Ilakkia Anabayan

Ilakkia Anabayan | Students of Higher Ed

My name is Ilakkia Anabayan and I'm a third-year student at Emory University. I'm studying neuroscience and behavioral biology.

I think communication around academic integrity is important—and not just communication, but I think having the conversation very candidly is also important. Oftentimes, students will just sign that they’re going to follow the honor code at the beginning of their freshman year. And I think in a similar vein, a lot of professors just say to check the syllabus.

I think it’s important for faculty to take a couple minutes and say, “Hey, let's look at this together. Let's really talk about why it's important in my classroom. And here are my expectations specifically regarding academic integrity.” I think it's important to hear that and re-emphasize it.
Ilakkia Anabayan
Student, Emory University
Texas A&M University

Maybe this wasn't as much of an issue in person, but online we've definitely seen some issues in which faculty don't give a clear set of expectations, then students make assumptions, and it snowballs into problems that could have been avoided.

Especially in the online space, when things are so crazy, classes are done so differently, exams are so different. I think a lot of it is clear communication to really have students feel empowered enough to talk to their professors about questions about academic integrity, and not having that be in any way uncomfortable for them. There might have to be more overall institutional change of how we create trust between people, even in this type of power dynamic situation.

I used Turnitin in high school. That was my first experience with it and I was directly turning in work on my own. The teacher had set up a classroom for us where we turned it in and I saw the report myself. That was very interesting. It was helpful just to see my citation and what kind of things I needed to work on to make sure I'm paraphrasing and doing all those things correctly.

My experience in college has been quite different because every time I have used it in any sort of writing class I don't see any of it. My professors set it up on the back end where if I turn in an assignment it's just automatically checking it through whatever platform they've set up. I honestly haven't had as much experience in college with Turnitin other than being on the Honor Council and seeing reports.

I hope students can realize that it's not a tool to punish people with, even though they may view it like that. The only thing they see is, "we're looking at your paper" or "we found a 20% score" and "not you're caught for plagiarism."

I think teachers should have it become more of a tool of practical use. If there's a way for students—maybe even before they turn in papers—to just run it through and check. And then if there's an issue they see, you can go back and change whatever needs to be instead of running it through on the professor’s side and then have them catch something that maybe the student could have fixed themselves. Our Honor Code has unintentional plagiarism included and students may still be sanctioned in these types of cases. It is understandable that students may be frustrated by these charges, and feel that they could have just fixed the mistake earlier.

From a student perspective, I would find it helpful to have a low stakes way to see if I cited incorrectly or if I need to go back and check attributions before I give my work to my professor for review. It is possible that by providing students the autonomy to gather this information prior to submitting work, some unintentional plagiarism may be avoided.

In a sense, it’s having students have that intermediate step before getting to the big-stakes things so they have the space to edit or have someone who's not the author spot any differences. That would be helpful.

You're still going to have to do the work up front to do it as correctly as possible, and then, if you're running into issues or you didn't catch something having kind of a safeguard there to help you go back and fix things would be helpful.
Ilakkia Anabayan
Student, Emory University
Texas A&M University

Ilakkia Anabayan
Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology Student
Emory University