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Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

On my campus, as well as others, there has of late been a terrific focus placed upon student plagiarism. I’ve been asked to teach a handful of plagiarism workshops (4 down, 1 to go…this Thursday, if anyone’s in town) and I was recently asked to produce a “statement” of a sort to be used in advertising a conference on Academic Integrity that is being held here at UTC. So I said:

There is a lot of confusion among students as to citation in academic writing, including what needs a citation and who should be cited in specific circumstances. My feeling is that if we continue teaching the specifics of what, who, and how, we’re missing the real issue. Students need to understand why we insist on citation, and the purpose and goals of this very specific sort of writing. We as educators need to encourage students to be willing to see themselves as part of the academic dialogue, as a piece of the ongoing attempt at the creation of knowledge. Students need to see academic writing as a conversation between themselves, the professor, and the rest of the Academy, and not as a hoop to jump through or a check-mark on their transcript. A large part of their vision of academic writing is formed by the way educators present assignments, and I think that we can better serve the student by re-imagining the way this is done.

Plagiarism is something that strikes me as old news…always been here, always will, and until we can convince professors that traditional “write a paper on X” assignments aren’t the best sorts, we’ll always have to deal with it. I need to find a way to get my workshop online…it uses music as a metaphor for academic writing, and shows how something can move from “bad” reuse to “ok” reuse, and how to think about academic writing in a different way. I believe that the current “millenial” student really has a difficult time understanding plagiarism, and the workshop is designed to get them thinking in a new way. I’ll put that on the pile of things to do in the next year or so…

2 replies on “Plagiarism and Academic Integrity”

Expecting America’s youth to come up with original thought? Tsk, tsk.

Tell them it’s like taking someone else’s weed without permission. That ought to clue ’em in.

Keep fighting the good fight.

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