Plagiarism Detection and Prevention

What plagiarism detection software is available to online instructors?

Stealing work from someone else and telling people it’s your own, is stealing. This is plagiarism. Plagiarism is the “act of using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person” ( When someone plagiarizes, it can damage his or her reputation and trustworthiness. In teaching graphic design, I discuss plagiarism a lot with my students. I always ask them, how would you feel if someone took your work offline and call it their own? How would you feel if someone received all the credit for something they did not contribute to, nor make; and you received none?

 Plagiarism is a type of violation of academic integrity. Instructor’s ability to detect plagiarism has improved dramatically in the last decade (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006). Software teachers can use to detect plagiarism issues of text is Grammarly. This software not only detects plagiarism issues, it also proofreads the entire text and offers the option to correct various types of grammatical errors.

Check it out by visiting Grammarly (

How can the design of assessments help prevent academic dishonesty?

Although is may be very hard to fully prevent cheating, there are a few things instructors can put into use to reduce cheating in online courses. For one, instructors can include short answer or essay questions on tests. These type of questions are more personal in nature and will require a deeper understanding of the subject matter being tested.

Using question pools is another method teachers can use to eliminate cheating. Of course, there must be a large number of questions in a group in order for pools to be effective. A pool will generate an assessment with randomized questions that can consist of true and false, multiple choices, matching, and or fill in the blank questions. From this, students will end up with a variability of questions.

Another feature a teacher could use is randomizing questions. I use this a lot in my courses that are in Moodle and Blackboard. In both Moodle and Blackboard, there’s a test option that allows the instructor to randomize the test questions as well as, the order in which they appear. This feature also prevents students from receiving the same questions or possible in the same order, if they are repeating a test.

In an effort to reduce the opportunity for plagiarism or cheating, what facilitation strategies do you propose to use as a current or future online instructor? What additional considerations for online teaching should be made to help detect or prevent cheating and plagiarism?

To reduce the opportunity for plagiarism or cheating, I recommend the following:

  1. Require students to cite their work.
  2. Use plagiarism checkers such as Turnitin and Grammerly.
  3. Use short answer questions on tests that will require students to write in their own words.
  4. Use the randomizing questions features in learning management systems such as Blackboard and Moodle.
  5. Show one question at a time for tests.
  6. Prevent students from backtracking; basically, scrolling through the entire test at one time.
  7. Add time limits to take the quiz or even add time limits to questions.
  8. At the beginning of the semester, instructors can discuss the college’s policy and process for dealing with academic dishonesty and plagiarism.
  9. List in the syllabus about the college’s academic dishonesty and plagiarism policy. This will make students aware of what comprises plagiarism and how it will be handled.



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 databases.

Types of plagiarism you should be aware of. (2017). Retrieved from


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