A Teacher Discusses How To Use Turnitin

Check out this great article on how a teacher uses turnitin to facilitate improved student writing. The article does a great job taking the reader through how to use turnitin. Turnitin is of course a writing tool not a solve all plagiarism checker.

*While I have been named a Turnitin Global Innovator Honorable Mention for my work in class and this site, I have no obligations financial or otherwise to speak highly of turnitin. I just find it’s a great tool as a teacher!

Harvard University Guide to Using Sources

Harvard has had its fair share of plagiarism cases (see Harvard Student Commits Plagiarism Loses Book Deal). In the last few years, the Harvard College Writing Program has focused on decreasing student plagiarism through student education. The Harvard Guide to Using Sources is the fruit of that effort. It is a one-stop website for tips on avoiding plagiarism, proper citation methods, using and evaluating sources, and many other helpful tips to use to avoid plagiarism.

Along with this great resource, they have developed two online quizzes that help students consider plagiarism scenarios. Quiz 1, Using Sources, Five Scenarios, helps students “work through examples based, in part, on real academic honesty cases. Upon [completion] of the tutorial, [the student] will be acquainted with the most common misunderstandings about academic integrity, and will know more about how to integrate sources responsibly into your writing” (Guide Website). Quiz 2, Using Sources, Five Examples, is “based on passages from real student essays, and illustrates problems with summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting sources. By taking the tutorial, [the student] will gain a deeper understanding of the most common forms of plagiarism and a solid sense of how to use sources effectively” (Guide Website).

At the beginning of each quiz, the student can enter an email address and have the results sent to that address. So, a teacher can request students email their results directly or require a screen shot of their results to ensure student completion.

This resources is a great resource for teachers who wish to introduce plagiarism issues to their students and then check understanding through the online quizzes.

Plagiarism Awareness: Step One Exposing Students to the Issue

The first step in creating an environment that discourages plagiarism is educating students about plagiarism itself. To do this, I begin with a simple project. Create an awareness project to share with other students about why plagiarism is so bad. Of course, you could stand in front of the class and lecture your students about the evils of plagiarism and the horrors that await them if they are caught, but, in my experience, that does no one any good. Instead, get them to look at the issue themselves before going forward.

Below are two examples of initial projects students complete for me this past year. First, students created posters to hang in all the common computer labs. Second, a group of my juniors and seniors made a brief educational video to place on our website.  Both of these projects helped both the students making them and the larger school community begin thinking about plagiarism. They projects provide a starting point as I focus on my larger goal of plagiarism education.


Plagiarism is a Crime Poster                                                                                                Types of Plagiarism Poster

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Introduction to Plagiarism Video