Plagiarism, Referencing and Pop Quiz Traps

Teaching plagiarism and referencing can be boring not only for the students but also for the lecturer. However, my colleagues had a brilliant idea! Last year they created a clicker session; alternating information about plagiarism and referencing with quiz questions the students could answer via a voting system. It works really well, particularly when being in a big lecture theater with first year students who are still too shy to engage.

When covering this topic at the beginning of the week (in another institution where clickers are not a thing) for a fairly small seminar room, revamping the session into a pop quiz seemed like a really good idea. The seminar is mainly international students, most of whom are from overseas. Therefore, I introduced the concept of a ‘pop quiz’ as part of British culture.* However, when I used the warm up exercise my colleagues devised I had neglected to consider one very important issue:


At least half of my students’ first language, in that particular seminar, is a language system that does not have letters as such. So there were two major problems. Firstly, the students did not know what was expected of them in the exercise. Secondly, they found it very difficult to solve. I had neglected to consider the cultural context for this particular task.

More detailed explaining was necessary and stronger contextualization.


Auto-ethnographic interlude without interpretation:

We even tend to have pop quizzes after conference dinners here! You can imagine my reaction at my first conference. Watching mentors and colleagues having it out with pop-(academic)-culture questions. I felt like an alien who hitched a ride in the Tardis and found herself on a completely different planet. I had no idea what everybody was talking about—as apparently is the nature of pop-culture. Not having grown up with the same TV shows, celebrities and politicians most of the questions and answers still remain a mystery to me. So you think you speak a language but still do not understand a single word of what anyone is saying.

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