Preventing College Plagiarism
I’ve written before about preventing plagiarism, but it’s definitely a topic that needs to be continuously explored. I was on a volunteer board in college where a student had been accused of plagiarism and was contesting the fact that it would go on their record. Here are some facts about the case, which was anonymous – I never found out who the student was.
The student had plagiarized by not properly citing his sources. The whole paper was basically poorly paraphrased from other sources.
The student apologized for his mistake, claiming he hadn’t known how to cite his sources, and that he didn’t mean to plagiarise.
The professor allowed the student to rewrite the paper to get some points – not the full amount, but he received some credit.
The allegation of plagiarism was reported and was going to be added to the student’s record, but in such a way it would only be seen if the student was accused of plagiarism again, in order to see that it was a pattern. it would not be on his transcripts, or visible to professors unless they reported him for another count of plagiarism.
The student objected to this being on his record, claiming he wasn’t a cheater and didn’t want to be seen as such – even though the only time it would come up is if there was a repeat of the situation. If he really wasn’t a cheater, he wouldn’t have to worry about it.
Ultimately, the committee decided that it needed to stay on his record, and that the whole situation basically stemmed from students not being prepared for college level work. The student was in a remedial writing class, and many professors felt the student should have been offered more resources before submitting a paper at this level.
Sometimes there is no way to know if a student intentionally plagiarized or if they were ignorant of proper citation protocol. But we can work to detect plagiarism when it occurs, using systems like PlagiarismCheckerX
There is also a lot we can do to educate college students on plagiarism and how to avoid it. The infographic below shares some of the realities of college plagiarism and how to prevent it.