Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty and integrity. Plagiarism in its true form is when an individual uses someone else’s language, ideas, or original materials without acknowledgment of the source. (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006) Plagiarism and cheating happen about as often as in traditional environments. (Laureate Education, 2010) For online education detecting and preventing plagiarism and cheating presents additional challenges and responsibilities for instructors.
As technology and online learning has become the new “norm” for education today. It has been important to use technology to verify learner’s honesty and integrity. There are many options available to learning institutions and instructors. Automatic plagiarism detection tools such as Turnitin and EVE (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006) There are many software-assistant detection programs available depending on the detection area the instructor is seeking to analyze for plagiarism or cheating. Google a free online search engine allows instructors to track copied phrases. Wikipedia offers a list of various tools to be used to detect different forms of plagiarism.
Using authentic, performance-based, or application based assessment design can reduce opportunities and help prevent academic dishonesty. (Laureate Education, 2010) These assessment designs provide information to the instructor on if the learner is able to apply or demonstrate that the knowledge or concepts have been learned. Thought authentic learning and in the process and the students’ solutions to the problem becomes an assessment of how well the students can meaningfully apply the concepts. (Mueller, 2016) It is a challenge for a student to duplicate or cheat using these designs.
There are several facilitation strategies available to online instructors. I think it is important to consider the purpose behind the strategy to decided what strategies should be used. Is it for content, citations, word usage, or cut and paste? Although manual methods of plagiarism detection can be time-consuming, I think this strategy is important to consider in some situation. An example of a student who may want to use their original work in the future may not want to use a tool such as Turnitin which will then claim that students work “Turnitin can claim (rightfully) that it already has not only this students body of paper but more than 330 million other students’ papers.” (McCracken, 2015, p. 3) As an instructor, I think the best strategy is prevention. We should verify with learners that they are aware and knowledgeable of what cheating, plagiarism, and academic integrity are. Implementing a quiz to assess the students understanding beyond written or verbal (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006) to include the understanding of cut and pasting information and content from web-based sources is a form of cheating and plagiarism.
No one is a born cheater, often students are not aware that they are actually cheating. It is important for instructors to set guidelines so that students are aware of academic integrity. Having instructor presence and knowing the students in the online community is also important. This can help instructors to detect or prevent cheating and plagiarism. It there is noticeable cheating or plagiarism then the student should be contacted by the instructor immediately (Laureate Education, 2010) Instructors have opportunities to provide feedback if there is a noticeable change in the student work or provide resources such as the writing center, library, or contact the librarian. (Laureate Education, 2010) It is the responsibility of the instructor to utilize all plagiarism detection tools and resources available to the learner while using learning strategies to deter or prevent cheating and plagiarism. Student expectations and consequences should be clearly presented on academic dishonesty and plagiarism prior to class.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Plagiarism and cheating[Video file].
Jocoy, C., DiBiase, D. (2006 ). Plagiarism by Adult Learners Online: A case study in detection and remediation. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Vol 7, Iss 1 (2006). 1, 2006. ISSN: 1492-3831.
McCracken, M. (2015).My love-hate relationship with Turnitin.
Retrieved on June 16, 2016 from: http://chronicle.com/article/My-Love-Hate-Relationship-With/232887
Mueller, J. (2016). Authentic Assessment Tool Box. Jon Mueller. Professor of Psychology, North Central College, Naperville, IL. Retrieved from: http://jfmueller.faculty.noctrl.edu/toolbox/whydoit.htm