Plagiarism is easy in today's world. Not only do students have access to online writing, which they can easily copy and paste, they can also hire work out to a paid plagiarizer. Many students have no idea of the consequences! In this post, I want to address the problem of plagiarism and offer a simple solution, in the form of a class activity. Today we are sharing this great infographic from health informatics at The University of Illinois, Chicago to continue our discussion about the importance of teaching students about plagiarism. Below is a creative lesson plan idea for helping students to connect meaningfully to the idea of academic integrity. This infographic offers information and suggestions for stemming this growing issue. We want to give a big thank you to The University of Illinois at Chicago for bringing it to our attention! I also wanted to share a creative idea for helping students connect meaningfully with this crime that they often think of as victimless. I've known a few English teachers to do a variation of this assignment and I think it could be adapted to work at many grade levels. Here is the gist of the assignment:
1. Assign a creative assignment that can be presented in a 60 second class presentation. (For example: creative writing or research with a visual aid)
2. Have students present their projects to the class so everyone gets a good idea of the quality of each student's work.
3. Post assignments up around the room.
4. Give students post it notes and ask them to write their name on them.
5. Have students walk around and vote for the best projects by placing their post it notes on their favorite.
6. Cross out the original names on the projects and tell students that their grades will be based on the project that they selected and not on the work that they actually completed.
Inevitably, there will be projects that were completed with mindless haste and others that were created with care and critical thinking. There will probably be a few students who didn't do the assignment at all and will get credit. Students who put time and effort into their project will likely be outraged at the idea that others will get credit for their work. With the face of outrage real in their peers, the students who are getting the undue credit will likely feel the pangs of guilt. This is the perfect moment for a discussion of plagiarism that will hopefully stick with many students for a long time.
What do you think of this idea? Do you or your colleagues do something similar? What have the reactions been like? We'd love to hear from you in the comment section below!