|Internet Plagiarism: An Agenda for Staff Inservice and Student Awareness|
Lincoln • Library Media Specialist
Lakeview High School, Battle Creek, Michigan
|MultiMedia Schools • January/February 2002|
Nearly half the hands in the room shot up when I began my remarks by asking, "How many of you have ever suspected Internet plagiarism in your students' work?" A similar number responded affirmatively to the question, "Were your suspicions confirmed? Were you able to confront the student about the plagiarism?"
In the past, teachers often approached me for assistance in tracking down plagiarized passages of a term paper. This presentation was meant as a way for me to share my knowledge and experience, so that they could do more of this sleuth work on their own and then take measures to deter plagiarism in their students' work.
In the period following this staff presentation, teachers have remarked that they feel better able to deal with the problem of Internet plagiarism. Social studies and language arts teachers have not been the only source of favorable comments. Guidance counselors and teachers of mathematics and the fine arts have also appreciated being informed of the widespread reach of the issue. As a result of having done this inservice for our staff and having increased student awareness of the matter of cheating and plagiarism, we have taken a proactive stance at Lakeview High School in response to an unfortunate occurrence in education today.
Schools and I hope that the summary of the key points of my presentation
to our staff will help you and other educators address the problem of Internet
plagiarism. Please feel free to reproduce the outline presented here, and
to modify it for your own particular circumstances. I've found it best to
have access to an Internet connection and projection device during the
Pamphlet: Cheating—An Insider's Guide
are also posting this article and outline on the MultiMedia Schools
Web site at http://www.infotoday.com/MMSchools.
From that site, you can download an Adobe PDF file of our pamphlet, "Cheating—An
Insider's Guide," which was prepared at Lakeview High under the direction
of social studies teacher Scott Durham. Use and adapt it as well!
HERE to open/download The PDF version of this pamphlet.
I. EXTENT OF THE PROBLEM (Presenter gives overview.)
1. The growth of the World Wide Web is phenomenal, giving us immediate access to information on any topic. Janet Kornblum, writing in the July 11, 2000 issue of USA Today, cites the study undertaken by Cyveillance that estimated the size of the Web to have reached 2.1 billion pages, heading to the 4 billion mark [http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/jk071100.htm].
2. Why students cheat
1. Vocabulary, writing style, and grammar are unusually advanced and adult.
2. Student has inserted a paragraph or sentence of his/her own creation that is remarkably less sophisticated than the rest of the paper.
3. Gray letters appear in the text—an indication that the page was downloaded from the Web. Color letters on a screen show up gray in a printout.
4. A student prints out an essay directly from his Web browser, perhaps even leaving a Web address at the top or bottom of a page.
5. The layout of the paper seems strange. Page numbers, headings, and spacing do not correctly transfer in a hasty cut-and-paste job.
6. A student leaves in references to graphs, charts, or accompanying material that is missing from the body of the paper.
7. Inactive Web sites are listed in the bibliography.
8. Bibliographic citations are all older than 5 years.
9. The student makes reference to historical persons or events while speaking in the present tense.
A student is unable to summarize the main points of the paper or answer
questions about parts of his or her writing.
III. PINPOINT THE SOURCE (Presenter demonstrates online strategies.)
1. Plagiarism of a Web site, personal home page, material posted by an organization or term paper mill.
1. Talk openly with students about plagiarism. Define it and give examples.
2. Obtain a sample of the student's in-class writing at the start of a semester in order to have a basis for comparison if plagiarism is later suspected.
3. Discuss copyright and the Internet.
4. Teach bibliographic citation.
5. Structure a research assignment so that various deadlines are due at different times. Confer with students about their progress.
6. Require students to turn in a thesis statement/abstract, annotated bibliography, outline, rough draft, and photocopies of cited references.
7. Consider having students use a note-taking method whereby black text signifies ideas of others while green text represents fresh thinking or the new ideas of the student.
8. Have students keep a journal or reflect on their progress in completing a major assignment. Let them consider the effectiveness of their final product and the efficiency of the research process.
9. Discourage projects that ask students to simply gather facts about a topic. Prefer projects that require explanations, problem solving, choices, decision-making, and personal reflection.
Emphasize essential questions—questions worth asking that touch upon basic
human issues or lie at the heart of a discipline. Encourage students to
ask their own questions and formulate their own answers.
outline by Margaret Lincoln, Lakeview High School Library Media Specialist,
300 S. 28 St., Battle Creek, MI. 49015; phone: 616/565-3730; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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