Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of ideas, words, or illustrations produced by other authors (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006).
With the growing field of online education, instructors have now the challenge of using tools to detect plagiarism in the online assessments and educational activities that students submit in the online environment.
Fortunately, there are many software tools available in the market to help instructors in detecting the reproduction of ideas without proper use of citations and referencing to the original source of information. Some of these software are (Pappas, 2013):
- Dupli checker.
- Plagiarism Checker.
However, instructors should first try to find ways to prevent plagiarism and cheating by designing learning activities and assessments that incorporate collaboration and discourage cheating (Laureate Education Producer, 2010).
For example, assessments could be open book exams instead of closed book exams where learners are expected to remember content by the top of their heads. Other type of assessments could be working on projects where students have to apply the concepts into a more realistic situation and where they have to interact and collaborate with others to achieve the results. These assessments are even closer to the real life situations that students will face when they are working and they will have availability of information. But they will need to prove skills in other areas such as communication, collaboration, and working in teams who are encouraged in collaborative tasks or projects. Instructors could also help learners in using proper citation and referencing techniques to use content from others but always respecting copyrights and sharing the real source of the information. And finally instructors could use the help of librarians to find tutorials about plagiarism and guide students in researching techniques that are so critical for the learning process in the face-to-face and online environments.
Other ways to prevent plagiarism is to guide students in the code of conducts or the honesty policies of the institution. This information should be available and discussed with the students during the first week of the course. Additionally, instructors can add in their welcome messages a couple of sentences to let students know that the instructor is there to help because it is the best interest the success of the student and if there are difficulties, the instructor can assist the learner to overcome obstacles.
Jocoy, C., & DiBiase, D. (2006). Plagiarism by adult learners online: A case study in detection and remediation. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 7(1), 1-15. Retrieved from the Walden Library using the Education Research Complete database.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Plagiarism and cheating [Video file].
Pappas, C. (2013). Top 10 Free Plagiarism Detection Tools For eLearning Professionals (2017 Update). Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/top-10-free-plagiarism-detection-tools-for-teachers