It is a well-established fact that students frequently use the Web to search for information. With the Web and its abundance of information, students have acquired the habit of copy/pasting, which transforms their writing practices.
In the same way as paper scrapbooking, digital scrapbooking strategies are used in the process of finding, selecting, gathering and organizing information from the Web, whether in the form of text, images, videos or sounds, in order to produce a new written creation (Peters, 2015). All of these actions, whose ultimate goal is writing, use digital scrapbooking strategies that are used with informational, writing and referencing skills.
In order to ensure that students possess these skills and develop good digital scrapbooking strategies, teachers must train them differently and appropriately. Academic integrity is one of the challenges facing the education and training of today’s students.
This thematic issue therefore offers a look at digital scrapbooking strategies, the skills they mobilize and academic integrity in order to give students tools to fight plagiarism.
In Les stratégies d’écriture universitaire numérique : pratiques déclarées d’étudiants et d’enseignants québécois (p. 5), Vincent, Fontaine, Peters and Boies propose to identify the nature of digital scrapbooking strategies affecting writing skills and then to verify the influence of the feeling of personal efficacy in reading and writing to finally determine which strategies teachers should use.
Two articles address referencing skills: Cadieux, Peters and Beauchemin-Roy, Étude de compétences de référencement documentaire d’étudiants universitaires (p. 24) and Monney, Peters, Boies and Raymond, Évaluer la compétence de référencement documentaire chez des étudiants de premier cycle universitaire : pratiques déclarées d’enseignants universitaires (p. 39).
The study by Cadieux, Peters and Beauchemin-Roy explores the correlations among knowledge, know-how and interpersonal skills and the number of university years. In order to track the referencing skills of students throughout their academic career, the authors take into consideration three dimensions: the use of referencing software, personal efficacy in referencing and the resolution of referencing problems.
For their part, Monney, Peters, Boies and Raymond address the issue of teaching and evaluating referencing skills in order to meet three objectives: to determine the learning targets defined by professors to develop referencing skills, to identify the feedback practices implemented by professors, and to identify the formal evaluation practices of students’ referencing skills. Their results indicate that referencing skills are not necessarily seen as a learning target by teachers and that an indulgent approach is taken to assess them.
The thematic issue ends with three texts on plagiarism. First, by Boubée, Qu’est-ce qui détermine les étudiants à plagier : l’infrastructure informatique de Google ordinaire ou la « commodité »? (p. 56) followed by Jamieson and Moore Howard, Rethinking the relationship between plagiarism and academic integrity (p. 69), then McDonald and Adl, Stopping plagiarism through enculturation: A practice-based approach de McDonald et Adl (p. 86).
In Qu’est-ce qui détermine les étudiants à plagier?, Boubée questions, on the one hand, the use of Google by students and, on the other hand, the characteristics of the computer and information infrastructure of the search engine. According to the author, two activities are crucial from the point of view of plagiarism: the exploration of literature and the differentiation of the status of sources. The aim is to combine two dimensions, technology and information activity, to better understand the relationships between academic plagiarism and information research.
In Rethinking the relationship between plagiarism and academic integrity, Jamieson and Moore Howard retrace the evolution of the concept of academic integrity, with its changing definitions, since the 1960s. An analysis of the textual errors produced by students leads the authors to group together the various forms of cheating under the umbrella of academic integrity. Jamieson and Moore Howard also argue that pedagogy, not punishment, is the solution to copy/pasting and misquoting.
Finally, McDonald and Adl, in Stopping plagiarism through enculturation, analyze the effects of the ALTE (Academic Literacies Training in English) method to help students develop their citation skills. From an enculturation perspective, the authors seek to instill academic values, particularly intellectual property, in students. According to the authors, the ALTE method, which adopts a practice-based approach, is useful in reducing inadvertent plagiarism.