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Reduce > Reuse > Recycle: Teaching ACRL’s 5th Information Literacy Competency Standard: Discussion Board

This site contains supporting materials for a 2009 LOEX presentation by Bowling Green State Librarians C. Cardwell, A. Fyn, and C. Singer.


There are many different ways to steal, modify, and/or tamper with another’s intellectual property or work product. The following articles are examples of just a few venues in which this takes place. In some of these cases, the violation is clear cut, but in others there is room for debate.

Most of these articles are available through EBSCO databases; contact your local academic librarian for assistance accessing them.

Discussion Questions

Discussion questions can be used to start or continue conversations about issues surrounding plagiarism. Based on the amount of time you have and your purposes for the discussion, discuss with the entire class, or break up the class into small groups of four to five people and give groups questions to discuss, and then have the groups report back to the class their question and the main points of their small group discussion.

  • If you were a student teacher in a middle school, what arguments would you use to convince your students not to plagiarize?

  • Is there an ethical difference between using another person’s scholarly ideas and writing and using another person’s creative ideas and writing?

  •  In 2007, Ohio University revoked a master’s degree of a former student who was accused of plagiarizing his thesis.  Is this an appropriate punishment? Why or why not?

  • Is it ethically worse for some groups of people to use another person’s ideas or written work?  For instance, is it worse for a professor, a minister, a businessperson, a musician, or a politician to use another person’s work?

  • Is there an ethical difference in using another person’s ideas and written work if it is in a scholarly journal or on the Internet?

Discussion Board Resources

Rubric and Discussion Board directions for use in our course were modified from the Online Teaching Activity Index from the Illinois Online Network.