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Avatar of GI KoreaBy on November 2nd, 2012 at 3:54 am

Seoul National University To Investigate Ahn Cheol-soo For Plagiarism

This is the quite the November suprise the Saenuri Party has been holding on to against Ahn Cheol-soo if the allegations are true:

Seoul National University yesterday announced it has begun a preliminary review of plagiarism allegations against its alumnus Ahn Cheol-soo, the independent presidential candidate.

The university’s Committee on Research Integrity yesterday held a meeting and decided to launch a preliminary probe into allegations of plagiarism in five of Ahn’s academic works, including his 1988 master’s dissertation and his 1991 doctoral dissertation.

The 50-year-old presidential candidate graduated from SNU in 1986 and completed a master’s degree in physiology in 1988. He obtained his doctoral degree in medicine in 1991. After becoming a software developer, Ahn taught students at Kaist until May of last year. He also served as the dean of Seoul National University Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology until he declared his presidential bid in September this year.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

If the allegations are true than this just shows that Ahn really is a political lightweight if he thought no one would thoroughly investigate his past college papers.  Considering all the past plagiarism scandals in Korea, checking Ahn’s past research papers was probably one of the first things the Saenuri operatives looked into in order to discredit him.

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  • Baek In-je
    2:20 am on November 2nd, 2012 1

    I had a friend tell me a story about Korean plagiarism. His father is a professor at a well-respected university. He had a Korean masters course student expelled from the university for plaigarizing a paper. How did the professor find out that the paper was plagiarized? The Korean plagiarized the PROFESSOR’s published paper.

  • Baek In-je
    3:16 am on November 2nd, 2012 2

    Sigh…I mean Psy. You can take the Korean out of Korea, but you cant take Korea out of the Korean.
    http://www.tmz.com/2012/10/31/psy-smoking-cigarette-photo/

  • G.I. G.I. Joe
    3:46 am on November 2nd, 2012 3

    This is awful, but I’m not surprised. Although my head tells me it can’t be true that all Korean universities, all Korean academics, and all Korean degrees are fraudulent, God help me I believe it in my bones.

  • Leon LaPorte
    4:13 am on November 2nd, 2012 4

    1. Even Fareed Zakaria would be proud!

    /much of our higher learning is a scam
    //difference between plagiarism and research = references

  • Stephen
    4:36 am on November 2nd, 2012 5

    He’ll be found not guilty … or every SNU prof who was there during his viva should be busted for incompetence.

  • kushibo
    12:27 pm on November 2nd, 2012 6

    Just last night I was talking with an octogenarian professor at a seminar here in Hawaii, and she was telling me how unaware she was that plagiarism was so widespread among her students (i.e., in the US) until she started using turnitin.com.

    Make no mistake, plagiarism is a plague in Korean academia, but it is by no means a uniquely Korean phenomenon. I’ve taught at two American universities, and while I’d like to think that few if any of my students actually cheated or plagiarized, I know for a fact it’s far more widespread than a lot of people would care to admit. It’s bad enough that universities routinely hold seminars to inform professors and lecturers of anti-cheating and anti-plagiarism strategies.

    I’m no fan of Ahn Cholsu, but this kind of thing smacks of a smear campaign. They’re going to investigate, the news says, and from that the public is going to, as just about everyone here is doing, assume he’s guilty even before the investigation begins. If this truly is a problem and not politicking, it should have been handled very differently.

  • kushibo
    12:39 pm on November 2nd, 2012 7

    Sigh…I mean Psy. You can take the Korean out of Korea, but you cant take Korea out of the Korean.
    http://www.tmz.com/2012/10/31/psy-smoking-cigarette-photo/

    I have no patience for smokers who violate rules/laws like this, but that picture may not necessarily be depicting what it’s supposedly depicting.

    How many feet does it say not to smoke within? I’m guessing that’s a “5″ obscured by his left ear, but is it no smoking within 5 feet (probably not), 15 feet (possibly), or 25 feet, or more?

    Moreover, because of the optical effects that occur when a telephoto lens is used, you really don’t know how close he actually is. He could be more than 15 or 25 feet and it would still look like this.

    I’m not so sure I should take the word of TMZ.com when they’re taking a cheap shot at a “celebrity” (both literally and figuratively).

  • MTB Rider
    2:49 pm on November 2nd, 2012 8

    Meh… I remember my Freshman Speech class in college. This one girl gave a speech on the ethics and concerns of biogenetic engineering. Pretty gripping stuff, unless you had read Jurassic Park, which she had cribbed it from, word for word. :roll:

    When I told her I liked her speech, she smiled. Then I held up my copy of the book and shook my head. She blushed, and never said anything to me for the rest of the semester.

  • tbonetylr
    9:04 pm on November 2nd, 2012 9

    The Korean conservatives are fan boys of Donald Trump in how the academic route is used to denigrate the opponent.

  • Eddie Cantor
    11:30 pm on November 2nd, 2012 10

    6- There’s a great deal of cheating at many universities in Korea and abroad, but if Ahn’s candidacy goes kaput because of plagarism then expect another wave of diploma checks, and this time maybe some Koreans will be checked- not just foreign teachers.
    The least they can do is require apostilled diplomas and trascripts for all Koreans, employed in college and public schools, claiming to have degrees from overseas.

