Posts Tagged ‘plagiarism’

Plagiarism Workshop: How do they work?

In assessment of learning, cheating, integrity, Plagiarism on August 16, 2014 at 3:29 pm

I have posted about the issue of plagiarism and copyright law. Plagiarism’s impact in education is to reduce student writing to editing instead of writing. Many times, students are unclear on the definition of plagiarism and that’s why it occurs.

On August 18, 2014, at the Technology Innovations and Pedagogy conference at Fresno State, I will presenter a poster about the workshops; workshops that a colleague and I have offered since 2006. They have an impact, at least as reported by the students and by our pre and post-tests.

Here’s a PDF of the poster I’ll present at the conference: Assessing the Plagiarism Workshop.


Plagiarism workshop recording (for a fee)

In integrity on February 14, 2014 at 9:10 am

Plagiarism workshop recording (for a fee)

This is the Plagiarism workshop Judith Scott and I did for people in school districts. It is a commercial product, but it gives valuable information.

It’s all about improving student writing!

Have Money, Will Cheat

In cheating, integrity on March 16, 2012 at 8:17 am

Cheating! What is it good for?!

Apparently everything, that is if you’re a member of a fraternity or sorority, an international student, from an educated family or do not require needs-based financial aid. This is according to the summary of a study presented at a conference of student affairs professionals. It is frustrating to look at the statistics on cheating. According to the cited survey of faculty and students at an Arizona University, 60% of students admit they’d cheated on homework, 19% admitted cheating on an exam and 30% admitted cheating on both.

At California State University, Fresno, one of the primary types of cheating is plagiarism. I’ve discussed that issue in this post (and others).  Plagiarism has serious consequences-students do not so their own work and thus faculty cannot evaluate the work. Plagiarism is undoubtedly part of the reason students fail to leave the University as educated citizens. If the students are not doing the work (and this post summarizes some of students’ study habits as reported by the students), then it’s no surprise they graduate unprepared.

Arizona University’s findings are consistent with the findings we’ve made at our University. At Fresno State a colleague, Judith Scott, and I, have offered workshops to inform students about the definition of plagiarism and how to avoid it. We’ve done that for Crowd-paradenearly seven years. The workshops have been very popular with students and faculty.  Each year, approximately  2000 students attend the workshops and faculty from every school and a variety of departments require that students attend. We offer an online version and are studying the impact of that version, but many faculty and students prefer the 50-minute  face-to-face version of the workshop.With funding cuts, however, it may be that the workshops will no longer be offered.

As a society, the educational institutions in this country have failed to teach students that integrity matters and that getting an education is more than just checking a box and receiving a diploma. In this post, I discuss the NFL’s latest cheating scandal and recommend relatively harsh penalties. Sports are a multi-billion dollar business; the ethical standards should be higher so that fans, like me, can enjoy watching fair competition.

Lecturers are People….and….Faculty, Too

In faculty responsibilities, integrity, teaching on February 25, 2012 at 11:08 am

One of the great inequities at the University where I teach is the failure of our administration to formally acknowledge the hard work done by our lecturers (a/k/a adjunct faculty). These are the faculty who teach many of our General Education (GE) courses. They teach up to 5 courses per lifting_weightwithsticksemester and earn  less than tenured/tenure-track faculty. They are usually the first faculty our first time students meet. They often have other full-time jobs to supplement the income they receive from teaching. Yet they are the unsung workers who help trigger and encourage student learning.

Apparently, our University is not alone in its unfair treatment of adjunct faculty. In the Chronicle of Higher Education, writer Michael Stratford, in a piece titled: Accidental Activist Collects Data on Adjuncts,  discusses the research and conclusions of  Joshua A. Boldt, an adjunct faculty member at the University of Georgia. Boldt’s conclusions (based on information you can view from this publicly editable spreadsheet): many adjuncts are treated poorly: lower pay, higher teaching loads and general disrespect from tenured/tenure track faculty and administration. So our University is not alone in failing to acknowledge lecturers’ contributions.

There is one way to acknowledge the work done by lecturers: visible awards.

Why Not an Award for Lecturers (Adjunct Faculty)?

My institution is a unionized campus. During most years, union contracts, negotiated between the teachers’ union and central administration, define our responsibilities and compensation. (Right now, teachers are working without a contract. Apparently two sets of teachereducated minds cannot agree on what is the best pay/performance contract in tight budget times.)

