This is not a traditional blog posting for this site. What happened is that I ran into writer and KPU Applied Communications instructor Arley McNeney on Twitter who posted a rapid -fire dozen tweets on addressing plagiarism, TurnItIn, and sound teaching practice. This struck a deep chord in me – I really needed to read this. It is a reminder of how important empathy and compassion are, not just for teaching but being human. I asked if I could post the tweets here and she said yes, with the caveat that some of the solutions are particular to her campus, but I think you will get it – the focus is on student support.
I empathize with faculty who feel like they don’t have the tools to address plagiarism, but Turnitin isn’t the answer. Here are some things you can do instead.
- Trust and respect students. See them as partners in learning.
- Book a session with our wonderful librarians.
- When a student plagiarizes, invite them for a conversation. Stress they’re not in trouble. Listen. Every time I have had one of these conversations, I have left with more respect for the student than when they walked into my office. Have the student revise the paper.
- Direct students to The Learning Centre or book a consultation with a learning strategist yourself. I am so impressed by the work that our colleagues at the The Learning Centre do. http://www.kpu.ca/learningcentres .
- Trust students.
- Ask your students how they learned to cite. Create a bridge between the citation practices they learned and what you want them to do.
- Take an Interculturisation Workshop.
- Lesley McCannell and others have developed a session on an intercultural approach to citation……She will come to your department meeting!
- Trust students.
- Involve students in creating assignments and rubrics. Are they valueing what you value in this assignment? Do they know what role sources play in the assignment?
- Use the skills assessment developed by Lesley McCannell,
@Pipkpu , Christina Page and others to find out what your students know about citation at the beginning of the semester.
- Talk to students. Get to know them. You will be surprised by the challenges they are facing.
- Trust students.
- Frame citation as an act of generosity. Someone gave us the gift of their knowledge or their words and we’re showing respect by crediting them. I forget where I learned this from (see? I am not perfect at citation and i teach it!) but it’s effective.
- Create assignments that are non-disposable and that draw on your students’ own experience.
- Have students practice paraphrasing and synthesis by having them write a scene where their sources are having dinner together. (I think this is a Peter Elbow exercise).
- Have students practice paraphrasing by having them read a draft of a peer’s assignment then explain the main point in less than 2 sentences.
- Have students bring in a draft and highlight quotes in one colour, paraphrasing in another and their own ideas in a third. This helps them identify places where they forgot to cite and also lets them see when they need to insert their own voice into the piece.
- Discuss how citation happens in your industry and why. When is it appropriate to use a colleague’s work? Focus on the decisions communicators make in the workplace. Not just how to cite by why.
- Trust students. Trust students. Trust students. Resist edtech. Trust students. How do you help your students learn citation?
Even the solutions that are specific to her campus describe a campus with a high degree of student support. It suggests a great model for student support. I, of course, would not dare attempt to speak for Arley, but what I hear in the phrase “Resist edtech” is that technology is not a substitute for teaching. I have written elsewhere about my feelings about TurnItIn on this blog, as well as trying to get faculty away from concerns about cheating and back to teaching academic integrity.
A special thanks again to Arley McNeney: the click-baity title is mine, everything else worth reading is hers. I would also be interested in your thoughts on this – technology can facilitate learning but it can also create barriers and false solutions (sometimes to problems that are created by tech in the first place!).