This was all very interesting because last week in my ENGL 1106 class, I went over the Honor Code and plagiarism with my students. I began by asking why students choose to plagiarize, and the answers that popped up matched the ones that the Turnitin.com video suggested, except I didn’t consider undermotivation as a category (Yeo). I mean, in other words, laziness might be considered lack of motivation, but this reminds me that though its ultimately up to the students to resist the temptation to cheat or not to cheat, I also have a responsibility to them to do as much as I can do to motivate them to develop the skills they need to complete an assignment.
The last slide of that video offered suggestions for teachers to apply to their course calendars. Many of these suggestions were based off of process pedagogy, of which I am a big fan. When teachers focus on the process vs. the product of an assignment, I believe it makes the assignment in general much more beneficial and less overwhelming. Building in draft days or assigning things like annotated bibliographies not only serve to help the students get started on the project earlier, leaving less room for procrastination and the stress that goes along with that, but also serve as a blockade for academic dishonesty. Students will most likely have to do this work themselves as opposed to finding drafts or anno bibs online. I appreciated seeing this idea reinforced.
Within that class last week, we also examined articles from popular newspapers that shared stories of successful people being accused of plagiarism. We got to see what consequences went along with the decision of engaging in academic dishonesty. I think the interactive movie did a good job of displaying consequences as well, making it more personal. For example, in one of the scenarios, if Kim chose to report her labmate for academic dishonesty, her labmates ostracized her and she became the recipient of retaliation (The Lab). This retaliation became so bad that she ended up transferring to another lab that had a different focus, a move that set her back a year in completing her PhD. So her decision to report dishonesty ultimately ended up hurting her—the cost of integrity. Her labmate’s decision to fudge his numbers affected more than just him; it affected Kim significantly. Our actions affect other people whether whether or not we intend for them to do so. I think this is an important thing to keep in mind in academia, especially as graduate students.
Yeo, Ikram. “Turnitin Webcast—Why Students Plagiarize.” YouTube, 31 January 2013, link
The Office of Research Integrity. The Lab: Avoiding Research Misconduct. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, accessed 14 Feb 2017.