Teaching Online Etiquette & Avoiding Plagiarism Using Role Play

Submitted by Kelly Loucy on

After a student plagiarized a“how to paraphrase” assignment, I was dismayed with student correspondence that I received due its tone and the student’s continued misunderstanding of why it was plagiarism. Because students often avoid paraphrasing, and instead choose to repeatedly use direct quotations, I created a student-instructor role play assignment for ENG 102. See attached assignment for details.

Results: 21 completed; 1 explained correctly, but failed to provide examples; 2 explained correctly but made minor errors in formatting a direct quote; remaining 18 students explained and provided correct examples. All 21 provided an appropriately worded email. Students reported it helped them to understand how to use a source and to express confusion to an instructor via email. The assignment successfully provided a mini-lesson for online etiquette and ensured that students knew how to avoid plagiarism before they started on their final research paper.

Completed Full Cycle
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Assessment of the Month
Average: 4.8 (6 votes)


Erik Huntsinger Tue, 04/15/2014 - 1:56pm

Kelly, this is a very ingenious way to help students develop both the skills to paraphrase and use proper online etiquitte, and it certainly was effective.  I hope you continue to use this and this scales to other sections of the course.

Bronwen Steele Tue, 04/15/2014 - 2:07pm

This is awesome! My favorite part from Em's email: If you don’t want it to sound like the article, then we should be making up our own news story. It was amazing to read how strongly she felt she wrote it in her own words then admitted she had copied. 
I especially like the learning about online etiquette. 

Heather Muns Tue, 04/15/2014 - 2:18pm

Love it!  It is always hard dealing with plagiarism issues.  Many times students just don't see why they can't use the authors words or how the minor changes they are making are still considered plagiarism.   I love that this not only teaches the students about plagiarism but also address etiquette.  Well done.  I am going to steal it for sure :-)

Peter Turner Wed, 04/16/2014 - 9:34am

What an innovative as well as metacognitive approach to addressing this problem! You met every criterion of our CATS of the Month Selection, but most importently you were able to effectively get your message to your students by them doing the work! Great job!

Karla Moreno-Arias Sat, 09/13/2014 - 11:26am

Plagiarism is always a touchy subject and sometimes a fine line betwneen original ideas and someone's else work.

It takes practice to master the proper quotation or referencing someone's work. As instructors, it's is our responsability to provide the right understanding and concepts on the proper formating of a paper and how to cite properly.

Your idea is very clear and I will be implementing your information in my COM 100 course. Great Resource!!! 

Andrea Stiles Sat, 09/12/2015 - 11:18am

I really enjoyed reading this cats and will utilize this as an assignment with all my classes. Thank you!