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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Do you use plagiarism checkers to check the originality of your students works?

Do you use plagiarism checkers to check the originality of your students works?

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Plagiarism is so popular nowadays! It is easy to just copy paper work from Internet, some of my colleagues are using plagiarism detection tools, it is software that checks for uniqueness of the text. I was suggested to use free plagiarism checker Plagtracker.com (http://www.plagtracker.com/). I think it is important to know if student has written his essay for himself, or just has downloaded it from Internet to put him appropriate mark. What do you think about such software? Do you use it? Does it helps you to prevent plagiarism among students?

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Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia

Hey Bernard,
Good question - and an important one, I think, as it cuts to the heart of a major issue in education at this time. I think there is a real discussion going on about the value of 'content-based' essays and reports - when such content is so easily accessed via the internet.

So, to answer your question, in my own practice, I do two things:
a) Firstly, I try to set tasks in my class that are not the usual 'write a report on this or that'. These kinds of tasks are usually easily predicted and thus open to plagiarism.
b) I also use 'Turnitin' (turnitin.com) when I can't do the above. It's pretty good - and usually once someone is caught, they don't do it again!

Bradley Peterson's picture
Bradley Peterson
Founder of Clickademics - online essay writing help for students

In my middle school classroom, I had a research paper unit. Near the end, I had students run their papers through Turnitin.com. If a students had copy and pasted a paragraph here or there, I was able to show the student why it was not their own work and how to make it right. There was very little large scale plagiarism since checked their progress several times a week.

Only twice did I have students skip all of the preliminary steps and turn in a paper copy and pasted from the internet. The color-coded Turnitin report made the parent meeting pretty straight-forward. It all ended well since both students did the whole five week project all over again the right way (with a penalty). The most important thing for me was that they learned the difference between their own work and copying someone else's, which is becoming more mirky these days.

A. Andrian's picture
A. Andrian
Spanish teacher

The media specialist at my middle school has recently informed us of the website http://essaytyper.com on which you can type in the essay topic, add a little gibberish and it will create an essay based on Wikipedia.

A. Andrian's picture
A. Andrian
Spanish teacher

Having the student run their own paper through Turnitin is a great idea. Do you let them know ahead of time that they will be required to do that?

NPHSMsHarris's picture
9-12 business education teacher

I think it is important to use something to spot essay copying. At this point I use search engines, and then type a suspicious-looking sentence from the essay. I've actually had pretty good success doing this but will be trying out specific Web tools to see if that is more precise.

EduTech's picture
Plagiarism detection explorer

A good teacher will always know each student's writing style, so locating "a suspicious-looking sentence" should not be a big trouble. But isn't it easier to use a plagiarism checker to scan a whole text within a few seconds? Plus you will get an accurate report that can serve as a proof, if required. Not sure if you heard about http://www.plagiarismdetect.com, but you really should check it out.

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