  • Teadrinker
    12:37 am on November 3rd, 2012 11

    “The university’s Committee on Research Integrity yesterday held a meeting and decided to launch a preliminary probe into allegations of plagiarism in five of Ahn’s academic works, including his 1988 master’s dissertation and his 1991 doctoral dissertation.”

    The irony. Have you ever seen or read dissertations submitted to Korean universities? I’ve read a few. My impression? I’ve written introductions that were better referenced.

  • Teadrinker
    12:47 am on November 3rd, 2012 12

    #8,

    Dude, that’s nothing. From time to time I ask my students to do oral presentations. One group had copied the script from a Walt Disney movie, which included a song I knew. They looked pretty stupid when I sang the song for the class when they insisted they had written it themselves.

    #7,

    It’s not a no smoking sign. It’s a no smoking within a certain distance from the entrance of the building. Those signs are quite common, and most people ignore them. Nobody cares, even the non-smokers.

  • Teadrinker
    12:53 am on November 3rd, 2012 13

    “I’m no fan of Ahn Cholsu, but this kind of thing smacks of a smear campaign. They’re going to investigate, the news says, and from that the public is going to, as just about everyone here is doing, assume he’s guilty even before the investigation begins. If this truly is a problem and not politicking, it should have been handled very differently.”

    As I was saying, I’ve seen dissertations submitted and accepted by Korean universities. I was not impressed by their size (30 pages only! WTF!) and the reference lists (a lot less than twenty items).

  • Baek In-je
    2:45 am on November 3rd, 2012 14

    Oh Kushibo,
    Everyone is tired of the same old but-problem-X-happens-in-country-Y-too bull$$it. We are talking about Korea here.

  • G.I. G.I. Joe
    3:26 am on November 3rd, 2012 15

    #14, I agree. Kushibo, if you know about plagiarism or academic dishonesty at your American university, report it by email to the appropriate deans’ offices and committees for academic integrity.

    If you don’t think that American universities (or at least my American universities) take these matters seriously, then you should see the articles on CNN that made the Korean newspapers about how some students discussed with each other a take home, open book, open notes, open internet, one week to complete final exam. Their only real restriction was that they couldn’t discuss the test with each other.

    Those students are facing a one-year expulsion and made the news in Korea.

  • tbonetylr
    5:07 am on November 3rd, 2012 16

    “Make no mistake, plagiarism is a plague in Korean academia, but it is by no means a uniquely Korean phenomenon. I’ve taught at two American universities, and…

    How many Korean students attend American universities? Of course it’s not a “uniquely Korean phenomenon.” We’re talking Korean professionals(those with the best English skills) who already have jobs as well. They’re paid by their companies and/or scholarship program of sorts to go to the U.S. in order to pad their educational resumes. It’s not easy for them until they decide to do anything to get that graduate degree at crunch time(most likely long before) after spending 2-3 years “studying.”

  • Dr.Yu
    5:12 am on November 3rd, 2012 17

    #14
    No we are not talking about Korea. We are talking about an investigation to find out if candidate Ahn plagiarized his papers.
    Please pay attention to this facts: The investigation is not concluded, so for the time being nobody can accuse him of plagiarism. IF he is found guilty (please pay attention to the big “if”) guilt can be imputed to candidate Ahn only, unless the investigation proves that all korean academics plagiarized their papers. Subjective opinions like “all korean students plagiarize” whithout any substantial evidence should be mentioned together with expressions like “in my opinion” or “I think that” or even “it seems to me that” or your statement risks to be taken as a pure and simple trolling intended only to prove how meaningless your statemens here are . . .

  • Tom
    5:33 am on November 3rd, 2012 18

    Dr.Yu, he’s guilty because he’s Korean, it doesn’t matter if it’s political move or not. That’s the kind of mindset here. Remember, if it looks bad on Korea, it’s certainly true, no proof required. If it looks good on Korea, then it’s all a lie. White guy in Korea logic 101. :lol:

  • Stephen
    6:25 am on November 3rd, 2012 19

    After the Shin Jeong-ah Scandal in 2007, there has been a major tightening up of thesis evaluations in Korean government universities, and to a lesser extent in private universities like Dongguk University.

    The notorious Shin Jeong-ah was appointed to a professorial position at Dongguk University, after assuming the position for a randy oppa named Byeon Yang-kyoon.

    It’s only a matter of time
    until someone puts Ahn’s PhD online
    to allow the people to judge
    whether his thesis has been fudged.

  • G.I. G.I. Joe
    7:01 am on November 3rd, 2012 20

    Dr.Yu, #14:

    No we are not talking about Korea, but we should. Also, Korea should talk about Korea in the context of academic fraud. All (and yes, I do mean all) the foreign faculty members, teachers, and academics that I have talked to think that Korean academic integrity is a joke.

    While your point is true that the investigation is about whether candidate Ahn plagiarized his papers, no one will be shocked if the allegations are proven. Why? Because this is Korea and he is Korean.

    I hope that he’s exonerated. I really do. I think that he could be good for Korea. If he’s not, however, do you think that Koreans will go into the “only this one” mode again? I do.

    What if a reputable news source, after seeing academics and politicians repeatedly bagged for academic and credential fraud printed a 30% estimate in the U.S.? I’d bet that every campus newspaper would do more than root, root, root for the home team and investigate its own university president.

    The best thing to happen is for Korean student “journalists” to actually start doing some investigative reporting.

