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Preventing Plagiarism from the Web
Presentation by Randy Rambo, Illinois Valley Community College
Home Page The Crime Motivation Accomplices
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When "professors made it a priority to stamp out cheating, it didn't happen. When it was taken more lightly, it occurred more liberally" (Schneider, 1999).
         Of course, preventing plagiarism is better than having to deal with it when it occurs.

The following suggestions might help you dissuade students from even considering plagiarism. 

  • Make sure students know what plagiarism is.
  • Talk to students about cheating and plagiarism, and the ramifications, early in the semester.
  • Maintain strict policies for plagiarism: it's reasonable to assign a failing course grade to any student who knowingly attempts to deceive by plagiarizing.
  • Make sure students are familiar with the college policies concerning plagiarism and cheating, specifically the following:

Each time a faculty member documents an incident of academic dishonesty, he/she will submit to the Office of Academic Affairs the following information (in hard copy to protect student confidentiality): student name, class, date, description of incident and action by faculty and/or student, faculty signature. The faculty member will retain the documentation.

The Office of Academic Affairs will keep a file of these submissions. When a student has been identified as committing an act of academic dishonesty twice, the VPAA and VPSS will conduct an investigation, which may include a formal hearing, and will recommend or impose appropriate discipline.

  • Tell students about the consequences others have faced because of plagiarism: the case of plagiarism at the University of Virginia is a good example.
  • Become familiar with the writing styles of your students and be alert for deviations from their styles.
  • Be involved with your students as they go through the process of writing a paper.
  • Tell students that you know how easy it is to plagiarize from the Internet.
  • Be familiar with the essays in your discipline that are available on the Web. 
  • Avoid open-ended writing assignments: the more specific the assignment, the more difficult it will be for students to plagiarize.
  • Inform students of college services designed to help them write their papers.
  • If you assign research papers, let students know what you expect in terms of the citation and documentation of research sources.
  • Keep copies of student essays, and let students know that you do this.

(Click Resources to continue.)

This page was last updated on 06 June 2013
Copyright Randy Rambo