Plagiarism Detection and Prevention

Image of stop cut and paste

With open access to many resources in the internet, students might unintentionally copy and paste or use other people’s work withoutproper citation. In some cases, under pressure, students might intentionally plagiaries; task, time and grade pressures could motivate students to plagiarize (Stover & Kelly, 2005). To help students in understanding academic integrity, instructors need to provide clear expectations, refer to institutional polices on academic integrity, and utilize the use of plagiarism detection software.

Plagiarism Detection Software:

For example, Turnitin.com is software that checks the originality of papers, enables peer assessment and provides online grading capabilities (iParadigms, LLC, 2013). Another software, EVE2 which is an essay verification software (CaNexus.com, n.d.). The software searches the internet for suspected sites; it then sends a report to the instructor with any similarities (CaNexus.com, n.d.). A quick Google search provided many plagiarism detection tools available to students like WriteCheck and Grammarly which is also checks spelling and grammar.

Designing Assessments:

To prevent academic dishonesty, instructors could develop assignments that are based on students’ collaboration, incorporating real-life expectations (Laureate Educations Inc., n.d.). While plagiarism rates in online courses are similar to the traditional courses (Laureate Education Inc., n.d.), assessment strategies in online courses should be different from traditional courses. To elaborate, traditional exams are not effective in the online learning environments; it requires many strategies like the use of remote proctoring, retina scan and thumb printing (Laureate Education Inc., n.d.). Assessments designed for online learning needs to be authentic and challenge the students to use their research skills by discovering the answers and working with others to develop meaning and solutions (Laureate Education Inc., n.d.). These are skills required in real-life situations in the workplace. Personally, now as a graduate student, I prefer the assessments that help me to develop new skills, which then help me to find proper solutions or analysis to various authentic situations and promote the use of higher order thinking. In my undergraduate years, I found some exams that tested knowledge and memorization somewhat intimidating; maybe it was the design of the assessment or because exams were the widespread practice in assessing students’ learning and students usually got tense.

Facilitation Strategies:

A magnifier on a copyright wordInstructors need to apply effective facilitation strategies to help students in understanding the meaning of plagiarism and to prevent students from unintentional plagiarism when possible. If the instructor suspects a cheating incident, he/she could confront the students (Laureate Education Inc., n.d.) offline through email or a phone call; he/she could try to understand the reasons and inform the students about the implications. More important, is that he/she start early in the online course to educate students about the fair use, copyright and plagiarism (Laureate Education Inc., n.d.).

Additional Considerations:

Jocoy and DiBiase (2006) suggested that instructors could implement and expectation management plan which is a combination of ensuring that the students understand the institutional policies and procedures about plagiarism. Additionally, to assume that the incidents happening are due to lack of understanding of the aspects of plagiarism (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006).

In conclusion, effective instructional strategies could prevent plagiarism. Instructors need to provide clear expectations with reference to institutional polices in the beginning of the course; they could include this reference in the syllabus and communicate it to students through the announcements. More important, is the design of authentic assessments that could promote collaboration and application of real-life skills. In the future, when facilitating online courses, I would consider these kinds of assessments rather than the tests and exams.

References:

CaNaxus.com. (n.d.). EVE Plagiarism Detection System. Retrieved from http://www.canexus.com/
iParadigms, LLC. (2013). Turnitin products: FAQs. Retrieved from http://turnitin.com/en_us/products/faqs
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.
Laureate Education Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). Plagiarism and cheating [Video podcast]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_2098594_1%26url%3D
[Untitled image with a magnifier lens on a copyright word]. Retrieved April 11, 2013 from http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/technology-blog/copyright-infringement-claim-brings-down-democratic-national-convention-154802666.html

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Impact of Technology and Multimedia

Impact of Technology and Multimedia on Online Learning Environments

Globe attached to a computer mouse

One of the important best practices for teaching online is the use of a variety of activities that engage group and individual work experiences; these activities could be synchronous and asynchronous (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). In general, the delivery of online instruction should incorporate interactions between students, instructor and content (Keengwe & Kidd, 2010). Therefore, technology should be used to enable collaboration among students (Laureate Education Inc., n.d.) and engage them in a meaningful learning experience. Technology tools could offer an enhanced learning experience. It promotes interactivity; thus, promotes students’ engagement in the online environment (Roblyer & Wiencke, 2003).

