In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source.
--from Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA Statement on Best Practices
Can you reduce incidents of plagiarism in your classroom by redesigning your writing assignments? Here are some best practices to consider.
In his book Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty, James Lang presents a case study wherein an instructor discusses four ways that she contextualizes her writing prompts, creating assignments that, by design, resist plagiarism.
Ask students to:
Designing Assignments to Discourage Plagiarism
Alice Robison - Writing Across the Curriculum at UW-Madison
"Teaching our students about proper use of sources and citation methods is an important part of discouraging plagiarism, and defining, discussing, and teaching proper use of sources and citation methods is a useful tactic. Experienced instructors concur that it is important to include information on plagiarism in their syllabi, perhaps confirming class discussions with “academic honesty contracts” or institutional “honor codes.” In addition, instructors can think carefully about course- and assignment-design."
Margaret Procter, University of Toronto
"Knowing how to build personal ideas on past knowledge is a central goal of university study, but it sometimes seems that students hear about it mainly through warnings and threats. Here are some practical ways to lessen the risk of plagiarism in your classes while using writing as a way for students to explore ideas and learn ways of thinking."
Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers
Robert Harris, VirtualSalt
"The availability of textual material in electronic format has made plagiarism easier than ever. Copying and pasting of paragraphs or even entire essays now can be performed with just a few mouse clicks. The strategies discussed here can be used to combat what some believe is an increasing amount of plagiarism on research papers and other student writing. By employing these strategies, you can help encourage students to value the assignment and to do their own work."
Designing Assignments to Encourage Integrity
Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, Indiana University Bloomington
Six straightforward changes you can make to your assignments including invaluable advice about changing your assignments frequently!