Understand the rules on plagiarism – in only an hour

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When should you include a reference to a source? And when is it okay not to? Question that leaves many students in doubt. But not knowing the rules for good citation practice and referencing can have serious consequences. Therefore AU Library is offering a new online course where students can learn how to avoid plagiarism.

2017.06.19 | Marie Groth Andersen

Plagiarism is defined as using another person’s material as your own without precise reference to the original source. For example, if you take another student's assignment and submit it as your own. But you can also be guilty of plagiarism if your references are imprecise or if you forget a reference. Photo: Colourbox.com

Solveig Sandal Johnson is a librarian at AU Library and she is the person to contact if you want to take the course 'Avoiding Plagiarism'. Photo: Private

Aarhus University checks for cheating and plagiarism in several different ways when students submit written assignments, among other things using the URKUND system. Being caught for cheating or plagiarism – whether intentional or unintentional – can have major consequences for you as a student. Cheating at exams is punishable by a warning, cancellation of exam or expulsion from the university.

"But it’s important that we avoid a culture of fear,” says Solveig Sandal Johnsen, who is a librarian at AU Library BSS. Here she and her colleagues meet students who are nervous about being accused of cheating and who come to find help with their reference lists, so that they are certain they reference sources correctly.    

Take the course 'Avoiding plagiarism'    

Are you a student and would you like to take the course 'Avoiding Plagiarism'? Then please contact Solveig Sandal Johnsen from AU Library at ssj@au.dk.

If you are a lecturer and would you like to know more about how you can incorporate the course in your teaching, then you should also contact Solveig Sandal Johnsen. 

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"It’s also important to provide information and help prevent this, and here at the library we have a role when it comes to helping the students manage references and ensuring good citation practice, which is something that AU Library already incorporates in much of the teaching," she says.

It only takes an hour to learn

This is also why AU Library is now offering all AU students an online course in how to avoid plagiarism. The course takes an hour to complete and consists of both videos, quizzes and text. 

"Students can take it their own, but we also hope that the lecturers will incorporate the course in their teaching," says Johnsen.

The course has been developed by the company Epigeum, which is owned by Oxford University Press, and is based on European standards for referencing and good citation practice.

"We have had several lecturers assess the course in relation to whether it also fits into a Danish academic context. The assessment is that it does," she continues, though also noting that there are some subjects with special Danish traditions for how students must provide references, such as Law.

The course is in English and is also offered to international students, as it will provide them with a good insight into the European standards and guidelines in the area.    

Translated by Peter Lambourne

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Revised 24.11.2017