Tips for Faculty for Preventing, Detecting and Reporting Plagiarism in Student Assignments

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the “submission or inclusion of someone else’s words, drawings, ideas, or data (including that from a website) as one’s own work without giving credit to the source” (see 2016-2017 Academic Catalog: Academic Honesty Policy).

One common example of plagiarism in student papers is copying and pasting text from the Internet sources or full-text journal articles without proper attribution. In some cases, plagiarism is not intentional and occurs because students are not familiar with the proper citation guidelines or come from the environments where such practice is acceptable (e.g. due to differences in cultural norms). However, various types of intentional academic dishonesty and misconduct are also common and may require disciplinary action.

Ways to prevent unintentional plagiarism at Wentworth

Set clear expectations for proper writing etiquette, citation guidelines and academic honesty. Provide information regarding training, resources and support available to students at Wentworth. This can be done in multiple areas, such as in the course syllabus or in Blackboard. Resources to provide may include links to or contact information for:

Center for Academic Excellence

Douglass D. Schumann Library & Learning Commons

Atomic Learning training options (selected)

Note: Atomic Learning training can be embedded in Bb courses. Contact LIT for more information.

Unintentional plagiarism self-check

Ways to Detect and Report Intentional Plagiarism

Using Turnitin and SafeAssign in Blackboard

Academic honesty can be enforced by collecting writing assignments via Blackboard and enabling anti-plagiarism tools (Turnitin or SafeAssign). Both tools check for text similarities against sources (such as websites, journal articles and previously submitted student papers) in multiple continuously updated databases. Both tools are integrated with Blackboard, though SafeAssign is integrated in a more seamless manner and may be easier to set up and use.

It is important to note that neither tool conclusively determines that plagiarism has occurred, nor does it detect all cases of plagiarism. Rather, both provide originality reports meant to assist faculty in making that determination. The tools can also serve as a deterrent – when students expect to have to submit their assignments to Turnitin or SafeAssign, they may be less likely to submit plagiarized work.

For more information on using Turnitin or SafeAssign, please see Assessing Student Learning in Blackboard or contact LIT@WIT.EDU

Handling incidents of plagiarism

Unfortunately, intentional plagiarism can and does happen. At Wentworth, a set of procedures has been developed to help faculty handle incidents of plagiarism or any other violations of academic honesty. Information about this process can be found on the Academic Affairs website.