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 , <a href=””>,,,, 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,, and

One website lists 10 Plagiarism detectors/checkers: 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, 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 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!





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


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

Nexus, 16(2), 15-16. Retrieved from



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