For educators
Start the conversation with your students about plagiarism.

How to use in the classroom

Below you will find a couple of suggestions for how to use this web tutorial to kick-start a conversation with your students about plagiarism:

  • Ask your students what they associate with the word plagiarism.
  • Present the definitions provided in this tutorial and discuss any referencing requirements.
    • When are references mandatory and how should they be implemented?
    • Do you require your students to adhere to a particular reference style or are they free to choose?
  • Provide examples of plagiarism from a context that is familiar to your students.
    • What should your students look out for and how can they ensure academic integrity and honesty in their work?
    • How can they use other people’s thoughts and ideas, yet at the same time work independently?
  • Ask your students to do a couple of the exercises in the tutorial.
    • Talk about rights and wrongs, and discuss why.
    • What are the difficulties of referencing?
    • Where is the line between quoting too little and quoting too much?
  • Discuss what constitutes “common knowledge”. Use the definitions provided in this tutorial.
    • Are there any examples from your students´ local context of dommain-specific “common knowledge” for which a source need not be provided?

Engage with your colleagues

Discuss the following questions with your colleagues:

  • When and how should students be exposed to the issue of plagiarism for the first time?
  • Who should teach students about sound academic practices, including how to avoid plagiarism?
  • How can you be very explicit about the requirements of academia?
  • What does working with academic integrity mean in your context?
  • How can you highlight the rules of academic integrity more effectively?
  • How do you instil a sense of academic pride in your students?
  • What do you do if catch a student plagiarising?

Where is the line?

This exercise is not about plagiarism as such but about a related type of cheating: unwarranted collaboration.

Complete this exercise with a colleague and discuss where you draw the line on student collaborations. You may well discover that you have very different takes on the issue.

Reflecting on and communicating boundaries is an important part of the efforts to combat cheating in all shapes and forms in academia.

A professor tasks their students with the following assignment:

“Select Company A, Company B or Company C.Investigate the advertising campaign which that company has been running in the past two years. Write up a report that evaluates the impact of the campaign and make recommendations for future campaigns.Do your own work and hand in an individual report!”

Suppose that three students do what is listed below and that they do it in this order.

You decide! 

Does the work of each student meet the requirement to “do your own work and hand in an individual report?” If not, when exactly do the students cross the line?

  1. The three students discuss the task at hand with other students.
  2. They look at historical examples of similar student reports and discuss with each other what is good and what is not so good about the reports.
  3. Each student now selects Company B only to realize later that the two colleagues have done the same. They decide to exchange ideas.
  4. They all decide to do a bit of research on advertising campaigns in general. They are all engaged in looking for information but agree to zoom in on just one aspect each. One of them looks into how to measure impact, another looks into the design, and the third student looks at costs. Everyone makes notes.
  5. They report back to each other verbally on advertising campaigns in general and on their special subjects. They tell each other about the sources they have used to find relevant information.
  6. They exchange research notes on what they have found so far, including lists of sources.
  7. The student who is most adept at information retrieval collects information on advertising campaign(s) of company B and shares the findings with their two peers.
  8. Another student organizes the report structure, creates headings, and shares a copy with the others.
  9. They delegate the different sections, two each, and all three students work together on the conclusion.
  10. They combine the sections and each student takes the draft away and writes up an individual version of the final report. No student changes more than 5 % of the other students’ contributions.
  11. All students submit their final reports and sign a statement to the effect that the reports are all “[…] individual […] and [their] own work”.

© Jude Carroll Use only with permission