Designing Assignments that discourage plagiarism
- Design major projects as a series of steps: a topic proposal, an annotated bibliography, a literature review, a peer response workshop draft, a rough draft you respond to, and a final draft with a reflective cover letter in which students describe their writing and researching process.
- Ask students to include interviews with local resource people as part of their research and evidence: for example, interviews with local politicians, campus professors, peers, representatives of government agencies, etc.
- Connect assignments to in-class activities. For example, asking students to play the role of lawyers and prepare court briefs for an in-class mock trial, or using classroom discussions as the basis for assignment prompts.
- Ask students to write in disciplinary or public genres rather than generic “essays” or “term papers.” For example, case studies, legal briefs, annotated bibliographies, literature reviews, blogs, scholarly book reviews, scholarly book reviews, business letters, podcasts, speeches, etc.
- Ask student to write to audiences outside the classroom: a report to a business or professional society or board, an article aimed at a specific journal or professional newsletter, a service learning project for a community partner, a book review posted on Amazon.com, a video posted to YouTube, a post on a professional listserv, a public blog, etc.
- Ask students to do a “radical revision” of a previous composition in a new mode and genre. For example, turning an essay into a play or a term paper into a website or research paper into a documentary film.
- Ask student to write creatively about course content. For example, writing a mock autobiography from a historical figure’s point of view, creating a play about a health or political issue, writing a poem that explains a scientific phenomenon, creating a script for a television talk show involving a debate between scholars whose works they are reading in your course, etc.