  • MoldontheOldSockPuppet
    7:16 am on November 3rd, 2012 21

    Ah poor Tom and the rest of his ilk. You Koreans have been taking that road with foreigners in Korea since Koreans murdered the first shipwrecked foreigner they found on Korean shores.

    Remember, Tom and at least a good portion of other Koreans, don’t even recognize people like Benson Henderson until they make, or feel like they’ll make Korea look good, before that they’re just mongrels.

    Duplicity is best learned from Koreans.

    They are talking about a Korean prof from a Korean uni, so we are talking about Korea. If it was a British prof in the UK, we’d be talking about the UK.

    In the end, it’s ok for Koreans to trash talk “smelly Chinese people” and everyone else, so get over it Koreans, you are getting back what you’ve been dishing out for a very, very long time.

  • kushibo
    10:57 am on November 3rd, 2012 22

    Baek In-je wrote:

    Oh Kushibo,
    Everyone is tired of the same old but-problem-X-happens-in-country-Y-too bull$$it. We are talking about Korea here.

    Yeah, well, the mindless Korea bashing gets is pretty tiresome as well.

    This was a political story about Ahn being smeared ahead of a presidential election with innuendo about having plagiarized his thesis and dissertation. So no, we weren’t “talking about Korea here” until a couple posters took it from Ahn to smearing the entire country. Your own anecdote in comment #1 about one person is labeled as “Korean plagiarism.”

    Meanwhile, iIn #3, G.I. Gi. Joe says he believes in his bones that “all Korean universities, all Korean academics, and all Korean degrees are fradulent.”

    This is a story about Ahn, and a couple posters turned it into yet another mindless Korea-bashing. And the thing about mindless Korea bashing, besides being utterly non-conducive to a productive discussion of the issue at hand, is that it relies on an exaggeration of the problem in Korea and/or a lack of awareness of the same problem as it exists in other places. And in this particular case, it seems as if most who ride on this meme are ignorant of how widespread plagiarism and cheating are in places like the United States.

    But not for a second do I not believe it’s a problem in Korea as well. You may have glossed over it, but I did refer to plagiarism as “a plague in Korean academia.” My own experience is that most Korean students avoid it about as well as most American students, but there are some brazen attempts at it that come to the light of day.

    In Korea, where this happens, it needs to be deal with harshly. But here’s the thing, why my “X-happens-in-country-Y” (as you put it) is relevant and not “bull$$it,” is that it is being put on Korea to solve a problem that, frankly, places like the United States have not yet (or maybe ever). A more relevant rejoinder would have been to suggest that anti-plagiarism methods in the US or Canada be tried with more diligence (and expectation) in Korea (if that’s not happening already in at least some places).

    I just want to end by noting that I know dozens of students from Korea, Japan, and Taiwan who are in Hawaii or in California working on graduate degrees and far from being in the US to pad their résumés, as tbonetylr (#16) suggests company-paid scholars are doing, they are consistently at the top of any list of hardest-working grad students in their programs. They are doing something that I suspect few in this comments section can do, and that’s study, conduct research, and write a thesis/dissertation in another language as different as Korean and English.

  • Setnaffa
    11:06 am on November 3rd, 2012 23

    It’s no more serious than where Obama was born or whether John Kerry threw his own medals or someone else’s… :roll:

  • kushibo
    11:06 am on November 3rd, 2012 24

    G.I. G.I. Joe wrote:

    #14, I agree. Kushibo, if you know about plagiarism or academic dishonesty at your American university, report it by email to the appropriate deans’ offices and committees for academic integrity.

    It’s not that I know about plagiarism or academic dishonesty at my university. I do know about it in my own classes and I have dealt with it. The aforementioned seminar is a teaching seminar and this was one of the first themes echoed week after week by every single guest speaker. It was also the subject of a dedicated conference for University of Maryland lecturers when I was teaching there (in Korea).

    It’s taken seriously in part because it happens so often in American classrooms, often in ways that the professors cannot detect. In some ways it’s dumb, like when my co-TA and I decided to help grade each other’s papers and we discovered that two students — one in my section and another in her section — had decided to turn in virtually the same paper, not realizing that we shared grading duties with each other.

    The girl had written the paper for the guy as a quid pro quo for him doing some other similar favor in a different class (he admitted this). In the end, although the TA and I wanted to give an F on the assignment and possibly the class, the professor in charge let them redo the assignment.

    Meanwhile, there are sites that recycle papers, places where someone can write a paper for you, sharing answers through text message, etc., etc.

    Incidentally, the story Baek In-je tells in #1 was exactly the same story I’d heard in 2004 at the UMUC conference on cheating. Quite the urban legend, though I think it’s possible it’s happened at least once.

  • Glans
    12:41 pm on November 3rd, 2012 25

    I have complete confidence in kushibo’s integrity. When he submits a guess to Korea Finder, it is his own work.

  • tbonetylr
    3:05 pm on November 3rd, 2012 26

    # 17,
    “all korean students plagiarize”

    It’s systemic, just like all Koreans pass elementary, middle, and high school. That is the problem, there is no punishment for cheating at a young age and only until recently has plagiarism been advertised as a “bad” thing. Of course very few buy into the “bad” theory.

    Nobody EVER fails in S. Korea so why not cheat? Yes, cheating/plagiarism is taught at a very young age and is institutional in S. Korea, if it’s a “phenomenon” in America as Kushibo has suggested we can thank our friends from countries like S. Korea for exporting it to America.

