Teaching About Plagiarism In The Online Classroom

Teaching About Plagiarism In The Online Classroom
Summary: How do you help students understand, and avoid, plagiarism? Teachers have reams of tutorials and steps to take to avoid the trap of plagiarism, but many students tune out the advice. I’ve had some success getting students to understand plagiarism in the online classroom by using a short video that illustrates do’s and don’ts by example.

How To Teach About Plagiarism In The Online Classroom

The video does not preach; it avoids the use of terms like “do” and “do not”. The video format presents me, the professor, as one with passion for what I teach and who cares about student success. It helps humanize me in my online classroom.

Change your privacy settings to see the content.
In order to see this content you need to have advertising cookies enabled.
You can adjust your cookie preferences here.

Here is a transcript of what I say on the video:

This is Dr. Oliver Hedgepeth. Plagiarism is a tough word. You don’t want to be identified as having done something that seems like plagiarism. On a recent TV show, Ellen DeGeneres ran a contest for creative furniture designs. A young man won the prize, was put on TV, and received a lot of attention for a short time. Someone found that he had possibly copied a furniture design from some other wood maker. That is what we call plagiarism in the college world. It is when you accidentally or on purpose copy someone else’s work and use it as your own. Be mindful that this is a serious offense in college.

I place this video as a forum post for all of my classes. I ask students to review and discuss the video with me. So far, I have had no plagiarized papers from students who have seen this video.

So, I recommend that all teachers make a short video about plagiarism in the online classroom. Find an example outside the classroom such as how the US Post Office plagiarized the recent Maya Angelou stamp. Tell the story and ask students to share their thoughts.

Make a video. Make it fun. Students love it and receive an important message in the process.