Considerations before Implementing Technology

Before implementing technology in online environments, instructors need to examine the learning objectives, and how the technology could support these objectives (Laureate education Inc., n.d.). Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, and Zvack (2012) presented four steps that instructors need to consider when selecting technologies for online instructions. They are:

Step 1: Assessing available instructional technologies
Step 2: Determine learning outcomes
Step 3: Identify learning experiences and match each to the most appropriate available technology
Step 4: Preparing the learning experience for online delivery
(Simonson et al., 2012, p. 115-118).

Another crucial consideration, in terms of students’ readiness, is to make sure that students have equal access to technology. For example, students in rural areas may have slow internet connection (Laureate Education Inc., n.d.).

Usability and Accessibility

In an online learning environment, students need to have equal access to course content and should experience the same engagement in online learning environments. Cooper, Colwell, and Jelfs (2007) stated “improved accessibility for disabled users promotes usability for all” (p. 232). Technology could help in presenting information in multiple formats, it could provide students with multiple means to express themselves and could create multiple ways of engagement; all are major principles for Universal Design for Learning (UDL) (CAST, 2012). Utilizing technology tools through this set of principles could give students “equal opportunities to learn” (CAST, 2012).

Technology Tools for the Future

As I progress in the instructional design career, I believe that I could consider the use of mobile devices in online learning. Currently, as a student, I find accessing the course through my cell phone and tablet a great way to keep me informed with what is going on in the course. I could also respond to posts in the discussion board and access my email to look for relevant messages about the course. The 2013 NMC Horizon Report for Higher Education explained that tablets are currently utilized in higher education; students could download educational applications and access content everywhere; additionally, these applications could ease the students’ social connectivity (Johnson, Adams Becker, Cummins, Estrada, Freeman, and Ludgate, 2013). Many of the web 2.0 tools have corresponding mobile applications like the aggregators, blogs and wikis (Laureate Education Inc., n.d.). This makes it easier for students to communicate and connect with the course. Another tool that I found very effective is Twitter; it created a learning community for me to get ideas and best practices in instructional design. This is a tool that I would utilize for the online learning communities.

Effective Online Instructional Strategies

Smart Phones

When implementing effective online instructional strategies, I will be looking at how technology could support the learning outcomes. Additionally, I will be looking into the usability of the tools how the technology tool could promote learning. Audio and videos are components that could provide an alternative way to develop content; however, these tools should not replicate the face-to-face experience; rather, it should be concise and supplement course content (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). Any technology tools should be equally available to all students; for example, videos need to have transcripts and closed caption ability. This will not only respond to accessibility needs but will enhance the usability of the tools for all students. Finally, we should not assume that students know all the technology tools; we should provide resources and tutorials to help students in navigating the tool and understanding its potential.

 

References:

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

Cooper, M., Colwell, C., & Jelfs, A. (2007). Embedding accessibility and usability: Considerations for e-learning research and development projects. ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology, 15(3), 231-245.

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Estrada, V., Freeman, A., and Ludgate, H. (2013). NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2013-horizon-report-HE.pdf

Keengwe, J., & Kidd, T. T. (2010). Towards best practices in online learning and teaching in higher education. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 6(2), 534-541.

Laureate Education Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). Enhancing the online experience [Video podcast]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_2098594_1%26url%3D

Roblyer, M. D., & Wiencke, W. R. (2003).Design and use of a rubric to assess and encourage interactive qualities in distance courses. American Journal of Distance Education, 17(2), 77-98.

Rose, D. H., Harbour, W. S., Johnston, C. S., Daley, S. G., & Abarbanell, L. (2006). Universal design for learning in postsecondary education: Reflections on principles and their application. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 19(2), 17.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

[Untitled image of mobile devices]. Retrieved April 4, 2013 from http://www.busyevent.com/making-a-technology-decision-for-your-event-at-the-last-minute-9-things-to-consider/

[Untitled image of the globe attached to a computer mouse]. Retrieved April 4, 2013 from http://www.useoftechnology.com/information-technology/