Faculty and Staff Resources

Thank you for visiting the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution’s (OSCCR) website. Here at OSCCR, we understand the importance of a safe and energized campus learning environment. This section provides information to assist faculty and staff members in addressing various concerns such as scholastic dishonesty, student misconduct, and/or behavioral concerns. Please take time to view this entire section thoroughly as many of your questions and resource needs can be addressed here. However, please know that we are always available to answer questions and/or address concerns via phone or in person as our relationships with faculty and staff are integral to our work and overall student success.

Detecting and Deterring Plagiarism

Today, the internet provides students with a wealth of information and opportunity to cut and paste text and ideas from sources without proper citations, and it has become important that instructors are familiar with ways to detect plagiarism.

This guide focuses on finding indicators of possible plagiarism in the body of a text itself, usually without comparing it to an outside source. However, the outside source must also be found to justly accuse a student of plagiarism. This guide only offers possible indicators or alarms that would bear further investigation. This list is not exhaustive, and the presence of many of these indicators still may not confirm that plagiarism has taken place. In addition to looking for these indicators, a teacher can use one of the plagiarism detection tools or software packages currently available.

Indicators in Style

  • Shift in author’s voice and tone from paragraph to paragraph. For example, the student moves from an academic/scholarly tone to one of news reporting. This may be evidence of cut & paste plagiarism or collaborative work between
  • Reality jump. The writing style does not match that of student’s previous writing. This could be an example of a plagiarized
  • Color or Colour? Unusual spelling of words may suggest cutting and pasting from British or other foreign sites and
  • Know it alls. Student writes as an expert in the subject. While a student’s vocabulary cannot be the only indicator, coupled with a very authoritative tone and ample references, it is reasonable to be curious of an undergraduate’s
  • Just beyond me! Concepts discussed in the student’s paper are too sophisticated for the level of the course. Although research can introduce new concepts to a student, this may be an

Indicators in Formatting

  • Has evidence of web browser headers or footers. Although this may be a silly mistake, it is a mistake made by students in a hurry to turn in an assignment. Additionally, headers and footers are often hidden in a web document and are not usually displayed on the screen; they can therefore be overlooked until the document is printed.
  • Has formatting irregularities. Cutting and pasting text from a web document to a word processor can leave minute oddities in the page layout that can indicate un-attributed text. Incorrect spacing between sentences; unusual or inconsistent margins; and gray text. Often word processors transfer text in their coded web colors. This can be overlooked when copying text to a new

Indicators in Context

  • Right place, wrong Finding shifts in a student’s context may be an indicator of borrowed text.
  • Presenting presents. Sources and examples are different from the context of the subject being discussed. The student may incorporate statistics of teenage runaways from New York City in a discussion that seemed to focus on the Pacific Northwest region of the United
  • …& why these years, again?! Tables and charts reflect what seem like random time periods. For example, a student presents the deaths from vehicular accidents from 1996 to 1992 to support an argument. Make sure the remainder of the student’s work provides an explanation for the use of illustrations that are not necessarily current or in context with the time period being
  • Is this what I assigned? The paper is completely out of scope with the requirements of the

Deterring Scholastic Dishonesty

 Recommendations for Deterring Plagiarism

 There are a number of ways that instructors can deter students from plagiarizing in their class.

  • Place a statement in your syllabus about academic dishonesty and specifically that if any plagiarism is suspected, the student will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution
    • Define and clarify what constitutes
  • Ask students to sign an integrity statement on each assignment submitted (“I have neither given nor received aid on this ”)
  • Avoid recycled assignments
  • Provide appropriate instruction on use and citation of secondary
  • Structure assignments to emphasize the process of writing and the investigation and analysis of sources
    • Require students to develop possible topics early in the course
    • Provide the opportunity for peer review
    • Require students to submit evidence of the writing process (i.e. paper topic, outline, drafts, revision, summary of sources) on a schedule/timeline.
  • Encourage your students to have their papers checked before submission by the Writing
  • Have all papers submitted electronically via the UTEP website and Blackboard (Safe Assign or com
  • Require students to give oral presentations on their papers

Recommendations for Preventing Cheating on Tests

 “Prevention is a critical line of defense against academic dishonesty” (McCabe & Pavela, Ten Principles of Academic Integrity)

  • Ask students to write and sign an integrity statement on each assignment (“I have neither given nor received aid on this assignment).
  • Give oral and written instructions explaining which materials can or cannot be used on a
  • Do not permit programmable calculators, or require students to clear all programs before exams
  • Have students put away books, notes, cell phones, or other prohibited items and store them out of
  • Require students to remove hats and dark glasses during
  • Give written or oral pop
  • Put multiple choice and true/false questions at the bottom of the page where it is harder to
  • Distribute different versions of the same test or
  • Change exam questions
  • Arrange the testing environment in a way that limits student access to each
  • Have students exchange blank bluebooks or turn in blank bluebooks the class prior to the exam (if applicable).
  • Closely monitor the testing
  • Prohibit talking or communication during
  • Do not allow bathroom breaks during a test or quiz (announce this policy ahead of time!).
  • Refuse credit for correct answers unless all work is shown.