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Published May 5, 2013 | Multidisciplinary

Digital Plagiarism - Still a Hot Topic

In recent years, colleges have implemented solutions to prevent and detect digital plagiarism, and the college system offers a variety of resources to allow both teachers and students to deal with it. Yet, digital plagiarism hasn't gone away. As a result, this issue will be up for discussion at the next meeting of the IT Reps.

In 2007, I wrote in a Profweb report called Plagiarism and Other Types of Electronic Cheating. The publication of this article permitted me to visit several cegeps and colleges to make presentations about this phenomenon, which has rapidly increased in importance. These presentations were an opportunity to meet many teachers who shared their concerns with me, but also who proposed solutions to prevent and detect plagiarism. Meanwhile, colleges and teachers have set up measures to prevent and detect plagiarism. Here are a few examples:

  • Continuing education for teachers about what plagiarism is, how to detect it and how to prevent it.
  • Web sites targeting students. For instance:
    • The John Abbott College Library Site contains resources on how to cite a work.
    • Revision of Institutional Student Evaluation Policies dealing with sanctions related to plagiarism, establishing monitoring procedures.
    • Subscriptions to plagiarism detector software. In a recent compilation created as the result of an appeal to all the ITReps, teachers in colleges where plagiarism detection software has been installed expressed great satisfaction. Notwithstanding this, there is no data that exposes the real impact of this type of software on the rate of student plagiarism.
    • Revision of assessment methodology used by teachers. Instead of the traditional written reports, some teachers are now assigning concept maps or using digital portfolios.
  • Profweb offers a story in French of using the citation information on the Collège Édouard-Montpetit site Infosphère in the classroom by a teacher at the school.
  • The Cégep Régional de Lanaudière à L’Assomption has a website focusing on intellectual property.
  • At Collège François-Xavier-Garneau, there are Video capsules and other documents about plagiarism.

Plagiarism prevention involves training students in the citation of sources and respect of copyright: many of them plagiarize simply through "ignorance." The ICT Profile for College Students has a skill (search for information) that includes learning objectives associated with these activities.

The new site provides a set of resources for students (tutorials) and teachers (lesson plans) on how to cite sources in a work as well as on writing a bibliography. Nicole Haché, library coordinator at Champlain St. Lambert, will be adapting the DIAPASON project to Anglophone colleges. I also invite you to read the column by Philippe Lavigueur recently published in Profweb in French for more information.

At its meeting on June 12 and 13, the IT Representatives' Network will hold a roundtable to review plagiarism in cegeps and colleges. We invite you to participate indirectly in the roundtable by suggesting questions related to plagiarism in our comments feature below that we could discuss.

If electronic plagiarism is a topic that piques your interest, let us know your concerns, questions, and your comments! An account of the round table to be held by members of the IT Representatives’ Network will be distributed in colleges afterwards.

I'm looking forward to reading your suggestions in order to enrich the discussion of this issue!

About the Author

Nicole Perreault She began her college career as a Psychology Teacher and Education Advisor at Collège André-Grasset. She was then the Director of APOP and the CLIC newsletter before becoming an Education Advisor at Cégep Édouard-Montpetit. Since 2005, she is pleased to be the Community Manager for the Réseau des REPTIC (IT Representatives Network) which brings together ICT Education Advisors from across the college network. She has written numerous articles and given many workshops on the pedagogical use of technology. Their integration within the context of student success is a subject that she finds particularly interesting.

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