Helping to Deter Plagiarism*
There are a number of steps that you can take as an instructor to help deter plagiarism in your course. Here are a few:
- Try to avoid using the same essay topics and/or test and exam questions each year.
- Design assignments that require more original input from your students.
- Take the time at the outset of the course to discuss research and writing techniques with your students. Provide documentation that will assist them with writing papers (proper citation methods) and information about campus writing centres.
- Consider inviting staff from one of the campus writing centres into your class to talk about these issues.
- Take some time to discuss the importance of academic integrity and the seriousness of academic offences as outlined in the Academic Code.
- Make your expectations clear particularly regarding group work. Some students cheat deliberately but many are not quite sure where the boundary lies between collaboration and academic dishonesty. Give your students examples of what you would consider cheating. Tell them which parts of an assignment or lab they may work on together and which must be completed alone. Tell them that cheating will not be tolerated.
- Consider using Turnitin.com, an on-line program designed to assist in the deterrence and detection of plagiarism.
- When possible, learn your students names and the names of their friends in the same class.
Students often feel a greater sense of moral obligation when their course-work and participation in tutorials is not anonymous. Getting to know your students helps develop peer pressure to behave honestly. Honesty is further encouraged if you help your students to get to know each other as well.
* See Deterring Plagiarism: Some Strategies and Designing Assignments by Dr. Margaret Procter (available on-line at: http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/ )
Administered by the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation,
University of Toronto
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