Published Jul 8, 2024 ⦁ 10 min read
10 Strategies to Prevent Plagiarism in Online Courses

10 Strategies to Prevent Plagiarism in Online Courses

Here's a quick guide to stop copying in online classes:

  1. Clear rules: Tell students what's allowed
  2. Teach citing: Show how to give credit
  3. Use software: Find copied work
  4. Smart assignments: Make tasks hard to copy
  5. Boost thinking: Help students create ideas
  6. Regular writing: Give small tasks often
  7. Group work rules: Set clear jobs for teams
  8. Real-life tests: Check how students use learning
  9. Honest culture: Make honesty important
  10. New course stuff: Keep materials up-to-date
Strategy How It Helps
Clear rules Students know expectations
Teach citing Proper credit given
Use software Catches copying
Smart assignments Encourages original work
Boost thinking Develops own ideas
Regular writing Improves skills
Group work rules Prevents accidental copying
Real-life tests Shows true understanding
Honest culture Everyone values integrity
New course stuff Stops use of old answers

These steps help ensure students do their own work and learn better in online courses.

1. Communicate Academic Integrity Policies Clearly

Clear communication of academic integrity policies helps prevent plagiarism in online courses. By setting clear rules and expectations, teachers can encourage honesty among students.

Include Policies in Course Syllabi

Adding academic integrity policies to course syllabi is key. This can be done by:

  • Stating the consequences of plagiarism
  • Explaining the importance of original work
  • Listing resources for citation help

Teachers can use a ready-made policy or create their own based on school guidelines.

Create Modules on Plagiarism

Making specific course modules about academic honesty can teach students about plagiarism. These modules can include:

Module Content Purpose
Interactive activities Engage students in learning
Quizzes Test understanding of concepts
Discussions Encourage critical thinking

Teachers can also invite guest speakers to talk about honesty in their field. This helps students understand why original work matters in real-world settings.

2. Teach Proper Citation Methods

Teaching students how to cite sources correctly helps stop plagiarism in online courses. When students know how to give credit, they're less likely to copy by mistake.

Provide Citation Style Guides

Give students guides for common citation styles like APA, MLA, and Chicago. This can include:

Resource Type Examples
Online tools Citation generators, style websites
Handouts Quick reference sheets, examples
In-class lessons Step-by-step instructions, practice exercises

These resources help students learn different styles and use them correctly.

Offer Citation Workshops

Set up live or recorded workshops about citing sources. These can cover:

  • How to cite different types of sources
  • Common mistakes to avoid
  • Using citation tools
  • Citing online sources

Workshops let students practice and ask questions. This hands-on approach helps them understand citation better.

By teaching citation methods well, you help students:

  1. Understand why giving credit matters
  2. Learn how to cite correctly
  3. Avoid copying by accident

This makes online courses more honest and helps students do better work.

3. Use Plagiarism Detection Software

Using software to find copied work is a key way to stop cheating in online classes.

Common Plagiarism Detection Tools

There are many tools to check for copied work. Here are some popular ones:

Tool What it Does
Turnitin Checks work against a big database of papers, books, and websites
Grammarly Finds grammar mistakes and copied text
Plagium Lets you check short pieces of text against other files
PlagScan Looks for matches with online work and school papers
Dupli Checker A free tool where you can paste text to check for copying
Quetext Finds copied work even if it's not word-for-word
Unicheck Checks for copying and helps with grammar

How to Use These Tools Well

To make the most of these tools in online classes, teachers should:

  • Set up homework to go through the copying check
  • Look at results and tell students how to improve
  • Teach students why using their own words matters
  • Use the tool to see where students need help with writing

4. Design Assignments that Reduce Plagiarism

Making assignments that stop copying is key in online classes. By creating tasks that need new ideas, you can help students avoid copying and learn more.

Create Course-Specific Assignments

To stop copying, make assignments that fit your class. This makes it hard for students to find answers online or copy from others. Here are some ideas:

Assignment Type Example
Case study analysis Look at a real company's problem
Project creation Make a product related to the class topic
Problem-solving Fix a real-world issue

These kinds of tasks help students make their own work.

Break Down Assignments into Steps

Splitting big tasks into smaller parts can also stop copying. This lets you check students' work as they go and make sure they're doing it themselves. It also helps students stay on track and not rush at the end, which can lead to copying.

Here's how to break down an assignment:

1. Proposal: Students share their main idea

2. Draft: Students write a first version

3. Final work: Students turn in their finished assignment

This step-by-step way helps students grow their ideas and make their own work.

5. Encourage Critical Thinking

Helping students think deeply about their work can stop copying in online classes. This helps them come up with their own ideas and write better.

Use Personal Reflection Tasks

Personal reflection tasks make students think about what they've learned. These tasks are hard to copy because they're about the student's own thoughts. Here are some ideas:

Task Type Example
Journal entry Write about how a topic relates to your life
Concept map Draw a picture showing how ideas connect
Personal statement Write about your views on a class topic

These tasks help students think more and make their own work.

