Mitigating plagiarism in large introductory courses of higher education

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University of Alabama Libraries

This research focuses on key factors contributing to the mitigation of plagiarism in large higher education classes: a) the role of cultural values in plagiarism, b) assignment design to prevent plagiarism, and c) preventing plagiarism with detection system. The first study focuses on the role of student cultural values in higher education in plagiarism from the students' perspective. Three recommendations are provided to help institutions begin facilitating a culture of learning, rather than a culture of cheating. First, a case can be made that leaders in higher education need to reduce the emphasis on competition and grades. Second, administrators need to encourage faculty to embrace teaching along with other academic pursuits. Last, a social norms campaign should be devised that directly addresses student misperceptions of the incidences of academic misconduct. The second study focuses on the role of faculty course design as a plagiarism deterrent. Accordingly, the researcher generated empirical data on the frequency, type and extent of plagiarism in three course design types using the plagiarism detection system Turnitin. The author concludes that as the trends toward increased computer technologies usage and expanding commercialization of higher education continue, faculty have the most important role in mitigating plagiarism in higher education. The third study explores the use of a plagiarism detection system to deter the escalating prevalence of digital plagiarism. Findings suggest that when students are aware of their work being run through a detection system, they are less inclined to plagiarize. This researcher concludes that regardless of such class demographics as class standing, gender, and college major, recognition by the instructor of the nature and extent of the plagiarism problem and acceptance of responsibility for deterring it are pivotal in reducing it. The investigator concludes by making the case for higher education to use a multifaceted approach to mitigate plagiarism. This includes understanding the cultural context of the behavior, the role of the faculty to mitigate the practice though course design and employment of plagiarism detection software, and an active and supportive program by administrative officials to see that this is done.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Sociology, Educational technology, Instructional design