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Online Learning for Information Literacy: Cite and Paraphrase

A collection of online tutorials, videos, class exercises, and assessments for developing students' information literacy.

Cite and Paraphrase

Help your students with...

  • Recognizing when ideas need to be attributed to others and what is "common knowledge"
  • Identifying citation elements and document sources accurately
  • Integrating the ideas of others through quoting and paraphrasing

Class Exercise - Paraphrasing

As a class, discuss what paraphrasing is and how is it different from direct quotations. Why is paraphrasing important? After students seem to have a clear understanding of what paraphrasing is, provide them with a sample paragraph to paraphrase (Note: this could be pulled from the course readings). Have students read through the paragraph and write a paraphrase of it, including a proper in-text citation. Students can review each others paraphrases, providing feedback on what they did well, and areas for improvement. It can also be powerful if the teaching faculty member shares their paraphrase of the content, and explain the thought process that went into it.

This activity can be done in person, with students writing their paraphrases on paper or white boards, or electronically, with all students submitting their paraphrases in a Google form or a Moodle discussion forum.

Video: Citation - A (Very) Brief Introduction

What is a citation? And why do we do it?

Length: 2 minutes

Created by NC State University Libraries. This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

How do I use this?  Link directly to YouTube video:

Tutorial: Recognizing and Avoiding Plagiarism

When do you need to cite something in your own work? What does proper paraphrasing look like?

Length: 5–10 minutes

Page from Cornell University's plagiarism quiz

Created by Cornell University College or Arts and Sciences.

How do I use this?: Link directly to the online quiz ( and have students choose the "I am a guest" option.