  • Eddie Cantor
    3:23 pm on November 3rd, 2012 27

    17- Dr Yoohoo, are you seriously maintaining that the issue of fake diplomas has never previously come up in Korean politics? Not even once?

  • Eddie Cantor
    3:30 pm on November 3rd, 2012 28

    Now, does this “smack of a smear campaign”??? Why shouldn’t this be a fair question to ask? Well, it is about a political candidacy and it is being done with just a few weeks left in the campaign. But, Ahn has never served as a public official, so his main “claim of qualifications” for the office of President is his academic achievements and his leadership role in Korean Universities. If it is proven that it was all based on academic fraud then what are his qualifications for high office?

  • Eddie Cantor
    3:42 pm on November 3rd, 2012 29

    BTW, if Ahn did openly commit academic fraud and gets caught this late in the race it would display his political naivete. But that’s what happens when a candidate has never previously run for office. Skeletons come out of the closet and the revelations can be devastating. That’s why it’s better to have a candidate who has run for some lower office because the vetting has already taken place, plus you know for sure what you’re getting.

  • kushibo
    5:52 pm on November 3rd, 2012 30

    tbonetylr, in general I agree with your comment in #26, except for the last half of the last sentence.

    The question then is, what can be done about it? There are some areas where cheating is generally not tolerated (the Sunŭng exam, for example), while it’s been grudgingly accepted in others. If Ahn is found to have clearly plagiarized and he fails in his presidential aspirations because of that, I’d like to see some good come out of that, like with Shin Jeong-ah.

    Eddie Cantor, I agree with you about the vetting process. Don’t forget, though, that it is only relatively recently that so many seats were elected positions and not appointed positions. I agree that someone like Ahn (like Herman Cain) doesn’t get vetted until they’re on the national stage, but a lot of people who came up the ranks are only partially vetted in Korea (ditto in Taiwan, which is on a similar path).

  • Dr.Yu
    6:21 pm on November 3rd, 2012 31

    #20
    Woww, your foretelling powers are truly amazing. You dont need evidences to convict this man just because your simply know it, right? I bet you got this amazing power by working to CIA on the WMD case in Iraq, right?
    #27
    English language seems to be your mother language yet your reading skills needs improvement . . .

  • G.I. G.I. Joe
    8:14 pm on November 3rd, 2012 32

    Kushibo, you wrote in #22 the following:

    Meanwhile, iIn #3, G.I. Gi. Joe says he believes in his bones that “all Korean universities, all Korean academics, and all Korean degrees are fradulent.”

    This is a story about Ahn, and a couple posters turned it into yet another mindless Korea-bashing.

    You should have provided more context. Here is my full post:

    “This is awful, but I’m not surprised. Although my head tells me it can’t be true that all Korean universities, all Korean academics, and all Korean degrees are fraudulent, God help me I believe it in my bones.”

    My experience in Korea has led me to this. The thing is that in my conversations and discussions with Koreans, Koreans themselves believe that anywhere from 50%-90% of their universities are fraudulent or diploma mills.

    The reason that this has become about Korea and gets some discussion on what appears to be an unsubstantiated, shot in the dark, scrape underneath the finger nails to find dirt chart is because the Korean legislatures themselves have in essence said, “he’s Korean, and it’s a Korean university.”

    That’s why, Mr. Kushibo, this is a statement about Korea.

  • G.I. G.I. Joe
    8:20 pm on November 3rd, 2012 33

    #31 Dr. Yu, You posted the following:

    “#20 Woww, your foretelling powers are truly amazing. You dont need evidences to convict this man just because your simply know it, right? I bet you got this amazing power by working to CIA on the WMD case in Iraq, right?”

    I don’t know what I foretold in that post so that I amazed you with my powers of prognostication, but you’ve failed to impress me with your level of reading comprehension.

  • G.I. G.I. Joe
    8:25 pm on November 3rd, 2012 34

    Sorry Kushibo in the following:

    The reason that this has become about Korea and gets some discussion on what appears to be an unsubstantiated, shot in the dark, scrape underneath the finger nails to find dirt chart is because the Korean legislatures themselves have in essence said, “he’s Korean, and it’s a Korean university.”

    “chart should be “charge”.

    My point again is that their freakin’ legislature is pulling this, and not some teabaggers led by an egomaniacal attention whore sporting a bad comb over onion loaf.

  • Teadrinker
    8:57 pm on November 3rd, 2012 35

    #17,

    Okay…It seems to me that the dissertations I’ve seen and read which were submitted to Korean universties and passed were BS because they were poorly referenced, if referenced at all within the text, and shorter than some papers I’ve end of module papers I’ve submitted while I was doing my MA.

  • Teadrinker
    9:01 pm on November 3rd, 2012 36

    #19,

    “After the Shin Jeong-ah Scandal in 2007, there has been a major tightening up of thesis evaluations in Korean government universities, and to a lesser extent in private universities like Dongguk University.”

    What an effing farce that was. The local papers had people wondering, “Did she or didn’t she?” for weeks. She continued to insist she wasn’t lying. Fed up with the journalistic incompetence, I looked it up myself. Took two minutes at most on Google for me to have evidence she was a fraud: her name didn’t figure on the list of accepted dissertations for the year she claimed she had graduated.

  • Teadrinker
    9:06 pm on November 3rd, 2012 37

    “papers I’ve end of module papers I’ve submitted while I was doing my MA”

    Ouch…scratch the first two words.

