How to Prevent Plagiarism and Other Acts of Academic Dishonesty

Academic Integrity: How to Prevent Plagiarism and Other Acts of Academic Dishonesty
in Your English 101 Classroom
Include in your course policies AND your syllabus a statement on your
expectations for your students regarding academic integrity and directions to the
University of Maryland’s guidelines on academic integrity. Suggest requiring your
students to get there via the “How do I…?” link on the library’s home page: Under “cite research & create a bibliography,” students will find a
section titled “Academic Integrity and Plagiarism.” Students can also get there
directly by clicking on the following link:
Include links to the following websites on your ELMS site, and include them as
required reading on a day that you discuss Academic Integrity. (These are the
“Readings on Academic Integrity” specified as being on Blackboard on the sample
Student Honor Council Page on Academic Dishonesty:
Library Page on Plagiarism
Information about the Honor Pledge:
Try to tailor each assignment to your own specific course. You could do this by
building the course around current news stories, an academic interest of yours, or a
theme. For example, I used to require that my students write an encomium that Julie
Dash’s 32-minute film Illusions deserves praise. Dash’s film is only available in a few
select academic or research institutions, and there are very few articles about the film
online. I used to tell my students that “I have read all eight.”
Vary your course. As each of you becomes an experienced instructor of English
101, you will discover certain assignments that work really well. The temptation is to
rely on exactly the same core texts and exactly the same set of directions. Either
change the core texts or include a specific but slight, mandatory change in the format
or the directions. This will make it more difficult for a student to submit a paper
that he or she wrote for a previous course (including English 101) or to submit a
paper that a classmate had completed while taking English 101.
5) On the first or second day of class, have your students fill out the Information Sheet
and/or the Writing Autobiography as a means of finding out whether your students
have taken English 101 or a comparable course at UMD or elsewhere before
enrolling in your course. As a follow-up question, ask those students what they
wrote on before; then require all of your students to choose brand new topics.
Refer back to the in-class diagnostic essays that you had your students fill out on
the first day of class. If there is unbelievable disparity between the writing style of
the diagnostic and that of the submission, look for more concrete evidence of
academic dishonesty. You could begin by google-ing a sentence or a portion of a
sentence that strikes you as remarkably sophisticated. If there are technical words or
vocabulary that you are not familiar with, look for a source. If you are still
suspicious but cannot find evidence, ask an experienced instructor, a coordinator, or
Professor Enoch.
If you are reviewing a rough draft, engage the student to provide a thoroughly
nuanced definition of a complex term. If he or she has difficulty, ask the student if
there was a source; ask to see the source; and let the student know that it is
dangerous to use a source if he or she does not understand the full meaning. Add
that he or she must credit the source regardless of whether he or she is directly
quoting it or paraphrasing it. Point out that this act of “giving credit” must include
both a parenthetical citation (invoking the author’s last name or a shortened version
of the title and the page number) and a works cited listing that follows the
Spend multiple class days on the differences between quoting and paraphrasing.
Emphasize that both acts require correct MLA citation (or whatever style-guide their
field requires or their instructor requests).
Tell your students they will be held responsible for accurately listing the pagination
of each quote or paraphrase and citing each reference appropriately. Let them know
that the same expectations will exist in every class that they take at the University of
Maryland, regardless of whether their instructor specifically requests a bibliography,
footnotes, and/or parenthetical citation.
Point out the dangers of parroting the textbook definition. Point out that all
sources, even students’ textbooks--such as Engagements With Rhetoric: A Path to
Academic Writing--must be cited and referenced in works cited listings if quoted or
Invite another instructor of English 101 or an academic official from the Office of
Student Conduct to address your class on the subject of academic integrity. Invite
your students to ask the guest lecturer questions. Lastly, invite your students to
follow up on any questions they may still have in class or during individual office
Finally, witness every step of each student’s composition process. Require that a
copy of the student’s rough draft be submitted to you on each day that a rough draft
workshop is held. If you return the rough drafts to the students, require them to
resubmit the commented-upon versions with their final submissions.