For Instructors

Revision as of 14:48, 5 May 2016 by Ejohnston (talk | contribs)




A number of scholars, foremost among them Rebecca Moore Howard from Syracuse University, have argued that instructors should treat patchwriting not as plagiarism but as an error in critical reading, as well as the result of weak writing skills. However, students need to be motivated to adopt the critical reading and process-based skills that will help them to NOT patchwrite. This mini-course is designed to help students

1. Understand what patchwriting is and recognize it when it occurs

2. Understand the ethical, academic, and professional reasons to pursue effective paraphrasing skills

3. Teach them how to use critical reading and process-based strategies to avoid patchwriting

This three-pronged approach--giving students the skills AND appeal to their extrinsic and intrinsic motivation--works to counter what research suggests are reasons students fall into the traps of patchwriting. (For more about this research, please feel free to browse my portfolio page).

If you're new to the idea of patchwriting and how it DOES differ from plagiarism and why it SHOULD be treated differently than plagiarism in the classroom, please take a few minutes to view Rebecca Moore Howard's four mini-videos on patchwriting (you can access all four here [1]).


This course is designed for instructors to use either in a face-to-face, hybrid, or fully online classroom. The course makes use of a Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework, and thus relies on sustained group discussions, peer feedback, assignments designed to foster community, such as collaborative writing, and those designed to foster metacognition, such as revision and self-reflection.

To make use of the group and peer discussions in an online classroom, consider linking out to this Wiki from your school's LMS and using the discussion forums embedded in your course shells. If you do not have access to an LMS, I recommend the following Web 2.0 tools for facilitating these activities:

Titan Pad [[2]] for collaborative writing (see the tutorial I provide in Module 2 of the course)
Wikispaces [[3]] for collaborative writing
Classchatter [[4]] for creating an online discussion forum (you will need to set up a classroom and provide students with the name and password; it's free and easy)
Todaysmeet [[5]] for creating an online discussion forum and for instant messaging/ conferencing/peer work.

Additionally, you may want to set up various Google Excel sign-up sheets so that students can easily pick and choose peer partners and exchange email addresses. I recommend having student email drafts to each other, although they can also work on them in TitanPad.

For submitting work in an online classroom, you can have students share a link to their TitanPad document (this allows you to provide feedback) or you can have them email you their drafts as file attachments.

Good luck, and I hope you find this course useful!