Plagiarism in the classroom

As an instructor it is not a common problem to have plagiarism in my classroom because there is really nothing to steal. When you teach sales you figure that it is all original stuff and techniques they are using and that’s that. What I have found though is when the reps are in their stores and they access their workbooks sometimes they find the book of someone who has submitted their workbook incorrectly and it is there for anyone to read. So the rep to save on time in the back room working copies and pastes the answers so they do not have to do the research assigned. Now this can get you fired is one of the instructors finds out that this has happened which is the most severe punishment but for the most part, fitting.
For the normal everyday classroom though, plagiarism is a huge problem with students now mostly thanks to the beloved internet and its endless webs of knowledge ready and willing to give any information needed to anyone asking for it. Students today will search the internet instead of just reading their assigned materials figuring it is easier because a quick Google search and bam! There it is, all they need to know on the subject that someone else has already done their research on and posted it for posterity. Doing my research through our readings I found many references to plagiarism and how its accomplished including information about the ways cheating can make itself known. Cheating online according to Watson & Sottile can manifest in several obvious ways such as “students who submit others work as their own work, send and or receive answers from other students by texting or using an instant messaging system (like AIM or Facebook messenger) while taking a test, receive answers from a student who has already taken a test, copy from another students work without permission like looking at their neighbors paper, they can knowingly plagiarize from an article or book from physical or internet sources or they can use a term paper writing service that can be paid for to write an original paper for them” (Cabrera, 2013).
To battle against plagiarism there are several checkers that can be used online or software’s that can be purchased. For example, Walden University uses Turnitin as a way to check for plagiarism by having students submit their paper through their software first. Other software’s that are mostly free besides either donations or larger access by buying subscriptions like Viper or Plagtracker can help online instructors know what is new and what has been borrowed. Online instructors should already have a tool ready to use and have used it themselves to test its accuracy before starting their class.
How can the design of assessments help prevent academic dishonesty? The assessments are to assess ones knowledge of the information gathered in class and if someone cheats then you do not know what the student really learned if anything. Assessments must be something that asks questions that the answers are not radially available to b searched. Be based on the learnings but base it on other factors or things that do not follow knowing the basic information. Assessment should be hard and test beyond the simple principles of the class so cheating would be harder to accomplish removing the assumed.
As a facilitator I propose the use of group projects as the number one way to avoid plagiarism. Working together will cause people to stay honest with more than just themselves watching. Also another way is to assign projects that require presentations and discussion questions to make the student more accountable for their research because there is no way to use someone else’s work when you have to present it in front of everyone in class. Presentations especially encourage students to perform a more accurate research because others are going to view this information and judge it. “To further scrutinize work on the presentation, students may be asked to include time for questions and answers. Students who have developed the presentation should be comfortable answering a range of topic-related questions” (Cabrera, 2013).
Facilitators need to prepare for the possibility of plagiarism and remove the temptation by designing the classroom experience based on that premise. There has to be lines drawn and set so that there is little chance for someone to cheat in class. I feel that its best to trust, but I feel better if there is just less temptation in class, set them up to succeed and not fail.
References:
http://elearningindustry.com/top-10-free-plagiarism-detection-tools-for-teachers
http://facdevblog.niu.edu/onlinecheating

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