Thursday, October 10, 2013

Plagiarism Detection and Prevention

Plagiarism is a type of violation of academic integrity (Jacoy & DiBiase, 2006).  Whenever a writer deliberately uses someone else’s ideas, languages, or other original material without acknowledging the source they have committed plagiarism (Jacoy & DiBiase, 2006).  Instructors and administrators involved in online distance education are concerned with detecting and fighting plagiarism (Jacoy & DiBiase, 2006).  Although plagiarism and cheating is a great concern there are ways to prevent it from happening as often as it does.       

There are several different software available to help detect plagiarism and cheating.  Dr. Rena Palloff stated in the video, Plagiarism and Cheating, learners cheat in an online environment about as often as they do in a traditional classroom setting.  Some sources to detect plagiarism are thumbprints, retina scans, video cameras, remote proctoring with cameras (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.).  In addition to those sources the software discussed by Jacoy and DiBiase (2006) is Essay Verification Engine (EVE) and which is used by Walden University.  Turnitin checks Web plagiarism and sources from learner’s bibliographies but Braumoeller and Gaines (2001) examines web sources only (Jacoy & DiBiase, 2006).  Turnitin seems to be the better source in my opinion because you can choose Websites you may want to exclude from scanning an assignment because work from learners can already be online in an ePortfolio file or some other Web-based site (Jacoy & DiBiase, 2006).   

In addition to software there is also the strategy of designing assessments to help prevent academic dishonesty.  To help prevent academic dishonesty instructors can do the following to ensure integrity:

  • Design assessments to incorporate collaboration and discourage cheating
  • Educate learners about copyright, fair use, plagiarism and cheating
  • Mare sure assessments mirror real-life expectations (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.)
Facilitation strategies I plan to use as an online instructor in the future is to have an assignment or icebreaker concerning plagiarism and cheating to see what my learners really know about the subjects.  Give them literature within the syllabus about plagiarism and cheating and make sure the design of my assignments contributes more to collaboration will be a deterrent to them wanting to plagiarize or cheat.   

Additional considerations that should be made to help prevent plagiarism and cheating in an online environment are for instructors to perhaps remove our thinking of plagiarism and cheating and think more towards collaboration (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.).  Using sources such as librarians and writing centers can also help learners to reduce their chances of violating academic integrity (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.).  I feel that educating learners about what is permissible through collaboration at the beginning of a course will be the best deterrent of violating academic integrity.   

Through our media presentation this week (Plagiarism and Cheating) I learned something I honestly did not know, was surprised to find it out and I don’t quite agree with which was using an original piece of work that I have done myself in another course is considered plagiarism (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.) if I use it in another course.  From what I have read this week I believe I would have to site myself as the source of anything that I would use from a previous class.  Again, collaborating and being knowledgeable of what is permitted and what is not is the main key to preventing plagiarism and cheating.  


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, Inc. (n.d.). Plagiarism and cheating.