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Lesson One: Expectations
Lesson Two: Am I Ready?
Lesson 3: Time Management
Lesson 4 Online Discussions
Lesson 5: Plagiarism
Lesson 6: Ergonomics
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Online Learning Success:
Lesson 5: Plagiarism
Written by Gayle L. Fornataro, Virtual Valley Student Success Coordinator

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Lesson 5: What Is Plagiarism?

The topics covered in this lesson are as follows:

5.1: What is Plagiarism?
5.2: Resources
5.3: Keys to Success

Lesson 5: Plagiarism
5.1: What is Plagiarism?

As the LAVC Writing Center defines it, “Plagiarism is the act of using another person's words or ideas and attempting to pass them off as your own." It’s a form or stealing – of intellectual property.  It is also a form of cheating, and thus, plagiarism is a serious academic offense.

Plagiarism violates the LAVC  “Standards of Student Conduct” described in the LAVC College Catalogue, and is covered in the policy of "Academic Dishonesty.” There can be significant consequences of committing an act of plagiarism, ranging from a failing grade for the plagiarized assignment, suspension, or even expulsion from school. 

Since plagiarism carries such heavy consequences, you need to know how to avoid it.  In an electronic environment such as an online class offers, it can be even easier to accidentally (or intentionally) commit plagiarism.  It also makes plagiarism even easier to catch!

To protect yourself, you need to take careful notes, and to be careful about “copying” and “pasting” material from a website or other electronic document without carefully keeping track of where you got the information and which words you took from the source and which words and ideas are yours. 

    Bright Idea! When you are doing research for an assignment,
                 keep a file of your source, being sure to gather all the
                 information you will need to cite them in a paper. If you copy
                 and paste any information, put quotation marks around them
                 and store them in this file.

For a slightly more detailed description of what plagiarism is, read the following handout from LAVC's Writing Center:


The resources in the next section of this module will give you even more detailed information about plagiarism and advice about how to avoid it.


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Lesson 5: Plagiarism
5.2 Resources

Avoiding plagiarism can be more complicated than it first appears. While you will learn about documenting your sources in your English 101 class, you need to understand plagiarism as soon as you take an online class, which necessarily requires writing. With that in mind, here are some useful resources on avoiding plagiarism:

OWL at Purdue: Avoiding Plagiarism
The Writing Place @ Northwestern: Avoiding Plagiarism
Indiana University School of Education: How to recognize Plagiarism


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Lesson 6: Plagiarism
5.3: Keys to Success

       When doing research, keep careful notes about where you found
              information and words you used in your essay.

       Do not "copy" and "paste" material from a website into your
              homework assignments without putting the borrowed words in
              quotation marks.

       Take the time to learn how to document your sources and avoid

       If you are having trouble completing your assignments, schedule
              an appointment with a couselor or with your instructor.

       Never resort to cheating, no matter how desperate your situation
              seems. Cheating will only make things worse.


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