On November 11, WAC Writing Fellows Claire Hoogendoorn and Jake Cohen, together with Bronwen Densmore of the Ursula C. Schwerin Library, led a faculty workshop on avoiding plagiarism and using library resources. This was a lively workshop in which WAC Fellows and City Tech instructors shared their understanding of and experiences with plagiarism.
The presentation was organized around three main topics: understanding plagiarism, strategies for preventing plagiarism, and responding to plagiarism. Some key points from the discussion are highlighted below.
- In order for students to avoid plagiarism, it is critical for them to know exactly what it means. The NYCCT statement on academic integrity is a necessary first step in this regard.
- Not all plagiarism is equal: there are different kinds and levels of plagiarism.
- Students commit plagiarism for a host of different reasons. Sometimes plagiarism involves an instance of pure cheating, however other times citation errors and/or bad paraphrasing are to blame.
Strategies for Preventing Plagiarism
- Educating students about plagiarism – i.e. having an open and honest conversation about the topic – is the first step toward preventing plagiarism.
- To this end, the WAC Writing Fellows will be organizing a student workshop on the topic next spring.
- Part of the education process includes outlining the pedagogical purpose of research, providing examples of plagiarism, and modelling correct citation format.
- There are also online quizzes (e.g. via the Baruch College Library) that can be used to reinforce the lessons.
- Creating high quality assignments is a fundamental step in preventing plagiarism: Scaffolding assignments remains one of the most effective methods.
- It is also helpful to use details in assignments and to empower students.
- The City Tech Library has a number of resources to assist students in doing research and completing assignments.
- Paraphrasing is difficult! This is true for both native and non-native English speakers. Developing paraphrasing skills requires proper training and practice.
Responding to Plagiarism
- Refer to the Academic Integrity Policy Manual for information about how to report cases of plagiarism.
- We have to report every case of plagiarism.
- There exist electronic resources for suspected plagiarism, e.g. SafeAssign
The slides and handout from the workshop are linked below…