Ed Tech Tips with E. Mosier

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Tricks for Catching Plagiarized Assignments

Overview

Several teachers can share an experience (or two) where they have either caught a student claiming another's work as their own, or had some speculation that an essay was plagiarized. Thanks to Google, and a little help from the Internet, catching the culprit is simple! The following tips and tricks are a few of my favorite FREE resources for you to check out if you feel an assignment has been plagiarized.

Google Knows Everything!

Well, maybe not everything exactly, but Google can certainly help you determine if the student's work is not their own. One of the simplest ways to do this is to type a sentence you feel might not be the student's work with quotes around it in a Google search bar. Google will then perform a search for that exact sentence online. The result will inform you what site it was from, highlight the copied text, and provide the link to the plagiarized site.

Revision History in a Google Doc

If your students have completed the assignment in Google Docs, then you have a powerful tool at your disposal. Check the Revision History! At the top of the Doc, there's a faded gray sentence that says, "Last edit was made by..." which is a link that brings up the Revision History. If you look at the bottom of the sidebar, there's a "Show More Detailed Revisions" button. That provides a list of edits for the entire document after each save. If a student goes from no paragraphs to 3 paragraphs in about a minute, you know there's some copying and pasting happening!

DraftBack

I covered this in last week's Ed Tech Tips, but this is an extension if you want to see what types of revisions have taken place on a Google Doc. Once you enable the Draftback extension, it will continuously play back all of the revision edits that were made in a Google Doc without having to click each revision. This will even show what was typed and what has been copied and/or pasted in a Doc. Another helpful feature for student accountability.

Plagiarism Checker.com

A neat site that I recently stumbled upon is PlagiarismChecker.com. Similar to copying and pasting in a Google search, you can take any chunk of text, paste it into their search window, and it will search Google and Yahoo to determine if any text was taken from a website. Two additional awesome features of this website are the lessons on plagiarism and the ability to Check to see if Website content has been plagiarized. Both of these tools would be great introductory lessons for a research project unit.

Have Other Ideas?

Of course, there are several resources out there, including the popular TurnItIn, but if you've used other sites or resources to check for plagiarism, pass them along! I would love to add them to the collection!

Contact Mr. Mosier!

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