Helping Prevent Plagiarism in Your Classroom
Statistically, we are likely to have one or more students who will plagiarize in class (McCabe, 2005). Faculty have a huge amount of power in minimizing our students' plagiarism risk. After looking at a variety of research, we have provided a menu of research-based methods to help prevent plagiarism in the classroom. Explore the following section that discusses the issues that increase the likelihood of students plagiarizing, and how to manage those issues.
Please note that your goal isn't to apply all of these recommendations at once, but to pick some that are easy for you to implement and build from there. For more intensive options or those that deal with course design (e.g. scaffolding, assessment type, and learning outcomes), it might be helpful to bring these to instructional designers in your school’s teaching and learning center. Discuss what might work well with your unique class design.
Issues that Increase Plagiarism and How to Manage Them
Students may not know the nuance of plagiarism or how to apply the rules to their work.
Help students learn more about the nuances of plagiarism:
- Take the Course: First, encourage them to complete the JHU Avoiding Plagiarism Course. You can even have them hand in their certificate to you once they pass the course.
- Expectations: Also, make your explicit expectations clear in your course, especially about assessments, sources, and collaboration. It is also vital to point out the school’s policies.
- Extend their Knowledge: The Avoiding Plagiarism Course provides students with a strong foundation. It is helpful for professors to build on the concepts learned and apply them to the discipline to help students practice and apply these skills.
- Support: If a student is still struggling, many find it helpful to consult with a tutor or writing center. Direct students to our Student Support page if you are not sure what services are offered by your school.
Student take an “easy” path and plagiarize
Make it harder to plagiarize by maximizing instructional design.
According to Carroll & Appleton (2001):
- Prevent Duplication: “Rewriting/modifying the assessment task each term”
- Strengthen Learning Outcomes: Focusing on synthesis and analysis in the learning outcomes
- Creative Solutions: “Design in assessment tasks with multiple solutions” or one that tracks individual contributions
Student stress leads to ethics erosion
Improve course learning techniques while reducing stress
- Scaffold: Break down big assessments into smaller parts so that they are not due at once. Student can turn in elements along the way but only get graded formally on the final product.
- Timing: Consider the assessment timing with other courses in the program and try not to schedule big assessments at the same time.
- Extensions: If you find that students are overwhelmed by a number of competing demands, try to be flexible if possible with students extension requests.
- Assessment Types: Design the course with different assessment types to help students show their skills and offer lots of opportunities for practice (i.e. formative assessment).
How to Implement These Recommendations
The goal isn’t to apply all of these recommendations at once, but to pick some that are easy for you to implement and build from there.
For more intensive options or those that deal with course design (e.g. scaffolding, assessment type, and learning outcomes), it might be helpful to bring these to instructional designers in your school’s teaching and learning center. Discuss what might work well with your unique class design.
Carroll, J. & Appleton, J. (2001). Plagiarism: A Good Practice Guide. Retrieved 10 July 2019, https://i.unisa.edu.au/siteassets/staff/tiu/documents/plagiarism---a-good-practice-guide-by-oxford-brookes-university.pdf.
McCabe, D. L. (2005). Cheating among college and university students: A North American perspective. International Journal for Educational Integrity, 1(1).