Preventing Plagiarism in the Online Classroom

Plagiarism in the online classroom has become an extreme problem due to the endless amount of information available on the internet as well as the fact that most students do not have any face-to-face interaction with the instructor or classmates. Instructors have to be aware and prepared for preventing plagiarism from occurring as well as detecting it when it does. “Watson and Sottile (2010) have reported that cheating online can manifest in a number of ways including students who: (1) submit others’ work as their own, (2) receive/send answers from/to other students (by texting, using instant messaging, talking on a phone) while taking a test or quiz, (3) receive answers from a student who has already taken a test or quiz, (4) copy other students’ work without permission, (5) knowingly plagiarize from an article or book, or (6) use a term paper writing service” (Cabrera, 2013).

What plagiarism detection software is available to online instructors?

There are several different types of software available for instructors to utilize in order to detect and prevent plagiarism in the online classroom. Anti-Plagiarism, DupliChecker, PaperRater and Plagiarismchecker are a few of the plagiarism software detectors available to instructors to ensure that the students are not copying information from the internet. “As it is shown by the growing educational concerns, plagiarism has now become an integral part of our digital lives as technology, with the billions of information it gives us access to, led to the exacerbation of this phenomenon” (Pappas, 2013). Unfortunately due to the fact that it is so easy to copy information, from the internet, it is important for online instructors to have the resources to detect it and prevent it from happening.

How can the design of assessments help prevent academic dishonesty?

There are many steps that instructors can take to limit plagiarism from occurring through the design of the assessments. One way that can help reduce the problem is by assigning group assignments. “For a project to be truly collaborative, each group member should be familiar with everyone else’s work, and be able to describe how every group members’ contribution supports the whole group assignment. Students who are using the work of others may not be able to adequately describe the significance of their ‘own’ work, or how it integrates with the group’s overall project” (Cabrera, 2013). A student would have a much more difficult time explaining someone else’s work opposed to his or her own work as it applies to the group assignment. Instructors can also provide a mix of subjective and objective questions on assessments so that the student is not just answering multiple choice questions but is having to explain his or her thinking. Using objective assessments makes it much easier for students to cheat opposed to subjective questions where they are having to explain the reason and show their understanding of the goals and objectives.

What facilitation strategies do you propose to use as a current or future online instructor?

The facilitation strategies I propose to use as a future online instructor to decrease plagiarism are objective questioning, group projects, assigning projects that require presentations, discussion questions as well as having students submit a plagiarism form.  Presentations encourage students to go deeper than answering objective questions and can also provide hands on experience that would not be applicable in multiple choice or true and false questioning. “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).

What additional considerations for online teaching should be made to help detect or prevent cheating and plagiarism?

An instructor should take the stand point that plagiarism and cheating will occur and take measures to prevent it before is does. In the event that it does, a plagiarism software detector should be in place so that the instructor can stop it right away. Often times, allowing the students to choose his or her topic for an assignment or project will help decrease the chances of cheating and/or plagiarism from occurring. In this respect, the student has a level of interest and will more than likely take the time to produce his or her own work. ”



Top 10 Free Plagiarism Detection Tools For Teachers

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Impact of Technology and Multimedia

What impact does technology and multimedia have on online learning environments?

Technology and multimedia, if used correctly, can turn a learning environment into an authentic way for students to get real world applications. “Research literature throughout the past decade has shown that technology can enhance literacy development, impact language acquisition, provide greater access to information, support learning, motivate students, and enhance their self-esteem.Indeed, researchers have affirmed that computer technology provides abundant opportunities for students to build or modify their personal knowledge through the rich experiences that technology affords” (O’hara &  Pritchard, 2014).  Technology and multimedia in a learning environment offers ways to meet the needs of different learning styles while creating hands learning opportunities.

What are the most important considerations an online instructor should make before implementing technology?

One of the biggest concerns to take into consideration prior to implementing technology in an online learning environment is the comfort level of the instructor. “The effect of technology on students’ access to knowledge is determined by the pedagogical knowledge and skill of teachers. Technology enables teachers with well-developed working theories of student learning to extend the reach and power of those theories; in the absence of these powerful theories, technology enables mediocrity” (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 2005).  It is extremely important for the instructor to be comfortable and knowledgable using the technology that is being provided to the learners. It is also important for the instructor to know the level of comfort amongst the learners as well as their background knowledge. Technology should also be value added in terms of meeting goals and objectives in the learning environment. There should be a reason that it is being used other than to just use it. The technology and multimedia should add to learning environment opposed to just being there because it is available or fun.

What implications do usability and accessibility of technology tools have for online teaching?

As I mentioned in my previous comments, the instructor needs to ensure that every learner has access and knowledge of the technology tools that are part of the learning environment. A survey at the beginning of a course or class should be sent out in order to determine that every student has access to the technology that is needed to take part in the activities and assignments as well as the knowledge and experience needed in order to use the technology.

What technology tools are most appealing to you for online teaching as you move forward in your career in instructional design?

There are so many options for instructional designers in terms of technology and multimedia. A few of my favorites are dreamweaver, moodle, filemaker and voice thread. As an instructional designer, it is important to consider the instructional models to determine the best fit.

I found a five step model that helps to ensure the best technology and multimedia is being used in order to meet the needs of the learners and the goals and objectives of the learning environment.


  1. “Consider – will this application/tool enhance, improve instruction or motivate learners? What similar applications/tools are there to consider?
  2. Review/revisit the learning objectives for the course or lesson
  3. Identify the content student needs to learn – review, augment and/or update content with web site, text-book, video lecture, PDF articles or other
  4. Assess the ed-tech application/tool – will it encourage students to apply the content and learn the material, construct knowledge and promote critical thinking?
  5. Select and implement the best application. Create concise instructions of how-to use tool. Allow time for learning of tool and learning of course content” (The Twenty Eleven Theme, 2012).