Sunday, February 15, 2015

Plagiarism Detection and Prevention

Plagiarism and cheating has been an issue in the educational field for decades. As a child growing up, I can remember countless times where students cheated on tests and quizzes to get the best grade. This popular form of academic dishonesty was the best way for students, who did not put forth time and effort to study, to achieve high scores and recognition. If we fast-forward to today, the problem is that plagiarism and cheating has morphed thanks to the Internet. For this week’s discussion, I have been asked to provide my thoughts on the following four questions regarding plagiarism and cheating:

What plagiarism detection software is available to online instructors?

There are several online tools that detect plagiarism and provide accurate results. “Free online search engines such as Google allow instructors to track down copied phrases, while commercially available plagiarism detection software and online services (e.g., EVE, compare individual student papers to Web documents and/or essay databases to find and report instances of matching text” (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006, p. 5). I am most familiar with Turnitin as I have used this tool with Walden University and the University of Phoenix. From a student’s perspective, Turnitin is user-friendly and appears to provide accurate data.

How can the design of assessments help prevent academic dishonesty?

In the video, Plagiarism and cheating, Dr. Pratt states that he designs assessments that mirror real-life situations and encourage collaboration. I think this is a great way to prevent academic dishonesty in students because it removes the pressure and anxiety to single-handedly succeed. It is extremely difficult to succeed alone. Every success story I’ve heard started with the successor acknowledging another individual for their contributions. We live in a collaborative environment and many businesses are designing their offices to have collaborative workspace, so why not design assessments that mirror the real world. In doing so, you design assessments that allow learners to leverage other individuals and tools.

What facilitation strategies do you propose to use as a current or future online instructor?

 As an online instructor, I feel that it is important to be clear and specific about expectations. This includes providing learners with a detailed explanation of what constitutes plagiarism and cheating, as well as communicating the consequences of both. A few examples would also be helpful. I’ve also found that giving learners different assignments or using case studies can prevent plagiarism. In doing this, the learner relies on their words and thoughts to complete the assignment.

What additional considerations for online teaching should be made to help detect or prevent cheating and plagiarism?

In the video, Plagiarism and cheating, Dr. Palloff states that many learners do not consider copying and pasting material from websites to paper as plagiarism or cheating. With this in mind, it is safe to say that most learners do not know they are being academically dishonest with their actions. The instructor will need to establish how they will deal with plagiarism and cheating and be consistent. For example, if a student is a first-time offender, a warning will suffice. However, if the student is a repeat offender, severe actions will have to be taken.


Jocoy, C., & DiBiase, D. (2006). Plagiarism by adult learners online: A case study in detection and remediation. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 7(1), 1-15. Retrieved from the Walden Library using the Education Research Complete database.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Plagiarism and cheating [Video file]. Retrieved from

Friday, February 6, 2015

Impact of Technology and Multimedia

What impact does technology and multimedia have on online learning environments?

Technology and multimedia allows learners to connect and collaborate virtually in a synchronous or asynchronous environment.  Web 2.0 tools like blogs and wikis allow users to share, edit, and comment on content. “The Internet has become a part of many people’s daily lives, which in turn has led to the development of educational materials for presentation on the ‘web’ and increasingly courses and universities are integrating online materials in their face-to-face teaching” (Crowther, Kelly & Waddoups, 2004). As a result, the online environment becomes a mobile vehicle that makes learning more efficient an, in most cases, effective. Technological tools have also played a key role in bridging the gap amongst multi-generational learners around the country. In most virtual environments, learners are connected with individuals who have varied degrees of experience, knowledge, and skills.

What are the most important considerations an online instructor should make before implementing technology?

When using technology, instructors should be mindful of how and why technology is being used. In the video, Enhancing the Online Experience, Dr. Palloff explains the importance of using Web 2.0 tools in online environments only when they support learning objectives. Using technological tools only to showcase or highlight the “bells and whistles” could negatively impact the learner’s experience. Instructors must also consider the audience and their access capabilities. Certain technological tools require specific bandwidth and/or system software that prevent learners from using it. For example, learners in rural areas may not have the bandwidth needed to access video blogs and other collaborative tools.

What implications do usability and accessibility of technology tools have for online teaching?

At a time where “e-learning” has become increasingly popular, the demand for access to advanced technological tools has also increased. Usability and accessibility represent learner independence in that learners have the power to access virtual environments at their leisure. This concept also supports real-time learning where learners have a question or issue and can immediately access training solutions to answer their question, or remedy the issue.

What technology tools are most appealing to you for online teaching as you move forward in your career in instructional design?

As I move forward in my ID career, I will definitely continue to use blogging and wiki pages. Most sites to create blogs and wikis are free and you can set up an RSS “aggregator” feed to follow all of your favorite pages. I have used both tools personally and professionally, and enjoy the benefits of each. I have used blogs to gain input from family members on our annual family reunion and wikis are a great way to collaborate with colleagues on assigned tasks with stringent deadlines. Honestly, I love technology and the good thing is, the tools are only getting better with time.


Crowther, M.S., Keller, C.C. and Waddoups G.L. (2004) Improving the quality and effectiveness of computer- mediated instruction through usability evaluations. British Journal of Educational Technology Vol 35: 3 pp 289–303

Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Enhancing the online experience [Video file]. Retrieved from