Teaching Plagiarism: How to Avoid a Sad Situation

10 Types of Plagiarism
Ten Most Common Types of Plagiarism from Plagiarism.org

Have you ever needed to deal with students who ended up having plagiarisms in their assignments? Unless the students took phrases or sentences from obvious sources, identifying plagiarism has become nearly impossibly thanks to the Internet and computers. If you are living in the era of postmodernism and believe in postmodernist sensibility, plagiarism may not matter anymore. In academics and education, plagiarism is a really big deal, and it is essential for students to learn how to cite and use someone else’s ideas properly and for teaching staff to provide useful resources that can potentially prevent plagiarism.

Screen Shot of Plagiarism.orgThe top page of Plagiarism.org

I found this website, Plagiarism.org, last year, and it is a great website for students to learn about plagiarism. A company called iParadigms is behind the website, and its intention to create such a website is obvious: to encourage students to try out its new service WriteCheck, which is basically a lesser version of Turnitin. Regardless of the company’s intention, the website itself is useful and informative. It has four main sections as you can see in the screen shot of the top page: Plagiarism 101, which provides essential knowledge about plagiarism; Citing Sources, which guides students in learning how to cite properly; Ask the Expertswhich shares responses to previous questions asked from students; and, Resourceswhich provides further information about plagiarism. In the last section, I found this four-minute YouTube video that explains 10 types of plagiarism:

Showing this video is definitely an effective way to make students (re-)aware of plagiarism, but also sharing the top image in this post with students as a handout may be a better way for them to retain what they watched in the clip. The Resources section provides student materials that you can use as handouts in class. I have no idea how long the company will maintain this website, so you should download and save the files before the website disappears. The combination of the following articles may be also useful to raise awareness of plagiarism:

If you can use one tutorial session or a part of lecture, showing RiP! A Remix Manifesto by Brett Gaylor may be an interesting way to engage your students in the issue of plagiarism in general:

You would be very sad if you find out that one of your students has committed plagiarism. Your preventive actions for plagiarism by talking about it or sharing any of these resources can definitely decrease the chance of plagiarism in your classroom!


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