How to Prevent Student Cheating and Academic Plagiarism?
Student cheating and plagiarism have troubled academia since the development of modern notions of plagiarism and copyright protection. A cursory review of the education literature suggests that advances in mobile technology and the ubiquity of the Internet have exacerbated the problem of student plagiarism. The perception that student plagiarism has spiraled out of control is not surprisingly reinforced by plagiarism-checker services such as Turnitin.com which warned in a recent white paper that “Educators today battle a pervasive culture of copying and cheating – a culture driven by unprecedented competition and the ability for students to easily and instantly access billions of source documents over the Web” (iParadigms, 2010, p. 3).
Notwithstanding the development of high-tech strategies to track would-be plagiarists, the two main institutional approaches towards prevention have been to denounce plagiarism as immoral and demand adherence to honor codes or to condemn it as a crime and punish it with suspension or expulsion (Blum, 2009). While the second approach is clearly punitive, both approaches are negative. Frustrated over the persistence of the problem and time spent policing students versus teaching, some educators have called for an end to the pursuit of plagiarists, while others have made the case for a more positive approach to plagiarism prevention (Karon, 2012). The following list of top ten approaches to preventing students from submitting materials that are not of their own making for academic credit includes both positive and negative approaches.
- Educate students on the meaning of plagiarism. It is likely that many students do not understand what does and does not constitute plagiarism, either generally or in the context of the specific course or department. Provide concrete examples.
- Discuss plagiarism in the context of the institution’s honor and/or academic integrity code. Define and discuss how plagiarism violates the institution’s honor code.
- Define and discuss the consequences of plagiarism. These discussions should include discussion of institutional sanctions for plagiarism and the individual instructor’s or department’s policies and sanctions for plagiarism.
- Teach students how to avoid plagiarism. This includes teaching students how to search for and evaluate sources. Students can also benefit from lessons on how to properly paraphrase, how to take good notes, and when and how to use direct quotations.
- Teach students proper citation styles. This includes teaching students when and how to cite sources, as well as teaching the particulars of specific citation styles (e.g., APA, MLA, etc.).
- Create engaging assignments and avoid recycling syllabi. Students who are engaged with the learning process will be less likely to plagiarize. It is recommended that professors change and update assignments each quarter or semester rather than relying on “recycled” assignments.
- Require the use of outlines or drafts or turning in assignments in sections. This requirement discourages procrastination as well as rendering plagiarism more difficult.
- Implement various restrictions and requirements for assignment designed to limit plagiarism. There are a variety of different strategies which can be imposed including the imposition of a narrow topic focus, limiting the type and number of sources that can be used, requiring the use of sources with very recent dates, and requiring students to submit copies of all references.
- Require students to submit papers to turnitin.com or another plagiarism-checker. Many institutions already have subscriptions with Turnitin. To be most effective, it is recommended that instructors review the results with students.
- Follow-up on stated policies related to the consequences of plagiarism. The anti-plagiarism policies must not be toothless.
Blum, S.D. Academic integrity and student plagiarism: a question of education, not ethics. Chronicle of Higher Education. iParadigms. The effectiveness of Turnitin. Turnitin White Paper.
iParadigms. The plagiarism spectrum. Turnitin White Paper.
iParadigms. The sources in student writing – Higher education. Turnitin White Paper.
Clean and Format Your Essay Document. Remove Text Strings and Styles. Retrieved from https://essayscam.org/clean-text/