Monday, December 7, 2009

Yale Sees Jump in Plagiarism Cases

Yale University instituted a new plagiarism policy in 2007, but greater attention to the issue has accompanied an increase in reported plagiarism cases ("Despite Policy Change, Plagiarism Cases Up" - Yale Daily News, December 4, 2009). The policy change mandates that when professors request new course approvals in undergraduate studies, they must state how they will cover the topic of plagiarism and the correct way to cite sources. Coincidentally, the number of reported academic dishonesty incidents rose from 23 in 2006-07 to 29 in 2007-08. To prevent plagiarism, one professor limits her students to source material from a particular Yale archive for an assignment. However, most professors know that the Internet makes copy-and-paste plagiarism easy to do, but electronic anti-plagiarism tools just as quickly catch such unacceptable uses of online information.

Discussion Questions:
  1. Do you think many students know what constitutes plagiarism, but engage in it anyway? Or do you think plagiarism is not understood by most students, so they accidentally plagiarize?
  2. Take a look at the seven examples of plagiarism on the Academic Integrity and Student Success brochure (PDF). Did you already know that those actions would be considered plagiarism by Lone Star College?
  3. What steps do you take to prevent yourself from committing plagiarism when you prepare coursework?