Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Reducing Plagiarism the New-Fashioned Way

Those sparkling words so finely crafted into an A+ term paper can't be Student Xs, can they? Student X's work up to this point has been dismal. What to do?

There are three ways to respond to suspicions of plagiarism. One is to ignore them or rationalize them away. But wait, that's not what you're paid to do. You're a professional, so act like it. Well then, let's type a sample phrase from the paper into the Google search window. Nothing. Let's try a different phrase. Still nothing. Repeat, ad infinitum. Surely there is a better way.

Turnitin.com offers that better way, according to testimonials. You first sign your class up for the service. Students turn their papers into the company's web site where they are checked against millions of papers, articles, books, and other writings in the company's data base. Suspicious passages are identified and you've found another student who purchased a paper from an Internet company providing that service.

Perhaps students will plagiarize less once they understand that technology has turned the odds in favor of the instructor. The main drawback is the cost of the service. Will the future see an "anti-plagiarism fee" buried in the dozens of fees now typically added to standard tuition costs? Instructors interested in reducing plagiarism might suggest that possibility to administrators.
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1 Comments:

Blogger Dr. Tammy said...

Good suggestion!

To protect against plagarism, I find that assigning formal papers which consist of Part I (synthesizing the reading/learning) and Part II (application to real-life) puts a "cramp" into plagarism. In Part I, they have to write in their own words with citations ABOUT the reading we covered. In Part II, the students have to tie the theory/concepts to a thought,opinion and real-life related experience. If the student has no "real-life" experience, I ask the student HOW they could apply the information IF in the position to do so.

This kills two birds. First, it avoids plagarism, because the paper becomes so personal. Second, because of the personal nature of the paper, it support andragogy (Adult Learning) methods very nicely.

3:43 PM  

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