Talking to your students about academic integrity

Plagiarism is growing problem on campuses everywhere, and as an instructor, it can be time-consuming and sad to discipline your students for plagiarism. One of your best weapons against students' plagiarism is to familiarize yourself with what plagiarism and academic integrity are and then teach your students the difference between the two.

The Writing Center’s page on plagiarism offers helpful definitions aimed at students that you can use and links to NMU's student handbook policies on academic honesty. You can (and should) speak to your classes about the seriousness of stealing another person's work or ideas, as well as the lesser known problem of self-plagiarism. Another great resource to help you do this is, which offers a cornucopia of research about defining, preventing, and teaching students about plagiarism. 

Plagiarism detection tools

Plagiarism is becoming easier to detect thanks to programs that allow instructors to compare papers to other sources using extensive databases. At NMU, many instructors prefer to use the pre-existing tools in EduCat, such as VeriCite, since they're free to our academic community and already attached to our online education platform. If you'd like to try out a different plagiarism checker, here are a few options: 

Article Checker is a free program which checks for duplicate content using Google or Yahoo. 

Plagiarism Checker is another free online service that searches using a few phrases taken from different parts of the document.

Turn It In is a paid service, but in this case, you get what you pay for. This website crosschecks over 150 million archived student papers, 90,000 journals, periodicals and books and more; plus, it has resources designed specifically for higher education instructors and lets you network with other educators in the Community section of the site. 

Quick Tip: You can become your own plagiarism detection device! Simply copy and paste a section of text from the student's paper into your search engine of choice; if it's from an online source, that source should appear in the search results.