Today’s students have access to a lot of information on the Internet. Along with the ease of online information gathering comes the ease of committing plagiarism. This could be due to a few factors. The first being that a student just finds it easy to cheat. The student has no interest in learning and just wants the easy way out. The second being that the student wants to learn but has no time to really invest in researching and writing due to family and/or work. The third possibility can be that the student knows that his or her grammar is not up to par and it is just easier to plagiarize.
However, instructors now days have a wealth of options in plagiarism detection software. I have not evaluated all of them but I have used Turnitin quite extensively in my online courses. Some of the other more popular plagiarism detection tools as posted on the eLearning Industry website are:
|1. Dupli Checker||Free|
|2. Copyleaks||Free 2,500 words/month|
|3. PaperRater||Free 5 pages/submission|
|4. Plagiarisma||Free versión w/limited checks|
|5. Plagiarism Checker||Free|
|6. Plagium||Free 5,000 characters/search/|
Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006, performed a study in the detection and remediation of plagiarism by adult learners. They concluded that the use of the Turnitin tool revealed in sharp increase of plagiarism when compared to the manual method of plagiarism detection. Knowing that the plagiarism tool will detect plagiarism, many students find the time to thoroughly check their papers before turning them in. However, there are other students who actually take the time to read the material and then write their papers using the obtained material more as a reminder of things that they read.
Which brings me to the topic of assessments. Online courses facilitate the use of third parties completing the work for the online students (of course for a price). Additionally, there are websites where students can view the answers of other students’ postings to the same questions. So how can these types of cheating be minimized? The University of Tasmania has a web post on just that topic. The post lists quite a few suggestions such as changing the content or type of assessment task often, and using tasks that require the students to reflect, journalise, analyse, or evaluate (University of Tasmania, 2018).
However, in the video that we had to watch this week, I have to agree with Dr. Pratt. Students should be allowed to research and copy since that is what is going to happen in the work force (Laureate Education, 2010). Students do not need to memorize large amounts of information. They need to learn how to search for quality information. This type of attitude is something that I wish my instructors had back in the 1970’s. I would have not had to spend hours cramming all my formulas and notes in font size 3 on the one sheet of paper that I was allowed to have during midterms and final exams.
I guess the only way to really deter plagiarism is to instill a sense of self-worth in the students. Teach them integrity and teach them that it is okay to get things wrong. It is through the wrong that they learn and improve. Nobody knows it all.
Jocoy, C.L., & DiBiase, D. (2006). Plagiarism by Adult Learners Online : A case study in detection and remediation.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Plagiarism and cheating [Video file]
Pappas, C. (2013). Top 10 Free Plagiarism Detection Tools For eLearning Professional (2017 Update). Retrieved 15 February 2019 from https://elearningindustry.com/top-10-free-plagiarism-detection-tools-for-teachers
University of Tasmania. (2018). Minimising Plagiarism and Cheating. Teaching & Learning. Retrieved 15 February 2019 from http://www.teaching-learning.utas.edu.au/assessment/choosing-and-designing-assessment-tasks/minimising-plagiarism-and-cheating