Plagiarism prevention workshop encourages international student attendance

Chelsey Milkovich

The Kent State Writing Commons, located on the fourth floor of the University Library, will host a workshop on plagiarism prevention specifically for international students Thursday at 5 p.m.

The Writing Commons offers help and assistance to students to improve their writing skills and help them be more proficient in written communication. One of the many services provided by the Writing Commons includes this workshop dedicated to avoiding plagiarism.

Jeanne Smith, director of the the Writing Commons, and Vanessa Earp, librarian for the College of Education, Health and Human Services, partnered in providing services and advice during the workshop.  

Smith said she believes plagiarism prevention is important for all students to recognize.  

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” she said.

Smith said she trusts that the workshop can educate students and give them the skills they need to advance in properly citing and sourcing papers.  

“I see a lot of students struggling with how to integrate their source material into their papers,” Smith said. “I feel like we are in a position to provide a service where we could prevent a lot of problems.”

The workshop begins with educating international students about the definition of plagiarism and what their own cultural experiences are with it.   

“Most people in America don’t realize that plagiarism in other cultures doesn’t necessarily exist,” Earp said.  “Educating the international students about what is expected in college as a student in the United States is very important to us. That is what this workshop is for.”

There is a large cultural gap that students in our society may not be aware of and take into consideration when educating international students about plagiarism, Smith said.

“As Americans, one of the ideas we take for granted is plagiarism,” she said.  “It might seem like a day-to-day concept for you and I, but for international students, it may be completely unknown.”

In order to break the cultural gap, the Writing Commons believes it is very important to educate international students and keep everyone on the same level when it comes to plagiarism prevention.  The workshop teaches students how to read carefully and learn the difference between quoting, phrasing and summarizing information for a paper.  

Earp said the workshop is intended to encourage students to further their education, not to discourage them by any means.  

“Some cultures don’t value teaching students to stand out and voice individual opinions, which makes it hard for students to decipher between what is their own thought in comparison to something that needs cited,” Earp said.  “This may be very discouraging, and we want to rid this mindset of the international students.”

During the workshop, the Writing Commons will assist international students in understanding which ideas are their own and which ideas come from an outside source.  

“Sometimes the root of the problem is that students are unsure of where the idea they wrote down came from,” Smith said. “This can be easily prevented by going back and reviewing their research.”

The workshop will wrap up by showing the students the library resources available to assist them in plagiarism prevention.

“The library is not meant to be an intimidating place,” Earp said.  “It is meant to be welcoming and helpful to all Kent State students.”

Students are encouraged to use this workshop as a platform for using the library as a resource to the fullest extent, Earp said.

“We hope that providing this workshop will be a friendly, welcoming way to get students into the library to educate them on the things they may be confused by or unfamiliar with,” Earp said. “If we can reach out to the international students and let them know we are here to help, then we are doing our job.”

If students have more questions and need further assistance after attending the workshop, they are encouraged to meet with the free tutors provided by the Writing Commons.

Senior accounting major Nicole Heasley works as a mentor tutor in the Writing Commons. Tutors are available to help students with brainstorming, developing research strategies, finding useful resources in the library and much more.

“Students are encouraged to come to us for additional questions after attending workshops and are always welcomed with open arms,” Heasley said.

Scheduled appointments for tutoring in the Writing Commons are encouraged, but walk-in appointments are always welcome.

The Writing Commons holds several workshops throughout the school year, including the plagiarism avoidance workshops, MLA citation workshops, APA style workshops and more.

Contact Chelsey Milovich at [email protected].