Redesign Assignments and Assessments


Much of the literature on preventing plagiarism focuses of the need for instructors to plan assignments and assessments to make it more difficult, or even impossible, for students to plagiarize. The suggestions are focused on preventing students from using others’ past work or using work from other courses or sources. Among the strategies suggested are the following:​​​​​​

  1. When assigning papers, select topics that make it difficult for students to plagiarize from past assignments or other venues. These topics should be:
    1. Complex, requiring higher order thinking (e.g., synthesis and integration of material)
    2. Original or unusual, not likely to have been utilized in other courses
    3. Timely, involving current issues
    4. Specifically related to course lectures, discussions, or reading assignments
  2. Ask students to document their process
    1. Meet with students early to discuss their topic and process
    2. Require drafts of every stage of a paper
    3. Set deadlines for turning in each draft of a stage
    4. Ask students to turn in copies of references
  3. Specify sources
    1. Require a specific number of sources
    2. Require specific type of sources
    3. Require specific articles/books/texts be used
    4. Require citations and references in a specific format
  4. Relieve pressure
    1. Teach students about the research process and the appropriate use of references
    2. Give students multiple assessment opportunities
    3. Space assignments/assessments throughout the semester/term
    4. In the syllabus, give students detailed guidelines about assignment and specify your expectations