I spent a fraught 4 hours proof-reading Green-Eye's essay on the benefits of human breast milk yesterday, without thinking about human breasts once.
That's the thing about proof-reading, if you concentrate solely on grammar and punctuation, the meaning is entirely by-passed. This means that if you have to also check that it actually makes sense, then you have to read the whole thing at least twice, and usually about six or seven times.
The other factor which complicates it even further is that before the papers are actually marked, they are run through a software program which is supposed to pick up on plagiarism. In the writer's world, there is no greater sin than plagiarism, and this software is written by out of work writers, or worse - software engineers.
So here's the set-up: The student nurses are given massive reading lists of medical and clinical papers which they are expected to read, then pick out the bits most relevant to their essay. They have to refer to these selections thus: (Stephenson et al 2016) whenever they make a reference or an assertion, to show that they have, indeed, read them.
There is one catch, though. The plagiarism software scans their paper in a millisecond, and if it spots a word which is used in the original reference material, it highlights it as potential plagiarism. At the end of the scan, the student is allowed a mere 10% of potentially plagiaristic content, and anything over that is an ignominious fail. You are automatically failed by a bit of stupidly blunt software.
So the only way of avoiding being branded as a plagiarist is to try and find a different - and usually inferior - word to substitute for the one originally used, thereby watering down the original meaning. If - by sheer accident - you happen to string a five-word sentence together which turns out to be identical to something that someone else has written, you might as well tear the whole thing up.
It gets worse. Her year of students are all given the same reading reference material on the same subject, and are expected to write essays on that subject, all of which must be completely different. The software not only scans for similarities between each essay and the reference material, it also scrutinises every student's submitted essay and compares them against each other.
It gets worse still. Green-Eyes is allowed a little extra time to submit hers, because she is dyslexic. She is not stupid, she is just dyslexic. This has its own disadvantages.
The later you are in submitting your paper, the more chance there is of replicating - or just using - some words which someone else has already used before you which the software picks up on, and the greater the chance of being branded a plagiarist, or having to write whole sections over again whilst searching for a different way of saying the same thing, hours before the deadline for submission.
Robots were supposed to make our lives easier.
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