Monday, June 2, 2014

Ethics in Action - Plagiarism

This blog post is to fulfill Research Task 1 – Web Research Chapter 1 page 52 item 5 (Ethics in Action - Plagiarism)

The Internet has increased the ease with which students can plagiarize material for research paper assignments. Teachers are using online services, such as TurnItIn and to help detect plagiarized papers and to hep students understand how to cite sources correctly. Visit the Turnitin Web site ( ) and then write a summary of how this service is used. How does this service attempt to prevent plagiarism through the Turnitin Write Cycle? How prevalent is plagiarism on your campus? What is your school’s official policy on disciplining students who submit plagiarized papers? Does your school have an honor code?

The TurnItIn website is used to help a writing instructor give feedback to a student quickly to help a student improve his writing. The cloud based program compares the written work submitted by a student to a database of written work to determine how original the submitted written work is. A color coded report is created reflecting what percentage of the written piece comes from a particular database source.  There is also a part of the program that allows peers to comment and critique the submitted work. This can help the submitter to develop critical thinking skills as the written submission is edited. TurnItIn can be integrated with an existing learning management system.

The service attempts to prevent plagiarism by using the Turnitin Write Cycle. I found an infographic at that outlined the turn it in write cycle. First, the idea is that the “originality check” will inspire a writer not to plagiarize content in his initial written submission. That hopefully will engage a writer to write original content rather than copy content from another author. Second, the “PeerMark” peer reviewing process helps a teacher manage assignments and facilitate collaboration between students to enhance the submitting writer’s writing. Third, “GradeMark” paperless grading allows a teacher to provide in depth feedback to a writer so future assignments can be better written based on the feedback. These three components make up the Turnitin Write Cycle.

I was unable to find any data on how prevalent plagiarism is on the Kellogg Community College website. I am sure it happens. Kellogg Community College has an official “Academic Integrity Policy” found at This policy states that a student who admits responsibility for some form of academic dishonesty will first receive a warning, if it happens again the student will be put on probabion, if it occurs for a third time the student will be suspended, and if there is a fourth infraction, the student will be dismissed from Kellogg Community College.  Kellogg Community College's honor code is “Define Yourself“ and that seems to encompass the ideas that a student needs to take responsibility during their time at Kellogg Community College to develop who they will be when they leave. I think academic honesty is a big part of that as people look for jobs after their education has ended.

Plagiarism is so much easier today with the availability of digital resources that can be copied easily. Programs like TurnItIn can be useful to help fight plagiarism and help writing instructors teach students how to cite sources properly.

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