Plagiarism: understanding its causes and reducing its prevalence

Last month, UCITE held a session on how to use the new plagiarism detection software called Safe Assignment that is now part of the Blackboard course management system. In addition to providing a tool for instructors to detect the efforts of those who copy the work of others, it is hoped that making students aware of the existence of this new software will deter those who might be tempted to plagiarize.

But perhaps the real benefit of instructors having to talk about this is that it can allow them to shift the focus away from the negative and punitive side of this question to the more uplifting and positive aspects, by addressing the question of what is the nature of academic discourse that puts proper acknowledgement of people’s work such a high premium?

At the next UCITE session, we will discuss what factors tend to drive plagiarism and the interesting fact that the kinds of assignments and structures that enable students to practice good writing habits are the very ones that are not conducive to plagiarizing and vice versa.

Join us for this discussion on Thursday, July 14, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Inamori Center for International Ethics and Excellence, which is on the lower level of Crawford Hall (Room 9).

Pizza lunch and sodas will be provided at this session; RSVP to