Student plagiarism: deterring it, detecting it, dealing with it Jude Carroll, Oxford Brookes University.
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Student plagiarism: deterring it, detecting it, dealing with it Jude Carroll, Oxford Brookes University
This is my plan for this lecture…… -Defining plagiarism. What kinds of student plagiarism are a problem in 2007? […..in Iceland?] -A holistic approach is needed to deal with plagiarism. Describing the parts in a holistic approach -teaching students the necessary skills -designing programmes and designing tasks -effective detection -what makes a ‘case’? -matching the level of breaking the rules with the consequences -explaining why appropriate policies are central to a holistic approach.
Plagiarism is defined as ‘submitting someone else’s work as your own’ How can work belong to others? What is OK to share before I hand in my work? ‘work’ What is that? What makes work belong to me?
Do students understand what plagiarism is? Students must link the idea of plagiarism to their everyday decisions…… Activity: Which are plagiarism?
Students ask themselves questions: “Ok, here is an assignment. How do I do it…….. Can I find the answer? Has someone already answered this? Has a fellow student done it? How hard is it? Can I do a good answer? Is it worth spending the time? How much time will it take? If I do it, what else will suffer? If I fake it or copy it, will I be caught? If I am caught, what are the likely consequences?” Most students do the assignment. A growing number answer with plagiarism, intentionally or unintentionally.
Influencing students’ decisions 1: Make sure the students know what teachers expect Make sure students have the necessary skills to do what is expected Make sure students see their everyday decisions as linked to academic integrity
‘If the person marking your work cannot tell whether they are marking your work or someone else’s work, that person might wonder, ‘Is it plagiarism?’ You create a false assumption for your assessor if you borrow others’ work (published or unpublished) and do not say right there in the text where it comes from.’
What explains our interest in student plagiarism? Academics give credit for learning Learning is demonstrated by understanding Understanding is demonstrated by change (in you or in the work) So…… No change, then no understanding No understanding, then no learning No learning, then no credit
Misunderstanding what we mean by ‘learning’ leads to plagiarism Copying from other students Copying from books, from the internet, from previous work Collecting chunks of text from the Web and sticking them together Hardly changing the original author’s words or changing them in superficial ways [Students bypass any evidence of understanding]
Poor use of citation rules leads to plagiarism -Some text quoted, some not marked as quotations -Some text cited correctly, some lifted but not cited. Wrong decisions and actions lead to plagiarism -Submitting the same piece of work twice -Sharing work with fellow students who then use it to ‘do their own work’ -Over- use of editing & proofreading -Sub-contracting work which seems ‘not important’ [Marker is not sure whose work is being judged]
Misconduct and cheating leads to plagiarism -Paying someone; buying an assignment -Finding it (or most of it) -Copying most (or all) and hiding the fact -Handing in someone else’s answer or work -Lying about your contribution to the group -Deliberately disguising your breach of the rules
Most worries about plagiarism are about misconduct & cheating Most cases of plagiarism come from misunderstanding and poor use of the rules of citation and attribution Q: Are university policies designed to deal with the small number of deliberate cheaters …. or the large and growing number of unintentional cases?
Dealing with plagiarism requires a ‘holistic’ approach Understanding ‘the rules of the game’ Teaching students the skills Designing out easy copying; designing in apprenticeship A range of detection strategies Agreeing ‘How serious?’ [High, medium, low?] Agreeing what proves a case Procedures that do not punish whoever spots it Fair, consistent, defensible penalties
Discussion activity How holistic is your university? Where are the strengths? Where are the gaps?
I told them about plagiarism so they definitely know about it but I still get it. What’s wrong with them? “ ”
Influencing Decisions 2: ‘Teach students the skills they will need.’ If I told you how to play cricket, could you play it? Could you play it well? What would you need to be a good cricket player?
Analysing Evaluating Paraphrasing and summarising Structure ‘Mining’ texts to support opinions REFERENCING taking apart; creating & answering sub-questions making judgments about value, reliability, authority others’ words and ideas what order to put things in; subheads, paragraphs Using others’ authority
Influencing decisions 3: Focus on course design; Focus on task design fake it? find it? do it? make it?
designing in practice Induction Diagnosis Skills development Feedback Practice designing out easy cheating Novelty - context/format Specificity - local, recent, personal, individual, unique Higher-order cognitive skills* YES: rank, justify, choose, revise, interpret, analyse, invent, plan NO: knowledge (eg. ‘describe, state’), basic understanding (‘explain’). NO: generic application Assess the process Authenticate the author
Influencing decisions 5: Use a wide range of detection strategies. electronicmanual Proactive ‘Should I look carefully at anyone’s work? Using a commercial tool (Urkund, Turnitin, etc) Matching exams and coursework Viva xx% Meta-writing task Keeping the order of submission Reactive ‘Is this really the student’s own work?’ Advanced Google search ‘Properties’ function checking formatting, Using a commercial tool (Urkund, Turnitin etc) changes in language Changes in referencing Changes in formatting, word processing Off the topic Too advanced language or content Inappropriate words, content
‘Detection’ is a process….. suspicion investigation confirmation action
Final stages: dealing with cases How much evidence? Classifying the seriousness Matching penalty to the level of breach Keeping records Monitoring and learning from data