Understanding Cheating in Online Environments #cheatmooc

As a perpetual student, I am always looking for courses to take, certificates to earn, maybe another Master’s (though probably not a PhD). My wallet doesn’t keep up with my academic dreams, so I am taking MOOCs, massive open online courses. I just started one that seems not only fascinating but also quite relevant to my other two personas of certified librarian and born teacher: Understanding Cheating in Online Environments taught by Dr. Bernard Bull (or perhaps he would prefer I say “guided by” or “facilitated by”). The premise is that by understanding academic dishonesty, we can better address it, particularly with an emphasis on encouraging and fostering academic honesty.

During Week One, we have focused on definitions. We aren’t just talking about cheating, because that’s too simplistic. We are talking about impersonation, sabotage, multiple submissions, scientific misconduct, etc. There are so many ways to cheat, it’s ridiculous. As a librarian, the one that is most interesting to me is plagiarism, and I hope to learn ways that librarians can help encourage academic honesty. The obvious idea that comes to mind is information literacy. Librarians help students find information to use in their assignments, and that creates a teaching moment: “When you use this information, this is what you need to do to avoid plagiarism….”

There was some discussion of second language speakers (students whose first language is not English) having a particular problem with plagiarism. As an ESL teacher, I have a great love for immigrants, refugees, and international students, and so this particularly caught my attention. One possible reason for international students having a problem with plagiarism is different culturally-based definitions of academic dishonesty. In other words, what American professors consider plagiarism is not considered so in a student’s home country. Another possible reason is that second language speakers do not have an English vocabulary rich enough to paraphrase. (Still, there is the issue that even if you are not a particularly good paraphraser, you can still cite your sources, which brings us back to culturally-based definitions of plagiarism). I hope to focus on these two ideas while I take this course: the librarian role in preventing plagiarism and the issues specific to international students and plagiarism.

Week One Reading List

10 types of plagiarism. (2012, November 16). Video retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF5eFeJMplA

Barnbaum, C. (n.d.). Plagiarism: A student’s guide to recognizing it and avoiding it. Retrieved from http://ww2.valdosta.edu/~cbarnbau/personal/teaching_MISC/plagiarism.htm

DePauw University. (n.d.). Types of academic dishonesty. Retrieved from http://www.depauw.edu/handbooks/academic/policies/integrity/types/

Robillard, A. E. (2010, January 7). How metaphors change our approaches to plagiarism. Retrieved from http://www.slideserve.com/kaili/how-metaphors-shape-our-approaches-to-plagiarism

TurnItIn. (2012). The plagiarism spectrum: Tagging 10 types of unoriginal work. Retrieved from http://turnitin.com/assets/en_us/media/plagiarism_spectrum.php

University of California, Berkeley, Center for Student Conduct. (n.d.). Definitions and examples of academic misconduct. Retrieved from http://sa.berkeley.edu/conduct/integrity/definition

Wikipedia. (2013, April 30). Academic dishonesty. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_cheating

York University. (2012, August 26). Academic integrity tutorial. Retrieved from http://www.yorku.ca/tutorial/academic_integrity/acaddishforms.html

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