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How to Fight Plagiarism and Uphold Pedagogy with Unlimited Submissions

Unlimited Submissions, Unlimited Learning

Christine Lee
Christine Lee
Content Manager






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Educators everywhere understand that making mistakes is part of the learning process. Moreover, learning to cope with setbacks and moving forward is a core component of student success.

Providing the foundation for such academic buoyancy, as stated by Martin LaMonica in their article, “To Help Students Overcome Setbacks, They Need to Develop ‘Academic Buoyancy’” at The Conversation, is important. Additionally, academic buoyancy is directly linked to workplace buoyancy. And buoyancy--another word for resilience--is core to not just education or work but to life in general, which means that the development of academic buoyancy affects all aspects of student lives, both present and future.

LaMonica refers to an article by Martin, Colmar, Davey, and Marsh titled “Longitudinal modelling of academic buoyancy and motivation: Do the 5Cs hold up over time?” which addresses the 5Cs of academic buoyancy: 1) Composure; 2) Confidence; 3) Commitment; 4) Control; and 5) Coordination. The article stresses that addressing these 5Cs helps build academic buoyancy.

Educators help students pivot from setbacks to learning all the time. When students make an error on a math or science problem, educators provide feedback and scaffolding so that students can be redirected to new insights. When students struggle with forming thesis sentences, educators are there to help students condense analysis and provide argumental structure.

But how can educators help students when it comes to plagiarism? If plagiarism is a symptom of a student’s lack of interest in learning or lack of understanding of academic misconduct, why not promote buoyancy so that students pivot towards learning?

Turnitin Feedback Studio allows students to submit drafts multiple times ahead of the final deadline and access automated grammar feedback and their Similarity Report and score. This report clearly identifies matches in their work to sources in Turnitin’s comprehensive database of internet, student papers, and academic journal content, allowing students to self-correct any issues before the assignment is due.

Let’s take a look at the 5Cs as they pertain to cases of academic misconduct and/or plagiarism and examine how unlimited submissions can nurture buoyancy:

1. Composure
Anxiety causes students to make fear-based decisions. But having visibility into student learning and where it is students need further support, helps educators mitigate anxiety for students.

Bottom line: Students who know their learning is supported through feedback, multiple drafts, and multiple submissions, are more assured and less anxious. And as a result, less vulnerable to plagiarism.

2. Confidence
Confident students react to feedback in positive ways. A student who believes they’re capable of learning will find a way to improve. On the other hand, students who believe themselves incompetent will see feedback as a reinforcement of that self-perception. Students who lack confidence are most likely to plagiarize. When it comes to plagiarism, feedback is a critical component of instilling confidence--whether through providing feedback on citations and attribution in a lower-stakes setting or by providing students with the tools to learn how to cite before assessment.

Bottom line: Students who have access to unlimited submissions and thus, lower-stakes learning, have the opportunity to build their confidence, avoid plagiarism, and turn in work that is original.

3. Commitment
Commitment centers around student persistence and the knowledge that learning takes both time and effort.

Bottom line: Unlimited submissions make clear that learning doesn’t occur through one draft or one submission, but rather multiple steps, however incremental.

4. Control
Students who feel they have control over their own learning are empowered to face challenges and new concepts. On the other hand, students who feel control is in the hands of an external force may feel victimized. When students have the ability to monitor their growth and have transparency into their own learning, they can improve outcomes.

Bottom line: Unlimited submissions provide students with the ability to learn at their own pace, monitor their own growth, and avoid plagiarism.

5. Coordination
Buoyant students manage their own deadlines and can break down assignments into smaller tasks. Procrastination is one of the most common situations under which academic misconduct, in the form of plagiarism or contract cheating, can occur. So providing students with scaffolding, with many interim steps, steers students away from misconduct and towards resilience.

Bottom line: Unlimited submissions prevent plagiarism and uphold student coordination by making accessible multiple feedback rounds, helping students to avoid procrastination, and supporting incremental steps towards the completion of original work.

Plagiarism detection can be a gateway to learning. One of the critical ways in which plagiarism detection can become a gateway is by enabling unlimited submissions, which allow students to self-monitor and learn ways in which to cite and attribute on their own time and at will. The end goal? Buoyant students.