Teacher-Librarians and Plagiarism

Hey Teachers,

Stopping plagiarism and creating a plagiarism temptation free school is a collaborative effort. One school position that can have a powerful affect upon your school’s work to decrease student plagiarism is the teacher-librarian. Check out this article by teacher-librarian Allen Chase of the International School of Shenzhen Nanshan  for some great ways librarians can lead the charge: 2017-UF-summer-5-10-38.


A Review of Anti-Plagiarism Practices

It’s the start of another school year, and the fourth year of stopplagiarism.org! My classes are up and going as I am sure many of yours are. At the start of the year, when things are getting crazy, it is easy to overlook the importance of establishing anti-plagiarism classrooms where academic integrity is a foundational principle. Take the time to do so! It will benefit you in the long run. Here’s a great website with a quick summary of some great practices you can implement in your classrooms:

My favorite tips (some of which I have seen for the first time) are these: Education World: Put an End to Plagiarism in Your Classrooms

  • Don’t simply assign a paper and wait for the final version. Set deadlines for research notes and bibliographies, for outlines, and for rough drafts. Check the work in progress
  • Explain to students that you will check any questionable sources or uncited material. Tell them to keep their notes and printed Web pages until they’ve received their final grades.
  • Require that students submit a signed “letter of transmittal” with their reports. In the letter, have them reflect on the research and writing process and explain what they learned.
  • Avoid assigning general topics for research papers. Papers geared toward narrow topics specific to your own curriculum are less likely to be available online. Make your assigned topics as interesting as possible, so students will be more likely to want to do the work themselves.

Check out the other tips on the website, and, good luck this year in establishing plagiarism-free classes!



More Plagiarism Education Games!!!!


Check out these great sites for anti-plagiarism games:

They include information on citation, information literacy, avoiding plagiarism, and much more. A good, fun way to educate your students or review plagiarism and how to avoid it.
****Special thanks to teacher-librarian at the International School of Nanshan Shenzhen, Allen Chase, for sending them my way.

Paraphrasing Tools: A New Problem


“This is why dreams of finding the perfect plagiarism detection system are doomed to failure. The ‘other side,” if you will, will come up with better disguises. We have to find other ways of teaching and enforcing good academic practice” (Debora Weber-Wulff, quoted in retractionwatch.com).

A new internet based tool has become the norm for students scrambling to complete their essays–Paraphrasing generators.  Here’s an example of one.

This article (Evading Plagiarism Detection Software) by retractionwatch.com discusses this new problem.

The article discuses the rising issue with various experts offering their opinions including what to do in response. The best advice for teachers is to LOOKOUT FOR STRANGE OR ODD WRITING WHERE THE SENTENCES DON’T MAKE SENSE.

This is excellent advice. Remember, there is no perfect plagiarism detection software out there. Students can get around it. You can’t just submit a paper to a plagiarism detection tool. You must read the paper and use your common sense.

In the article, university professor Ann Rogerson, tells teachers to “openly discuss their existence in class demonstrating how poor the tools actually are along with my encouraging student questions about originality, citations and acknowledgements when preparing for assignments.  Confronting the issue is important therefore I work with students on how to learn and develop paraphrasing skills without using an online tool.  Just because some online tools can easily and correctly convert temperature, distance and currency does not mean that Internet based text tools can be relied upon the same way.  The only way of bringing it to light is to talk and write about it.”

In the final part of the article, Rogerson describes her steps to detect whether or not a paraphrasing tool has been used by a student. Extremely valuable.

Teachers everywhere must make themselves aware.


Plagiarism, Yes or No?


One of the best ways to help students understand plagiarism is to put the question to them. This week, there were two interesting plagiarism accusations. The first was made against a photo entered into the Sony World Photo Awards. The second was made against  the heavy metal band Metallica for their recent song “Moth Into Flame.” Check out the cases and have your students consider whether or not the plagiarism accusation was warranted. I think you will have a really great discussion.

Unplag Shout Out!


This past month, I got an email from Anastasia at Unplag.com. Her company has a free plagiarism checker that I used this month. It works really well. This is Anastasia’s email which describes her company and its purpose. Check out unplag for a great free tool.

     “Here, at Unplag, we strive to develop students’ creative thinking. That is why we regularly create interesting materials and resources on plagiarism topic both for teachers and students.
     Recently we launched a free plagiarism checker for academic writers: https://unplag.com/free-plagiarism-checker. It can find plagiarism in texts written in English, German, Spanish, French and a few other languages.
    Besides, we take our knowledge into a plagiarism guide – an instructive guidebook that has inside essentials of literacy on plagiarism topic. It can be found here: https://unplag.com/materials/free-plagiarism-guide/book.pdf.
     [This] is not a comprehensive list of things we create, we also like to run different activities to make students aware of plagiarism threats and simplify the teachers’ job . . .
we want to build a good relationship with educators and bloggers who share our values on plagiarism topic.”
Thanks, Anastasia!

Creative Commons and Google Advanced Image Search: Finding Reusable Media

This week, my students began working on a larger film project. They wanted to bring in images, video, and music from outside sources. I told them that they cold do that, but they would need to get permission or find open sources. Very few knew how to do this. If you face, this problem. Here’s a couple of sources.

  1. Creative Commons (https://search.creativecommons.org): CC is a great site that allows a searches on a number of search engines including (among others) Youtube (video), Flickr (images), Google Images, Wikipedia Commons, and many more. You can find images, video, and music which can be reused and even modified.
  2. Advanced Search Option on Google: On google.com, go to the settings tab (in the bottom right corner of the screen). Click on the advanced search option. This option allows you to find material on google that can be reused responsibly.

A huge majority of student plagiarism cases deal with images (and they don’t even know it’s plagiarism). Check out several posts on this site dealing with this issue. To avoid these cases, use these websites to help students find sources they can use and not violate copyrights.