What determines the value of a university degree? Among other things, its value is determined by educators' ability to evaluate whether students have acquired the skills, knowledge, and critical thinking talents to prepare them to become responsible, contributing citizens.
Academic integrity--the creation of an atmosphere of trust that allows honesty from the instructor and from the student--is critical. An environment of academic integrity is essential so that students are judged by their contributions and efforts and instructors can best assist that by evaluating the work that the students have produced.
Purpose of the Workshops
Ida M. Jones, a faculty member of the Craig School of Business and Director of the Center for the Scholarly Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CSALT) and Judith C. Scott, a faculty member of the College of Arts and Humanities have combined to create and present their workshop, titled "Academic Integrity Workshop: Focus on Plagiarism," to students at Fresno State. The workshops have several goals. These goals are to prevent plagiarism through:
- Teaching students the definition of plagiarism,
- Briefly explaining when to paraphrase and cite
- Identifying recommended strategies to avoid plagiarism
- Informing students about the Honor Code at Fresno State
The face to face workshops have been very successful. An online version will be available by Spring 2015. The online version will be tested in some classes in the Fall 2014.
Professors Jones and Scott have administered surveys to the students who attended the workshops. They reached several preliminary conclusions as a result. For example, many students (39%) admitted that they had plagiarized. Some who admitted that they had plagiarized alleged that the plagiarism was "accidental" or "unintentional" and that the workshops were helpful to help them understand plagiarism more clearly.
Although at the beginning of the workshop sixty percent of students believed they knew the definition of plagiarism, the vast majority (96%) of students responded that they had learned a great deal from the workshop. Survey results from faculty who attended the workshops were very positive and faculty uniformly stated that the workshops were helpful and informative for them and their students.