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SAT: Tackling Plagiarism Positively: An Online Resource Bank for Academic English Teachers (Anna Orridge)
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12 January 2016
Plagiarism costs universities time and money. Academic boards must be convened, interviews arranged and remedial workshops put in place alongside existing modules. Furthermore, the consequences for students themselves are often severe, ranging from reduced marks to possible exclusion from their institution. A recent report from Times suggests that the problem is particularly prevalent amongst L2 students (those who speak English as a second language).
Universities are fully aware of this problem, and many have produced online tutorials or 'learning objects' for students to pursue in their own time. These are sometimes very negative in tone, with long and intimidating lists of what students need to avoid. Others, however, are well-structured and informative. Manchester University's learning object, “Original Thinking Allowed: Avoiding Plagiarism”, for example, steers the user through a number of interactive activities, showing different forms of plagiarism and malpractice.
I would contend, however, that issues surrounding citation, referencing and intellectual property are taught more effectively when 'eased' into an existing curriculum, alongside relevant topics. An ideal time to prompt L2 students to think about citation and referencing would surely be during their pre-sessional or in-sessional English courses. In this way, linguistic difficulties can be tackled alongside potential misunderstandings about attribution.
This multi-media presentation for the H818 conference will introduce “Tackling Plagiarism Positively: an online resource for Academic English tutors”, a project aligned with the theme of Innovation. The resource bank, currently in development, is targeted at Academic English tutors who are preparing students at Upper-Intermediate to Advanced level for tertiary study at English-speaking institutions. This site consists of easily adaptable lesson plans which can be easily adapted to fit into an existing curriculum and covers vital areas of grammar, vocabulary and language skills alongside plagiarism-specific topics.
The presentation will commence with a discussion outlining some of the major causes of plagiarism amongst L2 students. I will talk about the role of linguistic difficulties and feelings of being overwhelmed in the first years of study. Participants will then be guided through an extract from an online “Choose your Own Adventure Story” activity, featuring text, audio and animation, designed to introduce students to some of the key concepts surrounding plagiarism. They will also be introduced to a lesson from the site in development, on the subject of paraphrase and quotation.
Participants will come away with a clear understanding of the issues surrounding plagiarism by second language students, and the ways in which this new online resource will help EAP teachers tackle them.