What is plagiarism?
This week’s blog topic is plagiarism detection and prevention. First let’s start of by defining plagiarism. According to www.dictionary.com plagiarism is, “an act or instance of using or closely imitating language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own by not crediting the original author.” Plagiarism involves both stealing someone else’s work and then lying about it afterward.
Today there are many different software tools available for online instructors in order to help prevent plagiarism with students. Understanding the different tools will help with instructors to determine which one will work in each situation.
Some examples of detection software include:
§ Turnitin (www.turnitin.com)- this site allows for instructors to view student work against many other sources and student written papers. This program also assists with spelling and grammar mistakes.
§ Free Grammarly (www.grammarly.com)- this site allows for papers/documents to be copied and pasted into the site. The site checks for plagiarism, grammar & spelling mistakes. It checks over 2 billion documents for plagiarism.
§ Scanmyessay (www.scanmyessay.com) – allows for documents to be scanned over thousands of documents, allows for an unlimited length, resubmission, a side by side comparison of documents, provides links for plagiarized work, and is free.
Effective course design practices place a high priority on designing assessment experiences that matter to the student” (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). Course assessments should be designed to align with the course goals and outcomes. Creating assessments that allow for student choice allows learners to develop a personalized and customized learning experience that requires innovative thinking (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). Instructors can provide students with guidelines to follow or rubrics to assist the development of the project. If an instructor gives clear directions for an assignment there is less room for the students to “copy and paste” from other sources.
Some different strategies that I would implement in my online course are to use tools or software such as Turnitin or Scanmyessay. Using these tools will help to identify student work that is not written in their own words. I also feel that it is important to inform students that all work will be checked through sites such as these. When students know their work is going to be checked they will be more cautious about using and citing sources.
Providing clear guidelines and consequences for plagiarism is essential in any setting. Instructors should give clear guidelines for plagiarism, cheating and using someone else’s work without crediting the author. If clear expectations are set then there is no question if they are not followed by a student throughout the course. Instructors should confront students if they suspect any type of cheating or plagiarism has taken place.
Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2013.