What is Plagarism?
Plagiarism is the act of presenting the words, ideas, artistry, or data of another person or persons as your own. When you use the work of others in completing your assignment, you are legally obligated to provide documentation as to the author of these materials. Specific examples of plagiarism include:
- knowingly presenting the work of another as your own;
- inadvertently presenting the work of another as your own;
- failing to cite the work of another correctly, whether you are quoting verbatim, paraphrasing, or manipulating the content.
The surest way to avoid plagiarism is to cite your sources correctly every time you rely on the knowledge of others to complete your assignment. The only things you don't have to cite are your own personal thoughts and interpretations and things that are common knowledge (e.g. that Mount Everest is the highest peak on Earth or that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb).
Plagiarism is an act of academic dishonesty and is a violation of the North Hennepin Community College Code of Conduct for Student Behavior and Academic Honesty (see Section 2: Academic Dishonesty). Failure to abide by this Code may result in punishment by the college.
If you need further clarification about what is and what isn't plagiarism, please see your instructor.
The college's Writing Center, located in the library, and the college's librarians are also resources on this topic.
- Assign narrow and specific research topics. Create a list of acceptable topics and have students select from this list. Change this list every semester.
- Create assignments that require creativity and original thought.
- Do not allow last-minute changes of topic.
- Require that outlines be submitted three or four weeks prior to the due date, and that all drafts be submitted with the final paper.
- Require detailed citations, including page numbers.
- Spot check bibliographies for questionable sources. Let your students know that you do this.
- Make sure your students know how to properly cite sources and paraphrase information.
- Encourage students to come to you if they are confused about citation practices.
- Be a good role model. Cite sources in your lectures, presentations, and handouts. Talk to students about how citation shows respect for other scholars.
- Discuss NHCC's academic integrity policy with your classes at the beginning of each semester.
- Discuss the penalties for plagiarism in your class. Have each student sign the NHCC Academic Integrity Statement.
- Talk about academic honesty in your classes and make sure your students understand both the reasons and the tools for avoiding plagiarism.
Here are some simple measures faculty can take to reduce the amount of cheating that occurs their classrooms:
- Don't leave the room during exams. This may be construed by students as an invitation to cheat. Stay and monitor your students for the entire time.
- Do not allow electronic devices like cell phones and PDAs to be present on exam day. Students can use them to access answers and to contact friends for help during tests.
- Change your tests every semester. Do not give the same test year after year.
- Create assignments and exams that require creativity and original thought, as opposed to multiple choice and True-False tests
- Give written or oral pop quizzes in class.
- Distribute more than one exam to each class. This way, a student cannot copy answers off his neighbor's paper.
- Be proactive in preventing cheating. At the beginning of each semester, let your students know that academic integrity is important and that cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated in your classroom. Have your students sign an NHCC Academic Integrity Statement at the beginning of the semester.