Just knowing that next week, April 22-26, is Plagiarism Education Week is enough to send ripples of goose bumps across your skin and add a few extra beats to your heart. And who could blame you for being excited?
You are well aware as a student that this year’s theme, “Originality Matters,” is good reason for excitement. We’ve all experienced the thrill of hearing an idea we haven’t heard before or seeing already known concepts from experts applied in new ways. Everyone has probably experienced being complimented for a job well done, too. We all like to get credit when credit is due, right?
Increasing awareness of the importance of proactively preventing plagiarism and learning how to deal with it when it does occur in its various forms is what Plagiarism Education Week is all about. Sponsors Turnitin, The International Center for Academic Integrity, Plagiarism Today, and The School for Ethical Education want you to get involved to foster a great sense of understanding.
In order to help you prepare for next week, today’s post will share three ways you must celebrate Plagiarism Education Week.
Remember how fun it was when you were a kid to color a picture, build a house out of blocks, or act out your favorite television or movie scene? Surrender to your inner child and do something creative!
One way you can celebrate Plagiarism Education Week artistically is to enter Turnitin’s poster contest. The rules are simple: Basically anyone 14-years-old and older can design a poster that uses the “Originality Matters” theme. Your design must be 11” wide and 17” high and be uploaded to the contest website. You can submit multiple entries. If you win, you’ll have $1,000 to spend, which sounds fun to me!
But don’t stop there. Think about other creative things you can do with classmates, friends, and family members. Heck, invite your enemies to join in, too! For instance, have you ever seen an edible book contest in which contests must somehow represent their favorite book with food? Why not do something similar with plagiarism? Most people are aware that plagiarism involves stealing someone else’s idea and presenting it as your own. Why not cook up a dish that looks like one food item but is made from another? To get your creative energy flowing, take a look at these cupcakes made to look like hamburgers or mashed potatoes and gravy.
Online classes could share recipes and photos; ground courses could share samples to enjoy. Students could also discuss how plagiarism makes readers feel when it’s discovered or how the original author may feel about having their work misrepresented as someone else’s.
Games are fun at any age, and some of those childhood classics take on a whole new dimension of entertainment value the older we get. Why not connect those good feelings with Plagiarism Education Week? Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
• Hang Out with Friends: While you’re shopping, eating out, or doing whatever you normally do with your buddies, insert famous quotations into the conversation or repeat stuff they’ve said as if they were your own words. Then see how your friends react.
• Blind Taste Test: Take two brands of the same food item, blindfold your friends, and see if they can taste the difference. Then read famous literary selections inserting your own words and phrases randomly to see if your friends can tell the difference.
• Pin the Citation: For a plagiarism-themed version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, create a poster with a famous quotation on it and various pieces of information needed to construct a correct citation written on sticky notes. You could either blindfold your friends and have them try to construct the appropriate citation, or you could race in teams to complete the documentation, each team member having one of the pieces needed to complete the task.
• Scavenger Hunt: Hide plagiarized passages in course materials; then reward those who can find and properly cite them.
Whichever game(s) you choose, have fun, and be sure to discuss how the misrepresentation of ideas makes readers and the original authors feel.
No matter what your age may be, you probably enjoy getting together with others. Therefore, invite some of your closest friends over for an entertaining evening of Plagiarism Education Week celebrating! Here are two ideas to get you started.
First, consider hosting a masquerade party with a theme. Each guest must dress up like their favorite famous plagiarist. Think this is impossible? Share a list of famous plagiarists, such as this one from Jonathan Bailey of Plagiarism Today (31 March 2009). The list may surprise you. Another variation on this idea is to have guests come representing other cultures; they could then share how their society regards plagiarism. The various views may be surprising, and a lively party discussion should result.
If you’re a bit hesitant to hold a large party, consider a special evening with the one you love. Cook his or her favorite dinner, uncork a classic wine, light some candles, and then curl up together before your favorite electronic device to join Turnitin for one of its free Plagiarism Education Week webinars. If you’re a bit shy or dating someone new, there will be no awkward silence as you are given thought-provoking topics to discuss, such as next Monday’s “Students and Plagiarism: Exploring the Disconnect Between Morals and Behavior,” as presented by Jason Stephens, Educational Psychologist at University of Connecticut. You could even hold hands while sharing in the typing of responses in the chat window with your free hands. Any date who does not share your concern for academic integrity is not worth having in your life.
If none of these ideas interest you and you’re having trouble thinking of some others on your own, consider checking with your professors or schools. What do they have planned to celebrate Plagiarism Education Week? If you do have some ideas, please share them with the rest of us in the “Comments” window below or with me on Twitter.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net