Friday, October 30, 2009

Pedagogy, Policing or Preventing Plagiarism? Experiences with facilitating Professional Development and Turnitin

This was a paper Vickel Narayan and I presented at the eFest meets Teaching & Learning conference, UCOL 2009. It was an interesting experience at a vibrant conference. A time for firsts, it was Vickel's first time to present and write an academic paper for a conference, and it was the first time that we had written and presented together. I felt that we both learned a lot on the way, from each other, from the feedback we gathered from the audience (see below), and from reflecting on how well it went on the day.

It was an interesting audience, and it was great to have much more of a discussion underway throughout the session. There appeared to be a lot of sharing of experiences, strategies, and problems faced, which saw the audience fully engaged. Throughout the session there was also a couple of people Tweeting about main points, and I found this was a great way, afterwards to see how people had interpreted what had been said, and what they saw as central points. It was also great to find out, for example, that the mindmap I had made building on previous work I'd done in 2006, was in fact useful and did illustrate some key factors behind why learners plagiarise.

All in all, judging from the comments, the discussion, and the feedback, I think the audience went away with some new ideas and approaches, as well as affirmation that they 'not alone'! :-)

To access the accompanying handout:

To access the full paper:


  • Excellent; general overview; positive approach to manage plagiarism
  • Session was great. Just enough time to have our discussion!
  • Liked the suggestion: getting students to have constructive dialogue about plagiarism
  • Love the handout w the links. Thanks heaps. T
  • I enjoyed the session but needs longer time for discussion
  • Plagiarism is a lot more than I realised
  • Important - see a way to move from punitive to formative
  • "Use a free tool for formative use" - this was a new idea for me! Thanks for all the links - I will use
  • Good to see Turnitin as a formative tool rather than punitive
  • Turnitin as a tool - not the answer
  • Thanks for the references
  • Cultural issues seem to be the main factor but I value the deterrence factor and want to improve arguments

Abstract: Plagiarism is a global issue that needs to be addressed by all educators and learners. This paper considers a simple definition of plagiarism, and then briefly considers reasons why students plagiarise. At Unitec NZ, Te Puna Ako: The Centre for Teaching and Learning Innovation (TPA:CTLI) is working closely with faculty, managers, student support services and library personnel to introduce strategies and tools that can be integrated into programmes and curricula whilst remaining flexible enough to be tailored for specific learners. The authors therefore provide an overview of one of the tools available to check student work for plagiarism - Turnitin - and describe the academic Professional Development (PD) approaches that have been put in place to share existing expertise, as well as help staff at Unitec NZ to use the tool in pedagogically informed ways, which also assist students in its use. Evaluation and results are considered, before concluding with some recommendations. It goes on to theorise how blended programmes that fully integrate academic literacy skills and conventions might be used to positively scaffold students in the avoidance of plagiarism. Conference participants will be asked to comment on and discuss their institutions' approach to supporting the avoidance of plagiarism (including the utilisation of PDS and other deterrents), describe their own personal experiences, and relate the strategies they employ in their teaching practice and assessment design to help their learners avoid plagiarism. It is planned to record the session so that the audience's narratives can be shared with other practitioners.

Please cite as: Owen, H., & Narayan, V. (2009, 29 Sept - 01 Oct). Pedagogy, Policing or Preventing Plagiarism? Experiences with facilitating Professional Development and Turnitin. Paper presented at the Teaching excellence - excellence in teaching: Teaching and Learning Conference Meets eFest 2009, Universal College of Learning (UCOL), Palmerston North.

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