Do your students copy chunks of text from the internet claiming they didn’t know that they “cannot back up (their) viewpoint on the topic by reffering to different resources” or that they thought “copying for students is normal” (these are genuine responses from students informed that I will not be accepting their work due to plagiarism). Oh well, welcome to the club then! But why all this fuss since plagiarism has always existed?
According to dictionary.com, plagiarism is “an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author”1https://www.dictionary.com/browse/plagiarism, intentionally or unintentionally, like Jessica Johnson whose only fault was her sloppy notes and the lack of proper referencing (see the article How serious is essay plagiarism? here). Unfortunately, the Internet has made it much more tempting and a lot easier. So, how can teachers quickly check if their students’ work is genuine.
My number one for quick checks is Copyleaks. As all my students submit their written work via G-drive as google doc, I use it as a Google doc add-on giving me free credits every month to use. So far, free option has been more than enough. Try it for free by clicking this link. There is an app and a desktop version of the program too.
In the short clip below, you will see how quickly the document is scanned and a report launched. In the report, you will see a pie chart indicating original fragment and a big chunk of plagiarised content. You will also see the sources used by a student with highlighted fragments as copied.
There are three more online checkers which I really like. They are simple, fast and reliable. I compared the results given by all three and, although they indicated slightly different percentage of the content plagirised, they directed to the same resources used by the student. Below a playlist with three short clips demonstrating how the programs worked on the same text. Unicheck, Quetext and Smallseotools.
The good thing about these tools is that they might be used by students to avoid unintentional plagiarism (or am I too ambitious?). You need to check yourself which of these tools would work for you and your students. If you want to explore more options, check the tools recommended by Richard Byrne’s here or Jennifer Scottson’s post on EmerginEdTech website.
You might be interested in a blendspace I prepared for classes about copyright and plagiarism. Feel free to use it.
So, have fun detecting!