Sunday, June 16, 2013

Plagiarism Detection and Prevention

What plagiarism detection software is available to online instructors?

The two most commonly used plagiarism software programs are EVE (Essay Verification  Engine) software, and My mother is an instructor for a college and she said that they have been using for many years and are happy with it. What I have found through my research is that bigger colleges either have their own data base/software program or they subscribe to a major servicer like TI. The basis of these plagiarism engines is to cross reference prior submissions to their data base. I think that all schools should use the same engine that is governed by an educational company similar to the Department of Education. The reason for this is because then all papers are submitted to one data base and will offer the biggest sampling of documents/submissions to cross reference. Both the above mentioned websites compare individual student papers to the databases. This is done to find and report instances of matching text. Turnitin catches Web plagiarism and checks sources from students’ bibliographies for plagiarism, including articles that are unavailable on the Web. Another facet of cross referencing or anti-plagiarism is the course management systems or CMS that an institution uses. Angel and Blackboard monitor and set limitations for the assigned work students do. It may limit time, date, and access points such as monitoring the I.P. address from which the user is doing the work.

How can the design of assessments help prevent academic dishonesty?

Assessments must have key components built into them clearly outlining rules, regulations and ramifications. If the design of the assessment is built well and the communication is clear and concise the student shouldn’t have any problems understanding the information. Part of the assessment design is the verbiage used in the instructions before the assignment and after the assignment. For online learners, e-assessments offer the same flexibility and feedback that the online course does. Essentially it is an extension of the online course and should be built into it.

Plagiarism is still a concern in academia. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, To “Plagiarize” means:

·         to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own

·         to use (another's production) without crediting the source
·         to commit literary theft
·         to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

One thing I noticed is that when an instructor creates questions or assignments that require or suggest the use of real life experiences or scenarios, it helps to reduce the amount plagiarisms because the information produce by the students is typically unique to them. My first online course required the use of a proctor for the four tests that I had for the course. In some instances I believe a proctor is absolutely necessary but as a result reduces the amount of flexibility associated with the course.  Proctors help to ensure that students take the assessment at a designated time, without collaborators and unauthorized materials (Rowe, 2004). Assignments can be designed to incorporate collaboration, including discussion posts and online group projects (Boettcher & Conrad, 2011).

What facilitation strategies do you propose to use as a current or future online instructor?

The video in this week’s resources revealed some great information. One of the important functions of a facilitator, “Is to educate learners about copyright, fair use, plagiarism, and cheating” (Laureate Education, n.d.). Standard operating procedures should be a mandatory requirement imposed by the educational institution such as course requirements, syllabus, and available resources such as Turnitin,, writing centers, peers and more. It is not only on the instructors and educational institutions responsibility to facilitate “clean learning” but also the student must be proactive in finding resources and asking questions for clarification and consistency.

What additional considerations for online teaching should be made to help detect or prevent cheating and plagiarism?

There questions that require unique individual responses is one way to reduce plagiarism. According to Rowe, “Drawing questions randomly for each student from a pool is one example, helping to is a plethora of methods to detect and prevent cheating and plagiarism. As mentioned before utilizing reorder multiple-choice answers randomly if possible (Rowe, 2004). In my freshmen year of my undergraduate studies our Psychology 100 course had four different versions of the same test. The test were color coded and the questions were reorder so that students could not cheat off of each other. Turnitin and other similar engines are the main source for plagiarism detection for text based submissions.


Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and 
practical pedagogical tips.
 San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). Plagiarism and Cheating [Video webcast]. Retrieved June 13, 2013 from

Rowe, N.C. (2004). Cheating in Online Student Assessment: Beyond Plagiarism.Retrieved June 13, 2013 from

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