As noted by (Jocoy, & DiBiase 2006) The Council of Writing Program Administrators states that “Plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) materials without acknowledging its source” (as cited in Quinn, 2006). Note; while other forms of academic dishonesty certainly exist; this effort is confided to exploration of how online instructors can manage and respond to incidences of plagiarism.
Several methods of quantifying the prevalence of plagiarism at the collegiate level exist. However, each method produces radically different results. For example, a table listing previous studies compiled by (Jocoy, & DiBiase 2006) reports the following rates amongst first-year college students who were asked to self-report if they had previously committed plagiarism: 3%, 13%, and 21%. One could speculate that the 3% figure is an outlier stemming from fear of recrimination. Fortunately, more accurate methods of detection exist.
Of the many forms of plagiarism detection software, (Ewing, Anast, & Roehling 2015) cite a study by (Hill and Page 2009) identifying “Turnitin” as being the most accurate and trustworthy due to both higher detection rates and fewer false positive hits. According to (Ewing, Anast, & Roehling 2015) studies quantifying the rate of plagiarism using this software report rates between 12.8-14.8%. Certainly, the utilization of plagiarism detection software is a step in the right direction. Yet, in the video file (Laureate Education 2010) Dr.’s Palloff and Pratt prescribe a more holistic three-pronged approach to the prevention and detection of plagiarism.
First, create awareness of the problem, as students are not always aware of what constitutes plagiarism. Second, create an environment that rewards hard work and frowns upon all forms of academic dishonesty. Finally, employ detection software and confront students who cheat directly. To allow for an initial adjustment period, (Laureate Education 2010) Dr.’s Palloff and Pratt suggest making first-time offenders rewrite the offending papers to include required citations. Thereafter, they recommend a reduction of one grade point based on the severity of the offence.
Ewing, H., Anast, A., & Roehling, T. (2015). Addressing plagiarism in online programmes at a health sciences university: A case study. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 1-11.
Jocoy, C., & DiBiase, D. (2006). Plagiarism by Adult Learners Online: A case study in detection and remediation. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 7(1), 1-15. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Plagiarism and cheating [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu