Friday, January 06, 2006

Plagiarism Workshop for DCCC

Cheating is Easy, but let us look and see how it can be made both harder to do, and not worth doing, all in the context of helping students use the Internet and WWW better for the writing and learning they need to do.

Turn Papermills to Your Advantage
Since these sites exist, let students know that you know about them. Use them in your teaching.
How Student Papers Sometimes Get Written site's a hoot, and it's funny. And it's also a useful teaching tool, worth showing in class if you can do it, or sending students to look at and write about it for a class discussion on doing one's own
work. to "Adventures in Cheating," by Seth Stevenson, a piece that samples term paper mills, and finds --no surprise-- that you get what you pay for (and even that ain't much). I wrote a response to this piece, which again, I find useful for teaching, that began, "Essentially, the free papers stink, and they're recycled. That is, free papermill sites often carry copies of the same papers." Rest of the note is here:

Teach Students How to Make a Bibliography
The Bedford Bibliographer at
(Available January 11).

Remember That Writing is Social

Teaching Source Evaluation and Research Skills

Before the Internet and World Wide Web information explosion, most teachers did not spend time teaching students to evaluate sources. Research projects sent students to the library, where it was assumed that sources would be valid. So an essential skill was never taught. But now it needs to be taught.

Fortunately, there are several good WWW sites to help teach those skills. All these sites apply criteria drawn from the types of questions librarians ask when deciding whether a book or other print source will be a good resource to have in the library.

The Bedford Research Room: by Mike Palmquist offers tips and advice on evaluating sources, an avoiding plagiarism tutorial and more.
Evaluating Web Resources : by Janet Alexander and Marcia Tate. This site organizes questions to ask about sites by site type -- informational, advertising, and so on.

Evaluating a Site: interactive forms students can complete and then print out and bring in as part of their homework.

Yahooligans' Teaching Internet Literacy: offers both a tutorial for teachers and activities for students.

Teaching Research, Teaching Writing, Teaching Academic Honesty
Naturally, these are all intertwined, especially now, with the Internet and WWW providing a place where teaching, writing, and research all actually converge. But how to talk about it and work it all into the classroom? My own inclination is to work make the issue discussable. Here's how I do that:

Or, try what Mike Edwards at UMass tried:

Let's Plagiarize

And Plagiarize We Did

Reliable Sources
These are examples of reliable WWW sites -- good starting places for students and instructors to use. The main difference between starting here and finding something on Google? -- human editors made careful choices.

  • Research and Documentation Online at offers a comprehensive collection of research resources, including an overview of research starting places organized by subject matter and sorted by source type: book, WWW sites, and databases.

  • The Internet Public Library at provides an excellent, librarian and library science student collection of resources chosen with the same care and attention librarians bring to the sources they put on their shelves.

  • Links Library at collects "several databases of annotated links for a variety of disciplines. These links lead to resources that Bedford/St. Martin's authors and editors and readers have found to be useful in their own teaching and research. "