Maintain Academic Integrity in Writing Assignments, Feb. 2017

Academic Integrity in Writing Assignments

Most undergraduates at UConn have taken a First-Year Writing course, and they should be well versed in the procedures for properly incorporating researched information into their papers, yet experience warns us that—whether they are freshmen or seniors—several students need refreshers on this topic.  For example, students typically know that they must cite direct quotations, but many are not so sure about citing material they have paraphrased or summarized from outside sources.

Review the Guidelines and Provide Resources—In order to mitigate any confusion, consider using class time to review your course’s citation style and the UConn library’s Plagiarism Resources, familiarize students with UConn’s Plagiarism Policies, and emphasize the consequences of committing plagiarism in your course; maybe even ask your students to complete this Quick Tutorial or this interactive Plagiarism Module.  Note that students can also work with tutors in the Writing Center if they have any questions about information literacy or academic integrity in writing.  The Writing Center provides walk-in sessions and appointments.

Use HuskyCT Tools—Don’t forget about the option to have students submit their papers via SafeAssign on HuskyCT.  SafeAssignments deter students from committing plagiarism and help you to identify plagiarism in papers.  SafeAssign compares submitted assignments against a set of academic papers to identify areas of overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works.  SafeAssign is effective as both a deterrent and an educational tool: Use SafeAssign to review assignment submissions for originality and create opportunities to help students identify how to properly attribute sources rather than paraphrase.  See this Information on Using SafeAssign.  SafeAssign itself probably shouldn’t be used as the final arbiter in making a determination about plagiarism; it’s a helpful tool, but an experienced teacher is still the best final judge.

Know your Roles and Responsibilities—It is very important to work with the Office of Community Standards to follow appropriate procedures for academic misconduct. The Academic Integrity FAQ page clarifies the instructor’s role in maintaining academic integrity at UConn; visit the Community Standards Academic Misconduct Procedure Review to learn more.  You can also find information about your roles and responsibilities regarding misconduct in the Academic Integrity/Misconduct section of the Faculty and Staff Resource Guide.

Contact Community Standards if you have questions about these procedures.