One of the skills that teachers want their students to practice and perfect is Internet research skills. This is, however, increasingly being plagued by plagiarism. Plagiarism is now regarded to be a mammoth problem that tutors in all levels of education, from middle school to college are finding particularly difficult to deal with. Copying materials from journals, books, or Internet sources and representing such as one’s own creation is deceitful. Worth noting is that these deceitful practices are now being embraced by earlier grades as access to the Internet continues to grow. A shocking revelation by the Center for Academic Integrity in 2003 showed that 73 percent and 66 percent of seventh grade and sixth graders, respectively, admitted to regularly using materials not of their own without giving credit. To promote writing originality and to prevent students from submitting materials of other people for academic credit, the following top ten ways can guide educators.
Turnitin is a reliable service that educators can use to encourage originality. This is a plagiarism prevention resource which makes detection whenever over eight words are used in an essay without the identification of the original source. Turnitin is popular in schools, both public and private in all states, considering that more than 30,000 essays and articles are submitted on a typical day for checking. The cost of the service, however, can be substantial which is why there are other alternative ways that educators can consider, like ensuring that the purpose of every project or task provided is clear. The tutor should also invite dialogue from students with regard to methods, resources as well as the types of papers that are suitable for submission.
A third way which educators can ensure that students submit materials of their own is establishing relevance for their students. This can be achieved by confirming the connection between the project and real life through, for example, experiences that go beyond the perspective provided by the text. Another way would be encouraging students to convey their feelings and describe the processes they used in reaching their conclusions. A fifth way would be emphasizing creative behavior and higher-order thinking. Educators should emphasize that instead of reporting just knowledge, the participation of students should entail practice with higher-level thinking abilities.
Further, educators should go beyond the expected scope for problem solving. Many times students use provided questions whereby their teachers are already aware of the answers. Coming up with alternative solutions and developing choices is usually the key to overcoming challenges. A seventh way would be encouraging different types of information gathering. Educators would require that submissions are made of a hard copy of Web information and this goes along with the same information interpreted and summarized in a student’s personal words.
The other way is with regard to assessing the quality of performance. Educators should identify the criteria to be used when assessing the quality of research work submitted. When students know beforehand the criteria by which their submissions will be judged, especially with regard to plagiarism, they can focus on the work without anxiety and reporting plagiarized work at the end. The ninth way would be allowing the students to reflect and improve their final essay. When students have access to suggestions from classmates, this can greatly help in teaching them more about plagiarism, in addition to accepting constructive criticism. The last, but not least, approach is the use of oral evaluation. This approach allows students to make their opinions known verbally and enables the educator to call for clarification in cases whereby points are not clear and most importantly, eliminates the use of technology media to submit materials of other people.