Connecting class topics to students' lives helps them understand better. It makes the work more about them, so it's harder to copy. Try these:

Task Description
Story writing Make up a story that shows a class idea
Video or podcast Talk about a topic from your point of view
Real-world project Use what you learned to solve a problem you see

When students use their own experiences, they're more likely to do their own work.


6. Use Regular Writing Exercises

Adding small writing tasks often helps students write better and avoid copying at the last minute.

Assign Small Writing Tasks

Giving students short writing tasks helps them get better at writing. This makes them less likely to copy others' work. Here are some ways to do this:

Task Type Description Benefit
Weekly paragraph Write a short paragraph on a topic Builds writing skills
Sentence practice Write a few sentences about an idea Improves confidence
Simple text exercises Use easy texts for writing practice Focuses on writing, not reading

These tasks help students learn to write in their own words. As one expert says, using easy texts lets students focus on writing and giving credit, not struggling with hard reading.

Use Discussion Boards

Discussion boards help students think on their own and talk with others. This can stop copying and make students feel part of a group. Here's how to use them:

Discussion Board Use How It Helps
Ask open questions Makes students think and write their own answers
Have students reply to others Creates talks and deeper thinking
Use boards often Helps students get better at thinking and writing

7. Set Clear Rules for Group Work

Making sure students know how to work together without copying.

Define Allowed Collaboration

Tell students what they can and can't do when working in groups. Here's how:

Do Don't
Tell students about group work early Wait until the last minute
Assign groups yourself Let students pick their own groups
Ask groups to make a plan for talking to each other Assume students know how to work together

Outline Individual Responsibilities

Make sure each student knows what they need to do in a group project. This stops accidental copying. Here's what to do:

  1. Talk about being honest in the first group meeting
  2. Have students decide who does what
  3. Check that everyone knows their job

This helps make sure each student does their own work and understands the whole project.

8. Use Real-World Assessments

Making tests that check how students use what they've learned in real situations can help stop copying.

Create Applied Assessments

Make tests that ask students to use what they've learned in real-life situations. This helps them show their skills better than just answering questions about facts. For example:

Traditional Test Real-World Test
Answer questions about accounting terms Use accounting software to make a budget
Write about marketing theories Create a marketing plan for a local business
Take a quiz on computer programming Build a simple website or app

These kinds of tests make it harder for students to copy because they have to show they can do the work, not just write about it.

Use Projects and Case Studies

Give students projects and case studies to work on. This helps them think on their own and use what they've learned. Here are some ideas:

Project Type Example
Business case study Solve a problem for a real company
Science experiment Design and run a test about something learned in class
History project Make a video about a local historical event

By using these kinds of tests, you can:

  • Make it harder for students to copy
  • Help students learn better by doing
  • See how well students can use what they've learned in real situations

This way of testing helps students learn more and makes online classes better.

9. Build a Culture of Academic Honesty

Making sure everyone values honesty in school work is key to stopping copying in online classes.

Create an Integrity Pledge

Having students sign a promise to be honest can help stop cheating. Here's how it works:

Step Action
1 Write a simple promise about being honest
2 Put it in the class rules
3 Ask students to sign it
4 Have them turn it in online

Schools that use these promises see less cheating. It helps students understand why being honest matters.

Promote Peer Support

Getting students to help each other be honest is important. Here's what teachers can do:

Action How It Helps
Talk about honesty in class Students learn why it's important
Give students info about being honest They know where to get help
Show students how to be honest Teachers set a good example
Have small group talks Students can ask questions
Let students make class rules They feel responsible for being honest

When students work together to be honest, it's harder for anyone to cheat.

10. Update Course Materials Regularly

Keep content fresh to stop copying

Updating course materials often helps stop copying in online classes. When teachers use new information, it's harder for students to find old answers or copy from past work.

Change topics and questions

Making new assignments and test questions each term stops students from using old work. This helps make sure students do their own work. Teachers can also use tools to check if students are copying.

Use new information

Adding new facts and examples to class materials helps stop copying. When teachers use up-to-date information, students learn better and are less likely to use old sources. This table shows why using new information is good:

Reason How it helps
Students learn new things They're more interested and less likely to copy
Old answers don't work Students can't use past work or find answers online
Shows real-world use Students see how to use what they learn


Summary of Strategies

We've looked at 10 ways to stop copying in online classes:

Strategy Description
Clear rules Tell students what's okay and what's not
Teach citing Show how to give credit for others' work
Use checking software Find copied work with computer programs
Smart assignments Make tasks that are hard to copy
Boost thinking skills Help students come up with their own ideas
Regular writing Give small writing tasks often
Group work rules Set clear jobs for team projects
Real-life tests Check how students use what they've learned
Honest culture Make being honest important to everyone
New course stuff Keep class materials up-to-date

Using these ideas can help teachers make sure students do their own work and learn better.

Keep Getting Better

Stopping copying takes work all the time. Teachers should:

  • Learn about new ways to catch and stop copying
  • Talk to other teachers about what works
  • Remember that it's not just about catching cheaters
  • Help students understand why doing their own work matters

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