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  • Preventing Cheating and Plagiarism In College

    You will not surprise anyone if you say that almost all students at least once cheated when they were studying in college or university. According to the data of the International Center for Academic Integrity, 68% of students admit cheating during tests or writing works. This is data from a survey but only think that the rest of students could simply lie or be afraid to admit their illegal actions. The numbers are really astonishing as future doctors, teachers, engineers rely not on their knowledge but still will work with people and influence their lives. That is why educational establishments are in a constant struggle with cheating and plagiarism and look for more effective ways that will decrease the number of such cases.

    Ways to prevent and fight cheating and plagiarism

    Student sitting on the bench at the examination time

    A war against plagiarism and cheating has lasted for centuries already but as soon as educators find some remedy against this infection, students find new ways how to complete tests successfully without learning. Today, a very big accent is made on technology that helps students both find correct answers and at the same time, detect cheaters among other students. However, as the number of ways to cheat is incredibly big, there are many useful hints how to prevent or fight plagiarist and cheaters too.

    1. Taking advantage of technological tools and devices

    The variety of modern devices that can be helpful in eliminating the number of students who cheat at exams and tests. These are cameras that may record the ways students use to cheat, signal blockers to prevent students from communication and search on mobile phones as well as many interesting tools that will be useful too.

    First of all, these are plagiarism detection tools like Noplag or Turnitin that help teachers to find similarities in students’ written papers and look through the links that might have been sources of plagiarism.

    Secondly, it can be such a software like Proctortrack that monitors online students who take tests through a web camera identifying the potentially dishonest behaviors that can result in cheating.

    Thirdly, QuickBooks online version is helpful in tracking keystrokes and detecting if a student was writing a paper himself or just added his name to the paper from the web.
    The variety of such tools can be appreciated by many educators in their battle against cheating.

    2. Implementation of legal responsibility for violations

    It is of utmost importance to address to the students’ moral principles regularly and allow them to get more freedom if they pass exams or tests on the basis of their knowledge.
    For example, in some universities students are offered to sign an honor code that is a student's promise of acting with integrity. This code offers students some privileges on campus but at the same time, a student who violates it will deal with a judicial process then. Naturally, such actions have decreased the number of cheats by quarter.

    In any case, when a student is aware of the seriousness of penalties for plagiarism, his desire to cheat will decrease too.

    3. Verifying the submitted tasks

    Sometimes it is not enough to trust your students. If you have any doubts or there are some pieces of evidence that confirm the act of plagiarizing, it is important to check if your assumptions are right. You can ask your students to write a short summary of the report that might have been taken from the Internet or ask several questions about a written paper: what methods were used, what sources were the most useful or what has encouraged a student to make the following conclusions.

    4. Preference of traditional methods at exams

    The effectiveness of traditional methods to prevent cheating that can be used at exams should also be not underestimated. Educators should try all the methods including:

    · Use of services to make exams digital;
    · Verify every student’s identity using an ID card with a photo;
    · Ban use of cellphones;
    · Prepare multiple variants of tests;
    · Provide all necessary items for test writing;
    · Mix up seating assignments.

    5. Teaching students how to write original papers

    One of the reasons that encourage students to plagiarize is an inability to write these papers themselves. Being unaware of the structure, stages of the writing procedure, choice of credible sources makes students turn to paper writing services or look for easy ways like plagiarizing.

    6. Not allowing students to grade their own or their classmate’s works

    A desire to improve your own result or help a friend can be stronger than moral principles. That is why teachers should entrust only trustworthy people or tools with this task.

    7. Change the exam or test form

    If a teacher got used to giving tests in the form of multiple choice assignments or short answers, it is better to change the form of the exam. Students are less likely to cheat if they have to cope with open-book tests, problem-solving tasks or provide full answers to the questions and provide their feedback.

    Conclusion

    Cheating and plagiarism have become an integrated part of modern education and despite all the efforts to win the war students still manage to be winners of some battles. In the same time professional plagiarism checkers like Noplag take part in this struggle as well. Of course, the desire and all the activities teachers make to decrease cheating give their results, but it is too early to speak about education without plagiarism and cheating.