Today, for your reading pleasure, we have this to-do list, a popular genre both on campus and on the metaspencer blogging network®:
For educators (98.3% of readers, if my focus-group interviews are correct), it may come as a bit of a shock to see the marginal-and-boxed item "copy span from Mark." If you didn't catch it the first time through, here is a close up:
And please don't even think of sending me a postcard arguing that "span" is a common term for a measured distance. I just ain't buyin' it. This list maker is, instead, a cheater. Or, attending more closely to the artifact and the mechanics of crossouts, a planned cheater.
This brings me back to my previous posts on cheating as literate practice. Who among us attends much if at all (in our writing classes) to the critical examination of copying? Clearly it is an academic practice, and clearly it is a technological practice, so why leave it unexamined? Surely there are many graphic intricacies cheaters deploy to mask their duplications, and as many complex social machinations that allow for such textual distribution.
And yet, teaching "Bartleby, the Scrivener" is probably as close as any of us come to talking about copying. In this list we see how copying is one of the ways students write clandestinely and despite our regulatory harangues.