Posted by: emapey | August 13, 2011

Online Teaching: Develop Assignments that Can’t be Plagiarized

Teaching with Technology – Plagiarism

One way to discourage instant online plagiarism is to monitor and grade the process of developing the paper as much as the paper itself. Require a planning outline, and grade it. Call for notes to be turned in , and comment on them. Have students discuss their first drafts with their peers. Compare the draft to the original outline. Comment on the draft and expect revisions. Ask students to explain the source of the ideas in each paragraph. By monitoring the process like this, you make plagiarism very difficult, and encourage good study habits.

e-Learning Acupuncture: Peer feedback

In courses where there is a major paper or a project, you can inject cooperative student-to-student interaction by assigning students the tasks of reviewing the first draft of a classmate’s final paper/project. You of course will grade the quality of their feedback. One idea to push the envelope further on this type of assignment is to conduct the entire exercise out in the open in a discussion forum. Have students post their 1st drafts to the discussion forum and assign classmates to post their feedback/reviews of the 1st draft also to the discussion forum. Students can benefit by seeing 1st drafts of papers/projects of others as well as the feedback each person received.

Getting Students to Talk in the Online Course

One of my favorite assignments is one in which I present each group with five problems that they must solve. The problems require an understanding of sampling distributions, and I ask the group to divide the problems so that each member of the group is responsible for trying to teach the other members how to arrive at the answer for one particular problem. Because I want to make sure that students focus not only on the problem they are required to teach but on all the problems, I tell the students they each will receive a half point of extra credit for each problem that the group correctly solves. This motivates the students not only to get the correct answer to their problem but to make sure the other problems are answered correctly.

The Writing Process Helps Students Become More Confident Writers

During the next class meeting, we hold a full-class workshop. In turn, each student shares her or his three subjects with the rest of the class members, who are encouraged to respond. This incorporation of classmates from the very outset helps the student writer understand the important role of writing to your audience and its interests, and discussions about purpose and tone begin to take root. Student writers ask one another questions. They disagree, they share experiences, and they encourage one another. Their response lets the writer know that the essay has meaning outside of fulfilling an assignment. Each writer notes not only the question she or he has about the subject, but also the questions or concerns of the increasingly apparent audience. As students take ownership of their ideas, the propensity to plagiarize also decreases.

Half an Hour: New Forms of Assessment: measuring what you contribute rather than what you collect

In the schools, too, there is no reward for helping others (indeed, it is heavily penalized). Suppose educational achievement was measured at least partially according to how much (and how well) you helped others

Imagine receiving academic credit for contributing well-received resources into open source repositories, whether as software, art, photography, or educational resources.

More posts:
Plagiarism – blame academia not students
Design assignments that cannot be plagiarized.
Developing assignments that can’t be plagiarized: some ideas



  1. A succinct explanation of what I have thought for years.

    Thank you!

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