Plagiarism Education Week Q&A with Teddi Fishman, the Director of the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI).
In this 2015 Plagiarism Education Week webcast, "Improvisation and Plagiarism: Fostering a Culture of Creativity," Fishman shares her thoughts on how to promote a culture of creativity through improv exercises, role-play workshops, and other student engagement activities to help students understand what is "original."
Here are Teddi's thoughts on several questions (with some links to more resources!) from our audience members:
Patricia: Do you have examples of online improv?
Teddi: So the first online resource I enjoyed on the subject of improv is a series by Wayne Brady—kind of an improve primer—on Youtube. This is the first one in the series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6E03jEmdGI (at the end of the first one, there is a link to the second, etc.) The one I spoke about in the Q&A session was this: http://www.e-mprov.com/ which is a whole website where they do improve online. This is an example (from the site) of how they do it—all via webcam. https://youtu.be/zm1lZEr1N7c .
Steve: Does fostering ideas during a trust exercise lead one to believe that plagiarism "ruins" the idea of recognizing the rightful author?
Teddi: If I understand what you're asking (and I might not) there are at least two ways that the trust exercises can help. One way is that when you talk about trust and how critical it is to successful improve, you get to open up the larger conversation about how utterly interdependent we all are, and how important it is that we cultivate communities of trust—life would truly be hell without it. The other way is that doing the trust exercises, especially when the teacher participates, is that you're not only talking about creating cultures of trust, you're engaged in living what you're talking about. The trust exercises let you talk the talk *and* walk the walk.
John: This sounds great to me, but I am an extrovert-isn't this approach disadvantageous to the shy, introverted student?
Teddi: As an introvert (recovering introvert?) myself, I was really curious about this too, and was surprised (and fascinated) by all of the information on exactly this subject. From Psychology today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/self-promotion-introverts/201310/improv-introvert I had not heard of this author before, but found the discussion fascinating: http://www.mattfotis.com/blog/why-are-introverts-good-at-improv
Grimes: Do you summarize the outcome of the improve at the end of the class?
Teddi: I spoke to this in the Q &A, but just wanted to reiterate—it depends on what the students have experienced. If they've already had a significant experience, it might actually make it less powerful . . . in the same way that talking about why a joke is funny can make it seem less so. Even in those situations, however, those experiences can become "touchstones" for later class discussions—shared experiences that become part of the "text" of the class. In other cases, you want to be sure to call attention to important things that have happened that may have gone un (or under-) noticed.
Kathie: How do we prep students to participate in this exercise?
Teddi: As I mentioned, this is new to me, so I'm going to defer to what our experts, Julian and Corey, did for us in Vancouver. They explained the principles of "yes and" and going with what has been offered. And then we did an easy collaborative trust/yes and . . . exercise. The combination of knowing just a few principles and practicing a very low-risk (but fun) game as a warm-up was enough to get us going. ☺ I will also say that most of the things I've seen and read included a physical component in their prep—stretching or moving somehow. The Wayne Brady videos linked above have some of that in the middle . . . . video 7 or 8 I think.
Linda: How long should an improv last during a class session?
Teddi: Some of the games/exercises are really short—those with just two people seem to be (potentially) shorter than the ones involving larger groups. Others can go on for a while. Like a lot of classroom exercises, I'd advise starting short. You can let them go longer if it makes sense and is going well, but trying to stretch it if it's not going well is more difficult.
Carol: Listening seems to be a really big part of improv - can you share an example of someone who didn't pay attention?
Teddi: What happens when people don't pay attention is that they impede/wreck the scene . . . the story can only progress when the people involved play off of each other . . . (We talked about this in the Q & A too, but I wanted to recap.)
I hope this is helpful! And thanks again to everyone who set this up those who participated!