Part of the Issue: Our Institution Has No Money, So No Rewards

Not all rewards need to be  paychecks. The Provost award, given annually, is a prestigious award for faculty. The Provost actually has created and gives several types of awards. These awards are for outstanding teaching, research, service, assessment (new this year), and promising new (tenured/tenure track) faculty. The glaring omission in the list of Provost’s awards is an award for adjunct faculty (we call them lecturers).

Why Don’t Lecturers Just Apply for Awards?

You may say the list’s omission of lecturers is an oversight. After all, at our institution, as of 2011, 55% of the teaching faculty were lecturers. Note that at some institutions, more than 70% of the courses are taught by part-time or adjunct faculty.  So you might think the 55% would be eligible for any one of the Provost’s awards.

You’d be wrong. They are not. They were neither welcomed nor permitted to apply.

How do You Know Lecturers are Not Eligible for Awards?

A colleague and I tested that once, approximately 4 years ago. We applied for a Provost award for service. She and I (a tenured full professor) had built and delivered plagiarism workshops to assist students (and faculty) on campus. We’d delivered the workshops to more than 2,000 students at that point. So, we applied for the award. We didn’t get it, even though we had support for other faculty. But that’s the nature of award applications–applicants are competing with other worthy applicants. Or at least that’s what we thought.

So what was unusual? Well, to apply for the award,  I had to draw in a check-box that said person writing“lecturer” for my colleague because there was no option on the form to check that status. That should have been our first clue that lecturers were excluded from consideration. That clue was confirmed when we learned from an inside source that the reason we weren’t eligible was not merit, but instead concern that “faculty” might be upset if a lecturer won an award [even apparently as a co-recipient with a tenured full professor].

To add insult to injury, the next year, the award form was amended to specifically exclude lecturers from consideration for any awards.

I understand some of the issues. Most tenure track and tenured faculty have advanced degrees beyond a masters’ degree and thus have a more in depth knowledge of an aspect of their disciplines. Arguably, those same faculty members have demonstrated a greater commitment to education. Tenured and tenure-track faculty are willing to disseminate  information through research presentations and publications and thus further knowledge in the discipline. These faculty also have additional commitments to service to the University, discipline and community.

But does that cancel out contributions by lecturers? Does this difference require that lecturers’ contributions be ignored? As director of our faculty development center,I have met lecturers (and other faculty) who care about learning and teaching. Lecturers are welcome to and do attend workshops, training on our learning management system and lead faculty learning communities. But that’s not acknowledged as an award by administration.

Let’s Create a Lecturers’ Award

Acknowledging good teaching is not a zero sum game, however, especially if the acknowledgement is through an award from the Provost. A simple solution on our campus Woman receiving awardwould be to create an award specifically for lecturers–call it the Outstanding Lecturers’ Award. Ask Deans or other colleagues to nominate (and allow self nomination as with the other awards). Show appreciation to the 55% of faculty who teach-and who teach the GE courses that students take when they first enter the University.

Lecturers (adjuncts), not corporations, are truly people…and faculty, too.

Finding Plagiarists Everywhere

In integrity on November 12, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Plagiarism starts at the top, e.g. Bush’s book on the Presidency

If public figures plagiarize and there are few (no) repercussions then encouraging students to write instead of plagiarize becomes increasingly difficult.

Academic Integrity

In integrity, teaching with technology on August 1, 2010 at 5:59 pm

I’m attending an online class taught through Sloan-C on Academic Integrity in online classes.

I’m learning a great deal, and thought I’d pass on a couple of items.

One is that even those using online discussion boards should take care to change assignments every semester. According to Melissa Ott, who wrote this article:Seven Strategies for Plagiarism-proofing Discussion Threads in Online Courses, there are websites where students can purchase answers to discussion board questions, e.g. . The site calls them tutorials, but students can get answers there.

A second, which I knew already, was to be sure to either use huge test banks or value objective questions as a relatively small percentage of a student’s overall grade in an online course.

A third is to introduce academic integrity into an online course through a letter to students. I think I’ll do that for face to face and online courses.

Academic Integrity

In integrity on July 30, 2010 at 12:56 am

I’m currently participating in a Sloan-C conference on promoting academic integrity.

I have conducted some research on the area, but I am already learning more about academic integrity and how to reduce plagiarism in classes.