Global News recently reported that the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada has posted a one minute video that it hopes will dissuade its students from plagiarizing.
The video, simply entitled “Plagiarism Rap (Cite Your Sources)” is a rap video where every line is a reference to an external work. As the video progresses, it cites each line with text on the screen, moving along until almost the entire screen is taken up by citations.
The references range from pop culture themes such as Breaking Bad, Jay Z and Star Wars but also includes a slew of references from classical literature such as Walt Whitman, Emily Bronte and Shakespeare. The short rap concludes with the line, “Cite your sources like a freaking adult.”
The video is part of a larger push by the school to get students talking about plagiarism and cheating. To that end, the school says the video has been a success. Despite the more comedic approach, faculty feels it’s done well to get students talking about the subject and, hopefully, it will help them avoid any missteps.
Schools have long sought ways to engage students on the subject of plagiarism and those efforts have traditionally been met with mixed results. Though most schools offer basic primers on the subject of plagiarism and citation, these fundamentals often get lost among the chaos of other first-year activities.
Humor, in general, is a great way to break through the noise and reach students. Even if the video doesn’t provide much information on how to cite sources, just that it is important to do so, it still gets students talking and interested in learning more on their own.
The school has had some issues with plagiarism in the past. In 2011, a medical dean at the school admitted to plagiarizing in a speech that he gave and the investigation caused controversy due to its lack of transparency.
However, efforts such as this one are a great way to turn the reputation of the school around and show that it is trying to be aggressive and creative on the topic of plagiarism.
HuffPost Alberta posted some additional videos.