Plagiarism School

In an effort to try to make a difficult situation involving student behavior into a valuable educational experience, Kent State University developed "Plagiarism School." When an instructor determines that an act of plagiarism was more the result of poor preparation for college or inadequate writing skills and less the result of out-right academic dishonesty, he or she can ask a student accused of plagiarism to attend Plagiarism School. Plagiarism School is a one-on-one session lasting about 45 minutes (a fuller description is included below). While serving as a means to reeducate and rehabilitate students who plagiarize, students can also mitigate the sanction applied by the instructor. For example, instead of failing the assignment the student may be offered the opportunity to resubmit the corrected assignment (perhaps for a reduced grade) in return for completing Plagiarism School. In addition to diminishing the negative results of being accused of plagiarism, attending plagiarism school leaves students feeling that they are better equipped to understand and avoid plagiarism in the future, turning a potentially devastating situation into a more positive one.

How it Works ...

Before initiating Plagiarism School, an agreement is made between the instructor and student regarding the purpose of Plagiarism School. A Plagiarism School form was created that lists the original sanction applied by the instructor along with a proposed alternative. Once the instructor and student sign the form and agree to an anticipated date by which all elements of Plagiarism School are completed, the student contacts his or her campus library to schedule a time for the one-on-one session. At that session the following activities will occur:

  1. A discussion of the assignment that caused the instructor to accuse the student of plagiarizing. This will help assure that the student fully understands what he or she did and why the instructor considers the assignment as including elements of plagiarism.
  2. A review of the university's policy on Plagiarism and Cheating. Is it important that the student understand how Kent State defines plagiarism as well as the process involved when a student is accused of plagiarizing.
  3. Analysis of plagiarism case studies. To help the student better understand various ways plagiarism occurs, specific case studies (relevant to the way the student plagiarized on their assignment) are read and discussed.
  4. A sample, plagiarized paper is provided for review by the student. The student is given homework in the form of a paper designed to illustrate elements of plagiarism. The student is asked to read and mark the paper as if he or she were an instructor looking for plagiarism-related aspects. The student is asked to return the paper by the anticipated completion date on the Plagiarism School form.

Once the student completes all of the above activities, a copy of the Plagiarism School form is returned to the instructor and the student is able to complete the original assignment as agreed to by both parties.

Outcome ...

Once the student completes all of the above activities, a copy of the Plagiarism School form is returned to the instructor and the student is able to complete the original assignment as agreed by both parties. Instructors should still follow the specific procedure outlined in the cheating and plagiarism policy, including reporting the incident using the Cheating/Plagiarism Sanction Form.

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