Plagiarism and faculty responsibility

The concern that faculty have regarding plagiarism is of utmost concern in the academy. Maintaining academic integrity promotes good scholarship and maintains the reputation of the university. But helping students learn what plagiarism is and how to avoid it can be difficult. Services like TurnItIn.com can work fine, but it can also seem, to some students, as a lack of trust between the two sides of the classroom. I offer three ways in which instructors can maintain a trust with students, while also helping them avoid plagiarism.

Inform students. Among the most important aspects of good pedagogy is letting students know about the expectations in the assignment. Alerting students to a specific citation style and kinds of sources can help students understand how to do the assignment, and it can help students avoid plagiarism.

Engage with students. Not all students know the entire process of writing a research paper, in any discipline. It is a faculty responsibility to instruct students how to do disciplinary research. One way to teach this is to separate the larger project into several smaller assignments, that all contribute to a better-formed research project. One benefit of this practice is that it alleviates some of the pressure that students might experience, and the instructor becomes aware of the project in ways that can stanch plagiarism before it starts.

Be interested. A specifically-worded question can decrease the likelihood of plagiarism. Such an assignment maintains the instructor’s interest in the responses, and it forces students to use their own resources and not use work that’s already been done.

About j.d.grunert

Historian, Science and Technology Studier, Librarian, Academish
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One Response to Plagiarism and faculty responsibility

  1. Brittanie H says:

    I really like the final advice you provide about being interested. It’s true! If the professor gives the same prompt that students would see in any typical english class, then of course they aren’t going to get extremely thoughtful and insightful work. I never realized the solution for this, but you made me realize that with a more descriptive prompt, students will dive deeper into answering it, making them less likely to plagiarize.

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