Explore Strategies - Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation - Carnegie Mellon University

Step 3: Explore Strategies

Explore potential strategies.

My students cheat on assignments and exams.

Students might not understand or may have different models of what is considered appropriate help or collaboration or what comprises plagiarism.

National studies and repeated experience on campus confirm that many students don’t know the definition of plagiarism or understand how to credit an idea appropriately. Students might also lack the prior knowledge and skills to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate collaboration. Because collaboration policies can vary from course to course, students might find it hard to decide on gray areas. Some students might have difficulty understanding the boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable forms of collaboration due to cultural differences.

Strategies:

Define cheating and plagiarism explicitly in your syllabus.

Explain the conventions for crediting other’s ideas.

Articulate the rationale for your policies.

Define cheating and plagiarism explicitly in your syllabus.

Clearly state what you allow and what you consider inappropriate and provide concrete examples for aspects that might be difficult for students to understand. For example, a History Department professor and the Modern Languages Department have explicit statements of their policies. You can reference the university policy and augment it with situations specific to your course. Discuss the policy in class.

Explain the conventions for crediting other’s ideas.

And provide models of how to properly give credit and how to cite references.

Articulate the rationale for your policies.

As with other kinds of policies, it is important to make sure students understand why the policy is in place. Discuss with students the value of doing the work themselves and why it is important to give credit to other people’s ideas. In order to make sure students understand the policy, consider having students sign a document saying they have read and understood the policy. Equivalently, some professors use Blackboard to have students take a quiz on the syllabus and its policies. Students are required to get a perfect score on this quiz as a prerequisite for the course.

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learning principles

  1. Students’ prior knowledge can help or hinder learning. MORE>
  2. How students organize knowledge influences how they learn and apply what they know. MORE>
  3. Students’ motivation determines, directs, and sustains what they do to learn. MORE>
  4. To develop mastery, students must acquire component skills, practice integrating them, and know when to apply what they have learned. MORE>
  5. Goal-directed practice coupled with targeted feedback enhances the quality of students’ learning. MORE>
  6. Students’ current level of development interacts with the social, emotional, and intellectual climate of the course to impact learning. MORE>
  7. To become self-directed learners, students must learn to monitor and adjust their approaches to learning. MORE>