At first glance, these rules seem to be understandable and easy to follow. Nevertheless, cheating is still a reality in the classroom, whether during a test or while writing a paper at home. It usually boils down to this: Either students just don’t know the rules, or they don’t care about them.
Teachers have always tried to figure out how to make students pay attention to the academic honor code. They have tested different methods and new approaches to the subject, told their students what consequences they will face if they aren’t academically honest, and have explained how to properly cite reference sources. Still, some students manage to violate the honor code in one way or another, and there’s a range of registered cases of academic cheating, plagiarism, and other types of academic dishonesty every year.
Personally, I’ve found that a good way to promote academic integrity among students is to connect them with resources to help them recognize potential plagiarism in their work and create proper citations of their sources. Below, I share my favorite tools and the ways they can improve students' work.
- Unplag is a plagiarism detection tool that scans student works to define the percentage of originality and similarity, highlighting those areas that have text coincidences. Students can click these areas and go to the original sources where these pieces were taken from. Unplag includes many other good features, like highlighting citations and references, possible character replacement, downloadable reports, several different checking methods, and others. I typically recommend that students use Unplag before sending their works to the teacher in order to make sure their writings are good and plagiarism-free. Teachers can also use them to run a plagiarism check while evaluating student works.
- Another helpful tool is citation generators. These are online resources that automatically generate citations for your bibliography in different styles such as MLA, APA, and Chicago. I enjoy using EasyBib and Ctfm because in addition to the usual styles, there are a number of examples on how to cite atypical information sources, such as patent filings, court cases, federal rules, letters, maps, newsgroups, and others. I advise students to first create citations on their own and then check if everything is right by using one of these generators. A nice bonus with EasyBib is the Citation Guides, which include information about citation styles, annotated bibliographies, forms of writing, and other helpful details. It’s definitely worth checking out more closely.
- thinkbinder is a collaboration platform created in order to keep teachers and students in touch when working together. It includes a set of features that makes collaboration easier and more pleasant. Thanks to this web resource, it’s easy for me to solve urgent problems that students face because I am able to provide students with my feedback as soon as possible. Using thinkbinder, we promptly take care of any issues related to academic integrity.