My friend Cathy Nelson recently wrote a post entitled “If An Assignment Can Be Plagairized.” We attended the same pre-conference session at the recent South Carolina Association of School Librarians Conference in Greenville, South Carolina. Doug Johnson‘s session was entitled “Designing Research Projects that Kids (and Teachers) Love!”
Doug shared how to try to plagiarize-proof assignments:
One way to prevent plagiarism is to require students to use primary sources such as interviews, surveys, and experiments.
Another way to prevent plagiarism is to allow students choice and creativity. The use of technology allows creativity. Even if the teacher has assigned a PowerPoint project and specified the number and content of the slides, the students still gets to choose the color, font, clip art, etc.
That last line was a “light-bulb” moment for me. Students are given (not allowed to choose) an assignment. Their final product is the beat-to-a pulp-dead-horse PowerPoint slideshow. Students are told they have to have X number of slides. So, they come to the media center, head for the computers, and ….what….begin to research? Not quite.
No…they open PowerPoint and start a slideshow before they have any research to put in it! They design the first slide with a title, their names, and the date due….and then play with design and look for pictures, and try different font.
I tell them, “You need to research first. Don’t worry what it will look like yet – that comes at the end.”
Do they listen? Uh…no. And why? Because this (the design, colors, font, pictures) is the ONLY thing they have control over. It’s the only choice they are given in the whole assignment.
When they finally do get around to “reseaching,” they end up copying and pasting (and putting way too much text on a slide – but that’s another post).
Instead, we need to plagiarize-proof the assignments as Doug and others have suggested.
Now, my brain is fried after doing true research and working on a paper for a grad class today, so forgive the departure here from anything remotely relating to plagiarize-proofing assignments.
Instead, I offer for your viewing pleasure a video that was shared by Holly Foster, a fellow grad student in my Master’s of Library and Information Science program at the University of South Carolina.
Quality Garanteed http://www.flickr.com/photos/44124413076@N01/1680927