Plagiarism Detection and Prevention

In our ever advancing technological era. It seems that cheating and plagiarism are still alive and well. It may even be easier due to the ability to cut and paste. It may also be that it is actually more visible because it is online. (Laureate Education, 2010). In order to avoid using sources as your own work, simply correctly cite resources you have used, providing you have at least some information, using tools online such as www.sonofcitation.com , <a href=”http://www.easybib.com”>www.easybib.com, www.citationmachine.net, www.bibme.org, www.citefast.com, www.citationcreation.com to name a few. With online tools available, there really is no excuse not to have a Resources or References page.

 

Plagiarism detection software is available and in use, do not think otherwise. Some software available are www.turnitin.com, http://plagiarisma.net, and http://www.grammarly.com.

One website lists 10 Plagiarism detectors/checkers: http://elearningindustry.com/top-10-free-plagiarism-detection-tools-for-teachers. There are many more available. For some of these checkers/detectors, it depends on the content.

 

According to Dan Carbera’s article Tips to Reduce the Impact of Cheating in Online Assessment found on http://facdevblog.niu.edu/onlinecheating, there are steps for preventing and reducing cheating on tests and homework assignments.

 

For testing:

  • Purposefully Select Assessment Methods
  • Mix Objective and Subjective Questions
  • Use Question Pools
  • Randomize Questions
  • Limit Feedback
  • Set Timer
  • Display Questions One At A Time

 

For Homework:

  

  • Create Application Assignments
  • Create Group Assignments
  • Create Assignments that Require Presentations
  • Check for Plagiarism using SafeAssign
  • Use Discussion Assignments
  • Include Academic Integrity Policy Statement in the Course Syllabus

 

With these designs in mind, it may reduce the instances of cheating, but won’t completely eradicate it. Is it 100% preventable? In my opinion, it is 95% possible if we educate students on fair use, copy right, etc. If in doubt, ask a Librarian! (Laureate Education, Producer. 2010).

 

As a future online instructor, I plan on using whatever the university / company has in place first, if they have one. I have http://plagiarisma.net downloaded to my computer and will utilize that as a tool as well. As far as testing and homework – for an educational setting, I really like Dan Cabrera’s list. Some of these (for testing and creating homework assignments) I have thought of and used. I think they worked well and the students had to have the knowledge to answer the questions. I do not mind open book or open note testing. I prefer it as it lessens the testing anxiety. They still need to know their way around the material as it will have a time limit.

 

I like this statement. “If students trust their teachers – to help them learn, and not to penalise them unfairly – they are much more likely to put energy into their studies” (Martin, 2004). I feel if an instructor can get to “know” their students in the beginning of class and build up a level of comfort and trust, they will more than likely do their own work. Having positive and constructive feedback fuels my cells. I know my ideas are seen and heard. If someone reading them likes what I have to say, that is just a bigger boost to “be me” and to keep doing a good job or better with the posts / assignments. Having policies and rubrics in place, rules to follow and be guided by, is a great help. One knows where they stand. If ever in doubt, JUST ASK!

 

 

References

 

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

 

Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Plagiarism and cheating [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

 

Martin, B. (2004). Plagiarism: policy against cheating or policy for learning. 

Nexus, 16(2), 15-16. Retrieved from http://www.bmartin.cc/pubs/04nexus.htm

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Impact of Technology and Multimedia on Online Learning

Most everything we do in today’s world has some form of multimedia involved. We consistently access them 24/7, 365. In an online learning environment such as Walden U where classes are asynchronous, it is imperative to use multimedia in oder to transfer knowledge to the students. Much of what is learned is through videos, reading, blogging, writing posts, pictures, animations, music, etc. We learn from the world around us in a highly technological age.

One of the most important considerations an online instructor should make before implementing a new technology is ease of use. Are the instructor and the institution familiar with the tool? Can the instructor give basic direction or troubleshoot an issue regarding the technology? If not, is the IT department capable of doing so? Some of the more well known tools we use are texting and instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter, email, wikis, blogs, and YouTube. For many, these are “basic” tools and can navigate them with relative ease. All of these tools require some level of being able to use a keyboard to type and interact with a computer. Having the ability to use these “basics” will help a student in an online learning environment with posting to discussion boards and posting the homework.

The most appealing technolgy tools for online learning are those that are “user friendly”. I would not want my students to be frustrated at having to learn a new technology if I were not familiar with it also. I like blogs as they can be accessed by groups and individual students. Wikis are great for collaboration and storing the information. Texting and Instant Messaging are great if one needs an answer ASAP.

One of the things that I learned was that there does not need to be a lot of different technologies presented for each course. USe one to three and keep it simple to avoind frustrtions. After all, in an online environement, it is quite possible, highly probable, that there will be non-English speakers as students. If I, as the instructor, cannot explain or guide a student regarding a particular technology or multimedia tool in my native English, how will I be able to do so for a non-English speaker? (Boettcher, 2010).

Without the technologies and multimedia tools available today, our online learning environments would be more like the old correspondence courses with limited to no interaction. If that were the case, it would be better to be back in a brick and mortar environment where there would be human interaction and an exchange of ideas and learning.

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