How Teachers Can Detect Plagiarism

Plagiarism is unacceptable. The best thing to do is to prevent plagiarism from occurring but this is easier said than done. As a teacher, you may come across numerous instances when a paper has been plagiarised and you need to look for warning signs so that detection becomes easy.

You may be surprised to know that copying someone else work and passing it off as their own is a common occurrence among students. With so much of information available online, it is easy to just copy and paste any assignment or project. As a teacher, you may have to constantly guard against it.

Warning Signs

There are various warning signs that you need to look for if you suspect a student to have copied a project paper or assignment. These signs include:

  • Unusual phrases and repetitions.
  • Uneven style and changes in formatting.
  • Visible URL in the header, footer or any other place in the printed material.
  • Good sophisticated sentences followed by amateur writing full of errors.

The warning signs raise awareness about situations where plagiarism may occur. It is important that you are aware of techniques that enable you to detect plagiarism in a clear and concise manner.

How to Address Plagiarism?

The teacher can choose to meet the student so that they are able to ascertain their knowledge about the topics that are discussed in the paper. Technology tools can also be used. Use search engine to search for an unusual phrase from the student’s paper. This can help in identifying whether an excerpt has been copied from some source on the Internet.

  • After a case of cheating is detected, it is best to talk to the concerned student, so that you can determine a penalty that is appropriate. Write an email informing the student about the infraction and penalty that has been imposed.
  • The letter also needs to mention the action that may be taken if a second offence occurs. A copy of the communication can also be addressed to the Dean of the University and Department Head so that they are aware of the action that has been taken.
  • The communication enables the university to keep track of individual student behaviour across different courses. This can also help in identifying repeat offenders. If a student is cheating in a course, it is most likely that they may do it again in another course or class.
  • If it is a first offence there is usually a warning issued to the student but if the cheating continues then additional penalty is administered. The penalty that is administered may vary from one university to the other.

How to Prevent Student Plagiarism?

Educate Students

One of the important things that you can do is to educate students about what is and what is not cheating. Teachers need to cover the topics of using quotation marks with quotes, issue of paraphrasing, providing citations and other relevant topics.

Warn Students About Plagiarized Content and How You May Detect It

One of the simplest way to discourage cheating is to warn students about the penalties that may be imposed when they produce plagiarized content. The students should also be told about how plagiarism may be detected.

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