What can I do about plagiarism by international students?
February 19, 2012 8:35 PM Subscribe
What can I do to decrease plagiarism? Snowflakey details inside.
posted by anonymous to education (50 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I teach in a professional but research-y American social science MA program at a big name university. Every semester, I have huge plagiarism issues from international students. What can I do to help them and myself?
Relevant, because at first I was willing to cut them a little slack because of cultural/language barriers:
- all students in the program get 3+ hours of academic integrity training.
- all international students students get additional training in academic integrity.
- students from this country, with a reputation for academic integrity issues, get additional training from the university.
- The admin assistant, my chair, and the dean assure me that these students are taught exactly what plagiarism is and is not.
- International students are a huge money maker for the university and I believe that it is possible that the U does not want to rock the boat on this problem. (But that's my opinion...)
So, last semester I had 4 papers (all from students from 1 country) 3 of which were over 60% copy and pasted from 1 or 2 empirical studies. It was clear upon first reading them that it wasn't original work (it was of the quality of an advanced PhD student at worst). I ran them through turnitin.com and they were all majority plagiarized. (I ran the rest of the class and it was under 8% - just random phrasing that showed up in other papers, mostly.)
The admin assistant told me to submit it to the proper administrative channel (and explicitly said that professors are NOT TO TAKE MATTERS INTO THEIR OWN HANDS) so I submitted them to the administration. All the processes went through and all the students were found guilty of plagiarism but were not punished because "the assignment guidelines left room for interpretation." (And I swear to you, they did not.)
It took months for these cases to go through, cost me tons of my own time, made for a somewhat uncomfortable seminar, etc. etc.
In the meantime, the students have threatened "my reputation" because I gave them 0 points on that paper (hey, they were found guilty of plagiarism) and blah blah blah. How annoying.
So here we are, another semester and more international student plagiarism, again in the 50%+ on turnitin.com.
WTF am I to do about this?
Things I have tried:
- Being much more explicit on the syllabus about academic integrity.
- Having my assignment rubrics/guidelines being even more explicit (this is a grad class, ffs).
- Allowing students to submit drafts first - where I question them about meaning of advance concepts (that was plagiarized).
An idea that I just had:
- Say to class: "Hey everyone. I noticed that in some of your first drafts, it didn't seem like your papers were completely original ideas. Maybe you might want to run your paper through a plagiarism checker before handing in final draft?"
I am not going to be at the university for much longer and although this plagiarism really pisses me off, I don't want to have to deal with all the bullshit of filing plagiarism charges against these students.
What to do?