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Plagiarism 1 Running head: REDUCING PLAGIARISM WITH TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS Reducing Plagiarism with Technology Solutions Kristi N. Garrett The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa Plagiarism 2 Is the occurrence of plagiarism an oversight or intentional deception? Course after course, students within the education system are reprimanded for plagiarism and it continues without showing signs of ceasing with the increased use of the Internet. The 2008 United States vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, was recently marked as using the words from one of Newt Gingrich’s articles as words of her own. An article in the Huffington Post states that Palin did give credit to Gingrich at the beginning and end of her speech and she did not use exact phrases, but instead paraphrased which is not considered plagiarism among the masses. With this being a media highlight, it offers questions about what constitutes plagiarism and how to diminish this issue within our education system. According to Olivas and Thompson (2008), plagiarism occurs when the original owner of a source of ideas, opinions, theories, facts, or words is not given recognition. However, if the information is considered common knowledge and can be found in multiple reference sources, such as, dictionaries, encyclopedia, or almanacs, then citation is not required. In effort to reduce plagiarism, different software is now available to help identify illegal use of words. Let us first take a look at how plagiarism has been transformed into Internet businesses, therefore requiring the education systems to take more drastic approaches. With the wide range of information available on the Internet, the use of “Paper Mills” is becoming the new phenomena. Ronald Roach (1998) explains paper milling as a method of selling research, essays, and other forms of pre-written class documents to desperate students with the use of the Internet. In order to understand the paper mill method, a quick overview of a couple available paper mills is worth mentioning. Plagiarism 3 AcaDemon, Bookrag, and 123HelpMe are three competitors in the paper milling industry that offer pre-written documents that are available to the student consumer (see sites for AcaDemon, Bookrag, and 123HelpMe, 2009). Bookrag.com reports that their site contains over 8.3 million pages of content available to their consumers. 123HelpMe.com reports that their site contains over 3,000 essays, narratives, and research documents. AcaDemon has reportedly been buying and selling documents from a student clientele of over 120,000 since 2000. The cost of pre-written documents on these sites range from around $17 and above depending on the required time span and the page quantity. There are several Internet sites available to desperate students, for which the students fail to do a quality validation check on the pre-written documents for plagiary, therefore requiring instructors to become more informed on how to use plagiarism prevention tools. One of the more familiar plagiarism software tools that detect plagiarism is called TurnItIn. TurnItIn is designed to assist the instructor with preventing oversight of citation in documents. As an online instructor for Virginia College Online, I have had the opportunity to use TurnItIn for my classes and found it to be useful, yet it contains other features that could require more in depth training for instructors whom are less technology savvy. The way that the tool works is by having the students submit their work into the TurnItIn repository. Virginia College Online actually had the tool linked within the course management system, Angel, so that the instructor could create a folder in TurnItIn for the applicable assignment. Other course management systems that support TurnItIn are Blackboard, WebCT, Moodle, and Desire2Learn. When the instructor is ready to grade the assignments he/she can perform a scan that displays results based on originality, in which the instructor can allow the student to see the results, Plagiarism 4 therefore providing an opportunity for the student to include the proper citations before their final submission. According to a study done by Gregory (2002) at the University of Maine, TurnItIn did not uncover all recognizable material. In his findings, TurnItIn was limited in its ability to detect and flag plagiarized material from the following source material: password protected sites, PDF files, foreign languages, with the exception of some Spanish. Therefore, this makes it more tempting for students to use paper milling sites like AcaDemon, Bookrag, and 123HelpMe because the commonality of these sites is that they require a user name and password in order to access and place orders, as a result the inability of some of the plagiarism prevention tools to search theses sites makes it harder for instructors to reduce plagiarism in their classes. Below is a screenshot of a sample originality report from a TurnItIn tutorial. The red and green text in the left column matches Internet sites that contain the same text. The right column corresponds with the numbered text in the left column and also includes the percentage of the text match with that of the Internet site. Source number one shows that it is a 31% match from www.users.bigpond.com. Therefore, it can be concluded that this verbiage was copied from the Internet site. However, TurnItIn does not show if this information was properly cited, so the instructor would need to perform a citation validation. Plagiarism 5 Figure 1: TurnItIn Originality Report provided by www.turnitin.com Another plagiarism detection tool is SafeAssign (also known as MyDropBox). According to the Internet website, SafeAssign (2009) was developed by and is available on the Blackboard course management system with a free trial version. Kanner and Fiedler (2008) did a study on TurnItIn and SafeAssign, in which they concluded that both lacked sufficient ability to identify plagiarism of password protected databases. In a comparison of the same set of papers, “SafeAssign missed 8 out of 13 plagiarized papers and TurnItIn missed 9 out of 13” (Kanner and Fielder, 2008, p. 187). This reflection shows that neither tool is capable of identifying 100% of plagiarism. Below is a screenshot of a sample originality report provided by SafeAssign. Notice the yellow highlighted portions in the report represent material that is flagged as plagiarized information from a paper mill source. The green highlighted portion was flagged as information from an Internet source. Again, the instructor would need to perform a quality check on the student’s paper in order to determine if the proper citations were included. Plagiarism 6 Figure 2: SafeAssign Originality Report provided by www.safeassign.com In a world saturated with technology, educators are challenged with identifying pedagogy techniques that will help educate students on plagiary prevention, although, there seems to be a lack of concern amongst many of our students in regards to plagiarism, therefore requiring alternate means of addressing the issue. Students do not realize that they are cheating themselves out of learning the proper techniques for essay and research writing. The desire for fast and easy “microwave” results is the driving force for our society, which seems to decrease the desire and value of a true pedagogical experience. Technology has opened the doors to better assist our educators, but the workload is increasing which limits pedagogical preparation and forces the educators to become more of quality managers over their classes. A key solution is providing more technology focused training for educators in order to preserve the merit of our education system. Plagiarism 7 References AcaDemon. (2009). AcaDemon. Retrieved July 17, 2009 from www.AcaDemon.com Bookrags. (2009). Bookrags. Retrieved July 17, 2009 from www.Bookrags.com Gregory, J. (2002). Ensuring academic integrity in the age of the Internet: Evaluating a web- based analytic tool. [Electronic version]. IEEE Conference Processings, 2, 1363 – 1364. Kanner, C., Fielder, R. (2008). A cautionary note on checking software engineering papers for plagiarism. [Electronic version]. IEEE Transactions, Volume 51, Issue 2, 184 – 188. Lathrop, A., Foss, K.E. (2000). Student cheating and plagiarism in the Internet era. Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, LLC. Olivas, T. &Thompson, S. (2008). Plagiarism Prevention for Students. Retrieved July 16, 2009 from http://library.csusm.edu/plagiarism/ Roach, R. (1998). Diverse: Issues in higher education. Retrieved July 13, 2009 from http://www.diverseeducation.com/artman/publish/article_8721.shtml Weiner, R. (2009, June). Palin denies plagiarism. Retrieved July 13, 2009, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/08/palin-denies-plagiarism-c_n_212439.html 123HelpMe. (2009). 123HelpMe. Retrieved July 17, 2009 from http://www.123helpme.com/privacy.asp
"Running head REDUCING PLAGIARISM WITH TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS"