30-minute Webcast

Responding to Student Plagiarism as an Educational Opportunity

Investigating cases of student plagiarism must involve more than simply textual evidence of shared discourse and use or misuse of citation conventions. Plagiarism itself is, in fact, a cluster of different behaviors that can take similar textual forms. Every plagiarism case comes with its own set of individual circumstances, which, when considered, suggest that most student plagiarism should not be addressed as moral failure but rather as educational opportunity.

In this webcast, we explore a heuristic of five questions for analyzing any case of student plagiarism. We consider several student plagiarism scenarios, applying our heuristic, which help us determine what the consequences of that plagiarism should be. An underlying assumption driving this heuristic is that the best response to any case of student plagiarism is one that teaches.


Gerald Nelms is currently the Academic Director for Developmental Writing and a faculty member in English at Wright State University. Previously, he was a visiting instructional consultant at the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching at The Ohio State University, and a faculty member at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he directed the Communication Across the Curriculum and Writing Studies programs and helped write a new plagiarism policy. He has consulted on cases of plagiarism, conducted plagiarism workshops, and taught courses focusing on plagiarism for nearly 20 years.

Jason Chu is Education Director for Turnitin. His focus is on working to build resources for educators, and his personal passion is to find better ways to enhance student achievement.  He will be moderating this webcast.

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