November 21 2014

Dealing with Cheating: A Moodle Plagiarism Plugin

Written by Lambda Solutions

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plagiarizeIt’s an icky word that makes any educator or student squirm—plagiarism. Whether intentional or not plagiarism happens and if discovered can ruin careers and educational pursuits. The Josephson Institute Center for Youth anonymously surveyed over 43,000 high school students to determine the percent of youth who admit to plagiarism. In their results they found that 59% of students indicated that they cheated on a test in the past year and 34% of students reported that they cheated more than twice.

With respect to university students, Rutgers University surveyed 63,700 undergraduates and 9,250 graduate students in the US and found equally staggering results given the amount of time and resources that are allocated to educating students on plagiarism. Averaging the results from undergraduate and graduate students, Rutgers University found that 31% of students admit to paraphrasing or copying sentences from internet and written sources without including footnotes. On a more positive not, only 5.5% of university students reported copying materials word for word without citation and only 2.5% of students reported outright purchasing papers from paper mills.

As in-class courses become increasingly managed in learning management systems (LMS) and as more courses move online, the age old paper or email submission is increasingly becoming few and far between. This means that an increasing number of assignments are being submitted through university-wide learning management systems like Moodle. With more assignments being submitted in the LMS, education clients have been asking how this can automatically be done in Moodle. Here is the solution we provide.

How to Detect Plagiarism in Assignments Submitted through Moodle

One of the perks of using an open-source LMS like Moodle is that users benefit from hundreds of plugins (think apps) that are developed and upgraded by a global community of users. This means they understand what users want and how functionality can be added to your workflow within the LMS—like detecting plagiarism!

When students submit assignments online through Moodle—Moodle plagiarism plugins like VeriCite instantly scan submitted work to detect plagiarized or improperly cited text over an increasing body of online sources and repositories of papers that are particular to your university. Educators and teaching assistants who use this Moodle plagiarism plugin find it particularly helpful as it also provides instant reports that identify different degrees of matching, per submission and across submissions (just in case students copy one another’s work). VeriCite is integrated into Moodle in such a way that once instructors create an assignment in Moodle, they simply select ‘VeriCite’ in the assignment settings. This activates the plugin so that the assignments (in any file format) are automatically reviewed for plagiarism.

If you additional questions regarding plugins that detect plagiarism or Moodle plugins in general, please contact one of our Moodle experts today. You can also check out our Moodle Plugins Guide for more detailed information. 

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