarding this which I am happy to provide. However, your professor is in a different category than you are because he/she is using the information for educational purposes. As a teacher I play pretty fast and loose with copying work from a textbook and using it as illustrations in my instruction.

My concern upon reading your story is that you were dinged for using formulas created by someone else which is fine unless that was part of your assignment ... "create the formulas which will determine ... blah blah blah." As a student once, I used a small part of someone else's proof inside my proof (and shared it with many others) in a calculus class and although I was not accused of plagiarism the implication that the entire proof would be mine was there. Looking back, there was no one who claimed the proof, so it would have been hard to cite them. I found it in an obscure textbook.

As regards ***** ***** you sent, it does not seem that you were taking credit for the template.

How much do you want to know about this?


Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Judy,I appreciate your feedback as you seem to see things the way I would, however This instructor is a trouble maker who thrives on creating problems. The problem was a case study asking different scenarios about investments. The course is not an excel course. If you hand calculated the answers or if you used a calculator there is no criteria of how to solve. The original template used for calculations wasn't the same question but similar in scope and did require modifications and additions and omissions of lines. The final report per the instructor was to be submitted as a professional word document not a spreadsheet. He accused the "grey paper" of being the source of plagarism, the dean had asked the issue not escalate to him as I think he felt as you are. Yes I am aware that even when you make a spreadsheet and use words like "net income" "land" "depreciation" that these can be argued common knowledge. Formulas are formulas if I say cell =C2 x C4 that is it there is no citation. I feel you are answering the question in the manner "what's the big deal, we all do it" my question here is aside of what you do or every teacher does; if a material is copyrighted it is for a reason. The copyright has to serve a purpose. If you use it and don't cite it is plagiarism. Just as the instructor receives teaching materials so does the student. I could argue then as a student if copied a solutions manual verbatim it is not plagiarism/cheating cause it was student provided material but the instructor can see it was copied homework and fail me on the assignment. Assume the following; Here is the bot***** *****ne if the instructor doesn't cite his PowerPoint material in class and I used it and cited the instructor in a research paper I would be giving the instructor credit for something that isn't his work. The publisher under the copyright can then sue the instructor for taking their ideas. The copyright is there for a reason. If you don't feel comfortable answering it is plagiarism then I need a second opinion apart from yours. I need to know the answer to this from A credible source for when I make my case. I feel nobody wants to answer this not even the ombudsman has a straight answer. The instructor is still a
Member of the academic community and has to adhere to the same guidelines as any student. Is there an intellectual rights attorney that can give me a better answer that is question can be forwarded to?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
To say the material is used for educational purposes is a defense it's not the answer I am seeking of is it or is it not plagarism
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I am seeking a new expert in law