Conceptualising plagiarism: using Lego to construct students’ understanding of authorship and citation

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The transition from further to higher education is marked by a series of challenges for the new student, not least the requirement to learn the discourse of academic practice, and referencing as a part of that. By perceiving what it means to reference, students should also come to understand what it means to write, including the problematic areas of authorship and ownership of ideas. Academic writing and paraphrasing are demanding concepts that require the student writer to enter into the academic discourse and relinquish their hold on the worlds of a text and embrace instead the argument behind them, in a form of ‘language-game’. Taking an interpretative, dialogic approach to referencing, the inherent playfulness of learning is emphasised through the use of Lego, used as a metaphor for the students' construction of meaning and to exemplify the discipline of citation and attribution. This paper outlines a method that metaphorically and literally enables students to construct and make visible the underlying theoretical philosophy of referencing and plagiarism by using Lego as a mode of authorship, in the context of the nature of academic discourse and what it means to write. In addition, the personal, engaging nature of the activity meant that it would be a more memorable activity too.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-358
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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