  • Baek In-je
    9:53 pm on November 3rd, 2012 38

    We haven’t even touched on the vast underground network of Korean students in American universities who conspire to cheat in all their classes. They have all their professors’ old tests and they circulate them to other students in their major. I know this because a Korean gave me copies of all the tests in two M.A. courses that I took at university.

  • Teadrinker
    10:24 pm on November 3rd, 2012 39

    ” They have all their professors’ old tests and they circulate them to other students in their major. I know this because a Korean gave me copies of all the tests in two M.A. courses that I took at university.”

    They do that in Korea,too. That’s why every class I teach gets a different test and I never reuse them from year to year.

  • Teadrinker
    10:26 pm on November 3rd, 2012 40

    Oh, and let’s bring this up while we’re at it:

    http://koreajoongangdaily.joinsmsn.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2948057&cloc=rss%7Cnews%7Cjoongangdaily

  • Baek In-je
    12:22 am on November 4th, 2012 41

    The problem is that cheating and dishonesty is pervasive in EACH AND EVERY facet of Korean society…everything. From not following the traffic laws, cheating in school, rubber stampping university diplomas (C’mon…everyone graduates in four years…really?), cheating on spouses (going to room salons also), smoking in bathrooms, throwing cigarette butts and trash everywhere, cheating foreign teachers, lying. It is each.and.every.part.of.society.
    And no…it doesn’t happen in X country, too…not like this.
    If Koreans would accept this and make efforts as a society to change, they could. But they won’t. You’ll never get a Korean to do anything you tell them to do…not unless they are your employee. They have to teach adults how to walk down the street and get on and off the subways, for heaven’s sake. You’ve seen those videos on the subway. But they are useless. Koreans won’t do what you tell them.
    So, yes, Kushibo: plagerism is a problem in other countries, but not to the same extent as here. Korea and acedemic fraud and dishonesty go hand in hand.
    And if we are on a website which focuses mainly on Korea, then a post about possible plagerism by a Korean leads naturally to a discusion of plagerism in Korean society and the pervasive dishonety here.
    I love Korea. Korea could be a kickass great country if only the people would try a little harder to come in line with basic human values and hygene. But the Korean people will always always be the worst part of this society.

  • tbonetylr
    4:39 am on November 4th, 2012 42

    # 40,
    So what’s the result of the court or where are they in the process?

  • Teadrinker
    8:04 am on November 4th, 2012 43

    “And if we are on a website which focuses mainly on Korea, then a post about possible plagerism by a Korean leads naturally to a discusion of plagerism in Korean society…”

    Exactly.

    Kushibo is out of the loop, whether he’ll allow himself to acknowledge it or not.

  • kushibo
    11:25 am on November 4th, 2012 44

    Teadrinker wrote:

    “And if we are on a website which focuses mainly on Korea, then a post about possible plagerism by a Korean leads naturally to a discusion of plagerism in Korean society…”

    Exactly.

    Kushibo is out of the loop, whether he’ll allow himself to acknowledge it or not.

    I’m out of the loop? So does that mean I was incorrect when I said, twice now and from my very first comment, that “plagiarism is a plague in Korean academia”?

    There is a huge gap between a discussion of plagiarism and a statement like “all Korean universities, all Korean academics, and all Korean degrees are fraudulent,” to which I was responding.

    If you go back and read what I wrote, I haven’t been suggesting that plagiarism in Korea is not a legitimate discussion topic, but rather I took issue with the first attempts at turning the Ahn plagiarism issue into a wider issue of plagiarism in Korea being little more than Korea-bashing, like the above.

  • kushibo
    11:53 am on November 4th, 2012 45

    So what’s the result of the court or where are they in the process?

    I’d like to know, too.

    Frankly, I’m a tad ambivalent about that hagwon’s crowd-sourcing of ETS exams produced in the United States. On the one hand, they gain an unfair and unethical advantage, but on the other hand, they are simply walking through a giant loophole that ETS created, out of nothing more than greed, that critics of ETS predicted would happen.

    ETS switched from paper-based tests to computer-based tests back in the 1990s because it was more cost-effective for them and because it would allow them to test more people and thus make more money (ETS is a private “not-for-profit” tax-exempt organization that nonetheless makes a lot of profit and is politically well connected so as to protect their unholy monopoly). Then they went on to charge more for the computer-based test because in the 1990s you could get away with making the public think that computer-based things were better and justified a higher cost.

    But the flaw in their system was that they were recycling questions from the same finite pool throughout a given calendar month. There were too many for one person to encounter during one sitting, but if you got a bunch of people to take the exam early in the month, you could encounter most or all of the questions in the pool.

    Even though ETS knew that there were large corporations (e.g., Kaplan, The Princeton Review, etc.) gunning for an edge on their test prep to pass onto their beaucoup-buck-paying customers, it never occurred to them that someone would “crowd-source” their exams and basically have all the test questions… each month.

    They knew this could happen, but they hoped it wouldn’t happen.

    But they won’t change, for two reasons. The first is greed: They do not want to tweak or turn off the money-printing machine. The second is that they are married to a computer testing model that is itself utterly unfair.

    You see, on the paper-based test, every test taker can encounter every test question that everyone else taking the same test does. Questions are arranged, within sections, roughly from easiest to hardest, based on how these questions tested in focus groups and in “experimental” sections of previous tests.

