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Strategies for Preventing Student Plagiarism

Strategies for Preventing Student Plagiarism

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Strategies for Preventing Student Plagiarism

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  1. EDC Lunchtime Session 30 March 2001 Strategies for Preventing Student Plagiarism Kam-Por Kwan, EDC x6287

  2. Plan for this session • Meaning and forms of plagiarism: why is it a concern • Reasons for students to plagiarize • Sharing of experience and practice in combating plagiarism • Ideas about good practices in preventing student plagiarism

  3. A cheating game? • Advances in IT make plagiarism much easier than ever • downloading/purchase of online papers • cut-and-paste plagiarism of electronic materials • U.S. News (1999): • 80% of high-achieving high school students admitted to having cheated at least once • 75% of college students confessed to cheating at least once • 90% believed that cheaters never pay the price • No comparable data for Hong Kong or PolyU

  4. What is plagiarism? • Consider the following cases: • a student copies the entire/a substantive part ofanother student’s essay or work • a student copies and pastes large chunks of materials from various sources (e.g. the Internet) without thinking or integration • a student utilizes materials directly from textbooks and notes without citing the sources • a student quotes other people’s work without providing proper citation/referencing • a group of students discuss ideas and produce work that are similar in many aspects

  5. Why does it matter? • Brainstorming For each of the cases above, explain: • whether they should be considered plagiarism, and • whether those practices should be discouraged, and why or why not.

  6. Plagiarism: A definition • “… to steal from the writings or ideas of another” (Chambers English Dictionary, 1988) • “… to take and use as one’s own the thoughts, writings, or inventions of another” (Oxford English Dictionary, 1987) • “… using another’s work without giving credit” (UC Davis: )

  7. Why students plagiarize? • Plain laziness • Low chance of being caught • To save time and effort, especially when overloaded • Poor time management and planning skills • Perceiving the task as trivial/unimportant/not useful • Fear of failure/lack of confidence in own writing • Unclear about the permissible level of collaboration • Lack of guidance on proper way of quoting and citing other people’s work

  8. Intentional direct copying of past or present students’ work direct copying of other people’s work from various sources downloading the workload: obtaining term papers from the Internet … Unintentional unaware of the need /proper way of citing or quoting other people’s work poor writing style collaborative effort in dealing with assessment tasks … Intentional versus unintentional plagiarism

  9. How do you prevent plagiarism? • Sharing of experience • How often do your students plagiarize in their submitted work? What are the most common forms? • Do you or your department have a clear policy about plagiarism? How do you make it known to students • What actions do you/your dept take to educate students about plagiarism? • What strategies have you used to prevent student plagiarism?

  10. Preventing plagiarism • Make the penalties clear • Make it more difficult for students to plagiarize • Reduce the incentive for students to plagiarize • Help students avoid unintentional plagiarism

  11. Make the penalties clear • Set clear policy on: • what constitutes plagiarism • the penalties for plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty • Make clear to students the policy • Stress the severe sanctions for plagiarism • Make visible your efforts to detect plagiarism and confront students who are suspected of having plagiarized

  12. Make plagiarism more difficult • Set assessments that require students to apply ideas or relate to their personal experience/ a particular (local) example • Require specific components for the assessment • e.g. most recent references, personal interviews or surveys, case studies, personal reflections, etc. • Require process steps for the assessment task: • e.g. outline, drafts, annotated bibliography • Require oral reports of student work • Keep copies of past paper/student work

  13. Reduce incentives to plagiarize • Make the assessment relevant/meaningful/ useful to learning • Ensure that students are not overloaded • Make clear the requirements and expectations of the assessment tasks • Explain the assessment criteria • Structure the assessment by setting a series of deadlines for various intermediate tasks • Assure/inform students of help available

  14. Help students avoid plagiarism • Educate students about plagiarism: • discuss with students what plagiarism is and why it is an unacceptable practice in education • clarify the permissible level of collaboration in assessment • explain the proper way of citing and quoting other people’s work

  15. Useful resources for staff • Examples of anti-plagiarism policy • Northwestern University • University of Kentucky • Strategies for preventing plagiarism: • Preventing Academic Dishonesty (University of California, Berkeley) • Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers (Vanguard University of South California)

  16. Useful resources for staff (2) • Preventing and Detection Websites: • Downloadable term papers: What’s a Prof. to Do • Cut-and-Paste Plagiarism: Preventing, Detecting and Tracking Online Plagiarism • Plagiarism.org • MOSS: A System for Detecting Software Plagiarism • EVE (Essay Verification Engine)

  17. Resources for students • How not to plagiarize • Plagiarism and how to avoid it (Gardner, HKU, 2001) • Avoiding Plagiarism: Mastering the art of scholarship(UC Davis)