Plagiarism 101

1. Defining plagiarism

2. Tips that a paper may be plagiarized

Summarized from

  • Essay is off-topic with a few relevant sentences inserted by student
  • Formatting is off where different pieces have been pasted in
  • References are from sources not available in our library or local systems
  • References are very dated
  • Composition is way above or below the student’s level of ability

3. Is a solution?

Instructors, try for yourself.

  • Turnitin is an online company that analyzes student work for originality and potential plagiarism. It is used at all UC and CSU campuses.
  • AHC has a subscription with Turnitin for use by faculty. Contact Kathy Headtke to request the AHC login information or attend a staff development session to learn more.
  • There are two ways to use Turnitin, with Canvas, and on the Internet through the website.
  • Most AHC instructors use Turnitin with Canvas because it is easier for both students and instructors. 

4. How to write assignments that encourage academic integrity

Summarized from and

  • Assign a brief in-class essay early in the term to use as a baseline for comparison of papers written later.
  • Define plagiarism clearly and explain citation requirements with students.
  • Assign unique or unusual assignments that are more difficult to find on term paper mills, ie. local topics, different perspectives, and rotate topics each semester.
  • Use draft outlines and monitor student work as the essay evolves.
  • Require current sources.
  • Require an annotated bibliography in conjunction with an assignment.
  • Require different types of sources, like two books, two periodicals, and two internet sites.
  • Require students to submit printouts of source materials.
  • Vary the audience to use a specific vocabulary, structural approach, and research components.
  • Let students know you use Turnitin.

5. What to do?

  • Get educated about plagiarism, know the what, where, why, and how.
  • Peruse to learn more about research and studies on the topic.
  • Get involved and attend a meeting of the Academic Integrity Committee.
  • Discuss plagiarism with students and colleagues.
  • Use Turnitin if it suits you.
  • Review and know the guidelines in AHC’s Academic Honesty policy and the Student Code of Conduct (listed under “academic dishonesty”) online in the AHC College Catalog.
  • Contact Student Services or your department chair for advice on process.
  • Be familiar with the Notice of Instructor Discipline form available on myHancock Document/Forms library.

The AHC policy is as follows:

“If an instructor determines, after a conference with the student, that the student has been academically dishonest, the instructor at his/her discretion may issue a failing grade on the assignment, fail the student from the course, or take other measures that are reasonable and appropriate. The student may also be subject to further disciplinary action through the vice president of student services. An appeals process is available to the student through the office of the vice president, student services.”

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Melissa Estrada

Melissa Estrada
Nursing Student

"I recommend Allan Hancock College because it offers a lot of opportunities for working students. My educational goals are to become a registered nurse and get my bachelor's degree in nursing. My teachers make classes entertaining and interesting."
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Last Modified Feb 8, 2017