    On the CBT (computer-based test), however, the questions are arranged thus: You start out a given section with a “medium” question and a medium score. If you get that question right, your running score goes up and you get a harder question. If you get that question wrong, your running score goes down and you get an easier question.

    This model operates with the assumption that if you answer the medium question correctly, you would have gotten the easier questions all correct, and vice versa that if you answer the medium question incorrectly you would have gotten the harder questions incorrect.

    For non-native speakers in particular, this is an unfair mechanism, since the vocabulary they learn (as they study English and as they prepare for this exam) does not necessarily fit the same pattern as native English speakers in an American setting. It’s not hard to find diligent students of English who have a better command of the GRE’s “difficult” vocabulary relative to the norm than they do the GRE’s “medium” or even “easy” vocabulary relative to the norm.

    So since ETS made the huge loophole and they did so purely for profit, while sticking to a model that is unfair to test-takers both in the US and out, I find it hard to get too upset that their slew of tests are being taken down by crowd-sourcing.

    Where this bothers me is the unfair advantage it creates for those who choose to access these services, vis-à-vis those who can’t or won’t (which goes back to being one of the problems with plagiarism and other forms of cheating).

  • kushibo
    12:02 pm on November 4th, 2012 46

    Teadrinker (#13) wrote:

    As I was saying, I’ve seen dissertations submitted and accepted by Korean universities. I was not impressed by their size (30 pages only! WTF!) and the reference lists (a lot less than twenty items).

    These were doctoral dissertations, or were they master’s theses or master’s-level capstones? All would be 논문 in Korean.

    A doctoral dissertation should be at least twice that long, but often many times longer (depending on type and source material), while some Master’s theses can hit thirty or forty on a low end. A capstone (which many universities do in lieu of theses for certain programs that are more technical or professional and less research-oriented) comes in around 20 to 40 pages.

    (An issue with doing research in Korea that relates to plagiarism is that students conducting research are often compelled to put their advising professor’s name first on the published product whether they were directly involved in the research or not.)

  • kushibo
    12:16 pm on November 4th, 2012 47

    G.I. G.I. Joe wrote:

    If you don’t think that American universities (or at least my American universities) take these matters seriously, then you should see the articles on CNN that made the Korean newspapers about how some students discussed with each other a take home, open book, open notes, open internet, one week to complete final exam. Their only real restriction was that they couldn’t discuss the test with each other.

    See the articles? I think I linked to that case in some discussion a couple months ago.

    I was not making the case that American universities do not take these matters seriously. We wouldn’t have been having seminars on them if they didn’t. My point was that they take them seriously because plagiarism and cheating are more widespread than some people here would like to believe.

    It’s a universal problem, and where it becomes a “plague” in Korea is that it is allowed to be a plague (or at least has been allowed).

    Where the US and Korea are similar is that there is a lack of understanding among undergraduates about what constitutes plagiarism, but where it becomes a plague in Korea is the general way (and I assume still common way) in which it is tolerated. There is little expectation of getting caught or getting severely punished for it. As I wrote before, I hope that is one good thing that comes out of the Ahn case.

    The one exception in Korea seems to be the Sunŭng Exam, which in Korea is seen as the great equalizer. There is zero tolerance for cheating on that exam (right down to students being booted out for “accidentally” bringing their cell phones in).

  • kushibo
    12:20 pm on November 4th, 2012 48

    G.I. G.I. Joe wrote:

    My experience in Korea has led me to this. The thing is that in my conversations and discussions with Koreans, Koreans themselves believe that anywhere from 50%-90% of their universities are fraudulent or diploma mills.

    What graduate school in Korea did you attend?

  • G.I. G.I. Joe
    1:26 pm on November 4th, 2012 49

    There is a huge gap between a discussion of plagiarism and a statement like “all Korean universities, all Korean academics, and all Korean degrees are fraudulent,” to which I was responding.

    Kushibo, that’s not a statement, that’s an out-of-context snippet.

    Here’s my post #3 (once again) in full:

    G.I. G.I. Joe
    3:46 am on November 2nd, 2012:
    This is awful, but I’m not surprised. Although my head tells me it can’t be true that all Korean universities, all Korean academics, and all Korean degrees are fraudulent, God help me I believe it in my bones.

    If you are going to quote my “statement“, then at least quote the whole damn sentence:

    “Although my head tells me it can’t be true that all Korean universities, all Korean academics, and all Korean degrees are fraudulent, God help me I believe it in my bones.”

    Kushibo, would you rate one of your students a fail for such miserable scholarship as yours?

  • kushibo
    1:36 pm on November 4th, 2012 50

    G.I. G.I. Joe, I already parsed your comment properly, in #22…

    Meanwhile, iIn #3, G.I. Gi. Joe says he believes in his bones that “all Korean universities, all Korean academics, and all Korean degrees are fradulent.”

    … and my comment in #44 was a bit of shorthand about something I’d already written out.

    If you don’t think it’s fair to not include the part where your head tells you that what you believe in your bones can’t really be true, then I respect that. But the sentiment still remains nonetheless, and that is what I was responding to.

  • G.I. G.I. Joe
    1:39 pm on November 4th, 2012 51

    Kushibo wrote:

    G.I. G.I. Joe wrote:
    My experience in Korea has led me to this. The thing is that in my conversations and discussions with Koreans, Koreans themselves believe that anywhere from 50%-90% of their universities are fraudulent or diploma mills.

    What graduate school in Korea did you attend?

