How to Design Plagiarism-Proof Assignments

Faculty of Applied Health Sciences




How to Design Plagiarism-Proof Assignments

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Make Expectations Clear

  • Establish your expectation with regard to academic integrity. Create an environment of scholarship that values ethical research and teaching and state that academic misconduct will not be tolerated in your course.
  • Include a clear statement of academic integrity in your course syllabus with reference to types of misconduct and ranges of penalties. If you plan to use Turnitin.com or another software detection system, note this requirement in your syllabus. You may also wish to include a statement identifying that students may be asked to produce academic sources and/or orally defend their essays and assignments
  • Teach the skills of appropriate citation, and consider showing students examples of inappropriate citation. You may wish to demonstrate the use of Turnitin.com as an example and instruct students through the process so they know how this software detection system will be used.
  • Consider identifying generic examples of former cases of academic misconduct in your course.

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Design Plagiarism Proof Assignments

  • Ensure essay topics, research assignment, tests and exams are updated and changed each academic term.
  • Consider requiring a ‘template’ or short outline of the essay or assignment prior to submission of the final version that requires students to demonstrate correct referencing and/or citation and the skills of paraphrasing and critical analysis.
  • Essay topics and research assignments should be specific to your course, not generic topics that may be easily purchased from illegal sources. Try to ‘fine tune’ assignments that require the integration theory and experience that is unique to the course.
  • Essay topics and assignments that require analysis rather than description are less prone to plagiarism.
  • Require students write on assigned topics. Do not allow last minute changes to topics.
  • Citation expectations must be clear and consistent within the parameters of accepted style manuals. Provide websites or identify hard copy locations of style guides that are required for the course.
  • Consider restricting the range of sources that you allow, or, ask for justification of the use of such sources.
  • Teach the skills of paraphrasing, summarizing, and critical analysis.
  • Consider avoiding excessively punitive late penalties on assignments. ‘High stakes’ assignments are more prone to plagiarism than ‘low stakes’ assignments.
  • Monitor, detect and respond to incidents of plagiarism
  • In the event you detect plagiarism or cheating, consult with the Chair of your Department as soon as possible with documentation and/or evidence. The Chair will initiate the appropriate investigation protocol.
     
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