Systemic problems have systemic solutions: plagiarism edition

Last semester I had an inordinate number of instances of plagiarism. The majority of them came on papers that were almost wholly personal reflection, so I was really troubled by what had led to this occurrence. There’s no doubt that high schools (probably due to systemic problems like underfunding) are not teaching good writing practices like we all wish they should. However, there’s not much I can do to fix high schools. What I can do is setup my own students for success.

My strategy this semester was to put a couple of one page papers towards the beginning of the course, and I told the students that they must cite at least one source in their paper. So far, I’ve only had once instance where a student used a quote without attribution. But even then, I’m able to help them fix the paper which hopefully will prevent this from happening at the end of the semester on the final paper.

I’ll report back after final papers come in, but this strategy seems to be working so far.

2 thoughts on “Systemic problems have systemic solutions: plagiarism edition

  1. Please–do some editing on your first paragraph or is it now acceptable to write :”like we all wish…” instead of “as we all wish…” , and is “setup” now a verb as well as a noun? I’d have thought that the verb would be “set up.”
    Lila Wagner
    Widow of the Pernickety Pedant of the Prairies

  2. 😂 I was going to return the favor and point out you missed an ‘s’ in Persnickety, but apparently you’ve used the British variant? With apologies, I’ll let my errors and your correction stand as a public shame to keep me honest.

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