    I did not attend graduate school in Korea. No where in my statements have I implied that I attended graduate school in Korea.

    Let me spell out what I said: in my discussions with Koreans, Koreans themselves believe that 50% – 90% of Korean universities are fraudulent or diploma mills.

    Now before you get too excited and paint the walls white, I admit that my name is not Gallup and that I did not conduct an extensive, scientific poll.

    Here’s my methodology: discussion with people from my wife (who angrily corrected my 80% estimate with her 50%) to Korean Ph.D’s, some who thought that there were “too many Korean universities” and that “Korea should close 90%” of them.

  • G.I. G.I. Joe
    1:50 pm on November 4th, 2012 52

    G.I. G.I. Joe, I already parsed your comment properly, in #22…

    ummm…. No you didn’t.

    A correct parsing would convey the dichotomy between my rational thought (“Although my head tells me…”) and my not so rational beliefs (“…God help me I believe it in my bones.”).

    Yes, I am entitled to my beliefs, particularly when I fully concede that they go against what my brain tells me to be true.

    Have you ever known anyone who had a fear of flying? Their brains tell them one thing, and their bones tell them another. Which do you think they listen to?

  • kushibo
    2:01 pm on November 4th, 2012 53

    I did not attend graduate school in Korea. No where in my statements have I implied that I attended graduate school in Korea.

    Well, your “experience in Korea” about graduate work could have included graduate work yourself, and not just discussions with other people.

    I think a few of us here at ROK Drop have attended graduate school in Korea. I attended Yonsei and, while I don’t think they were up to the level of quality of my undergraduate alma mater, it was no picnic either. You had to work to pass and I know several people (Koreans and international students both) whose graduation was held up while they reworked their thesis to get it approved (and who would not have graduated had they failed to do so).

    At any rate, my question about where you attended was not to belittle your experience but to ask about what I thought might be your own experience in Korean grad school, because my own goes against the descriptions laid out by most of the people here.

    Lots of people in Korea think there are too many universities in Korea nowadays, many of them with non-rigorous standards for graduation. This is why the “SKY” schools and the top-tier universities like Sogang, Ewha, Keimyung, Pusan National, KAIST, etc., carry so much weight for their graduates.

    Heck, the government thinks there are too many universities in Korea.

    (I think it’s also important to note that Ahn is not being investigated by those 50 to 80% you’re talking about, but Seoul National University, which supposedly has more global oriented standars.)

  • kushibo
    2:08 pm on November 4th, 2012 54

    A correct parsing would convey the dichotomy between my rational thought (“Although my head tells me…”) and my not so rational beliefs (“…God help me I believe it in my bones.”).

    Yes, I am entitled to my beliefs, particularly when I fully concede that they go against what my brain tells me to be true.

    Have you ever known anyone who had a fear of flying? Their brains tell them one thing, and their bones tell them another. Which do you think they listen to?

    You are entitled to your beliefs, and yes, you did mention the dichotomy of your rational thought and your osseous beliefs.

    And since your “in your bones” belief was so much to the extreme, indicting anybody in Korea who ever attended college (including myself), I thought it fair to call it out on that.

    And while the person afraid of flying often does suck it up and get on the plane (some do, not all), I might call them out for extreme statements they make about the dangers of flying.

  • G.I. G.I. Joe
    3:03 pm on November 4th, 2012 55

    Since we are extending the fear of flying metaphor, I’ve witnessed a fiery free fall from the sky and might not ever fully recover from the devastation and wreckage wrought aboard a Korean airline. The Korean FAA is feckless and does nothing despite continued reports of Korean flights spiraling out of control, and the airlines themselves (let alone the whole industry) has an interest in cover up. The foreign pilots who insist on passenger safety, accurate maintenance and flight logs, and proper reporting as required by their training and pilots licenses get threatened with criminal prosecution for not following orders. Korean government subsidies to airlines get siphoned off to fuel other ventures, and government officials jet off with (ahem) stewardesses and a box of rice cakes. Koreans from the passengers’ parents to the presidents of the airlines, rather than clean out the clunkers to make the skies safe and establish integrity in their airline industry, sooner safeguard Brand Korea than even Korean passengers.

    So yeah, I have a fear of flying the Korean skies. Now I just close my eyes and let the planes fly themselves.

    …if you know what I mean.

  • Glans
    4:56 am on November 5th, 2012 56

    Two nuclear reactors, accounting for five per cent of South Korea’s electric power, have been shut down because of forged quality certificates. KJ Kwon reports for CNN.

  • G.I. G.I. Joe
    5:52 am on November 5th, 2012 57

    I am curious as to who discovered the forged quality certificates. Was it South Korea or an international regulatory commission.

    Since you posted this in a chat board that has become not so much about ACS in particular as about academic fraud and credential fraud in general, I’m going to make the obvious statement: the lack of integrity in Korean institutions pervades its society. Korean academia lacks integrity, and (to me and many others anyway) academia is the most ideal of institutions. Is it any wonder its a steep downhill from there in other Korean institutions?

  • Baek In-je
    7:35 am on November 5th, 2012 58

    Kushibo, no one has to exagerate the problems in South Korea. Sometimes the problem are so egregious that hyperbole would be redundant.

