Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Plagiarism in schools

One thing that amazes me is the amount of copying of other peoples work and just he copy and paste mentality that happens in students assessments. Why is it that universities put in place systems that will help prevent the copying and pasting of students work and websites but schools don't Are we not preparing our students?

A couple of months ago I put onto a listserve the question -
I have had a request by English and Social Studies Departments to look at how plagiarism detection could be used with students handing in work. As with assessments now and the internet students could just use the copy and paste method to handin an assessment. What modules are schools using other than turnitin.
Turnitin - the most popular option but it is expensive to maintain the license.

To which I received:
Turnitin is definately the most widely used here in NZ - another option for Moodle that integrates really well and is cheaper than Turnitin is Urkund:
They are really good to work with and focus purely on the plagiarism detection service and the reporting is just as good as Turnitin - the biggest drawback is that their database of student submitted content isn't as big as Turnitin's, but their comparison against web content seems just as good.
Another option I'm keen to investigate further for NZ clients is the open source tool "crot" - there's a plugin available but it's not ready for mainstream/production use - it relies too much on the moodle server (causes a big performance hit) and doesn't cope too well with large numbers of submissions. I've been hoping to get some funding to tidy it up and turn it into structure so we could set up an NZ based "Crot" server - then a group of Moodle sites could connect to the single "server", share the hosting cost and enable a "NZ database" of submitted student files to be stored centrally for comparison. It also relies heavily on the Bing search engine and if the Terms & conditions of using their API change it could mean the web-search functionality was no longer available - it needs to allow other Search engine API plugins.
If anyone is interested in helping to fund some development on Crot to allow it to be used on a production site,

Now we have an issue, bing have changed there terms and conditions...

Link to version 2.0+ versions of crot http://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=plagiarism_crot
and the terms and conditions of the bing API have changed, only allowed 5,000 queries per month free, else it starts to cost.

However, there is a crotpro available now - http://beta.noplagiarism.org/ that now allows for a free trial.

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