  • Teadrinker
    7:37 am on November 5th, 2012 59

    “Lots of people in Korea think there are too many universities in Korea nowadays, many of them with non-rigorous standards for graduation. This is why the “SKY” schools and the top-tier universities like Sogang, Ewha, Keimyung, Pusan National, KAIST, etc., carry so much weight for their graduates. ”

    None of which you mention is better ranked than my own graduate school.

    And yes, the papers I previously mentioned were MA and MSc thesis.

  • Teadrinker
    7:40 am on November 5th, 2012 60

    #56,

    Yeah, reminds me of the time the fire marshal came to inspect the building of my first employer here. How did he manage to pass the inspection with a rats nest of a fuse box and wires so old and brittle they’d snap in two if you bent them? He slipped them 30 000won. I saw it with my two eyes.

  • Stephen
    8:23 am on November 5th, 2012 61

    kushibo
    2:01 pm on November 4th, 2012 53

    top-tier universities like Sogang, Ewha, Keimyung, Pusan National, KAIST

    I have surfed around looking for rankings according to entry scores for 2012. As expected KAIST is top. Pusan National is 19th. Everyone wants to be in Seoul – excepting science/engineering majors for Daejeon and Pohang.

    I don’t know why you put Keimyung on your list of top-tier schools. The only graduates from Keimyung that I know are flight attendants.

    Sogang is 7th, Ewha is 11th and you’ll be pleased to note that Yonsei’s ranking of 3 has booted SNU down to 4th.

    http://blog.naver.com/manjri2?Redirect=Log&logNo=120170593101

  • G.I. G.I. Joe
    8:10 pm on November 5th, 2012 62

    Kushibo, someone just posted this on CL about Yonsei:

    Korean still believes that they have any system of education (Seoul)

    I am not sure that Korean still believes that they have any system of education. Recently I came across through surprising facts while dealing a yonsei official and he laterally says that there is no system, no rules, no administration in Yonsei broadly in Korea. We are working through culture not through any rules and regulations. If you are working with Yonsei Professors or any official and do not expect for any rules and regulation but for your job to be done, please say hi to them in the morning and gift them.

    I will guess that English is not OP’s first language and that OP is a first timer in the RoK. (I’m just guessing, but OP sounds like an exchange student not from North American or Europe.)

    I want to clarify with you, Kushibo, that I do not suspect your academic integrity and in fact the thought never entered my mind. The “believe it in my bones” statement (God help me) does apply to virtually all Koreans. I simply believe in my bones that Koreans are at best oblivious to and at worst much worse about academic fraud. Unfortunately, that perception, which is hardly uniquely mine, taints all Korean universities, all Korean degrees, and all Korean academics.

    Although my head tells me it can’t be true… God help me, I believe it in my bones.

  • G.I. G.I. Joe
    9:16 pm on November 5th, 2012 63

    This thread has become a place to post the fraudulent scandal du jour.

    Chosun Ilbo: Hyundai Shares Tank on False Advertising Scandal

    Hyundai and Kia shares took a beating on the stock exchange on Monday after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Friday that the carmakers overstated the gas mileage of most of their 2011-2013 models. The carmakers said they will pay the owners for the difference in mileage plus 15 percent of the money they lost on fuel, prompting investors to dump the carmakers’ shares due to fears of massive losses ahead.

    …Hyundai and Kia claim the overstated claims resulted from “differences in interpreting” the results of fuel efficiency tests in the U.S. and Korea. But analysts say the fact that gas mileage was overstated on so many different models will inevitably have a negative impact on Hyundai and Kia’s brand image….

    …and anonymous foreign posters on English language K-blogs wrote that the scandal is just today’s incarnation of the credential and certification fraud that pervades Korean culture. :roll:

  • Teadrinker
    9:43 pm on November 5th, 2012 64

    “Yeah, reminds me of the time the fire marshal came to inspect the building of my first employer here. How did he manage to pass the inspection with a rats nest of a fuse box and wires so old and brittle they’d snap in two if you bent them? He slipped them 30 000won. I saw it with my two eyes.”

    But, admittedly, that was 15 years ago. Things have changed since then. In those days, South Korea had only known true democracy for 5 years, and so corruption was still at its highest. Many of those in positions of power still abused it. Old habits were hard to break. The younger generations, including those who were university students in the 80s during the struggle for democracy, don’t stand for such nonsense. Sure, corruption still exist, but I feel it’s important to put that anecdote within its historical context.

  • Teadrinker
    9:58 pm on November 5th, 2012 65

    #63,

    Canada caught Hyundai lying about the horsepower of its engines about 10 years ago.

  • G.I. G.I. Joe
    10:09 pm on November 5th, 2012 66

    #64, I’ve seen similar more recently.

  • Baek In-je
    11:20 pm on November 5th, 2012 67

    Teadrinker
    “Yeah, reminds me of the time the fire marshal came to inspect the building of my first employer here. How did he manage to pass the inspection with a rats nest of a fuse box and wires so old and brittle they’d snap in two if you bent them? He slipped them 30 000won. I saw it with my two eyes.”

    I was a manager at a very well-known restaurant in Seoul. The staff had put the salad bar sneeze guard up against the only fire exit in the kitchen. (Of course, why would you need a sneeze guard in Korea? Koreans are very VERY hygenic). It took a lot of strength for me to move it out of the way. The next day, it was back blocking the fire exit again. I complained to the head of security who came into the kitchen with me, laughed at me as he made jokes about me being silly in front of the kitchen staff (keep using the term “waygookin”), and told me to leave it there blocking the fire exit.

 

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