Plagiarism in Online Learning

Detecting and combating plagiarism from Web-based sources is a concern for administrators and instructors involved in online distance education (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006). Many educators use various software to ensure that students are writing scholarly papers, using their own ideas. Also, when students use the ideas of others, it is important that they are giving credit to their sources. One of the biggest issues I’ve heard students have is that they aren’t taught the proper way to site their sources, which even if a plagiarism software is used, it may detect sources that were used inappropriately. Educators have always been concerned with upholding standards of academic integrity among individuals engaged in scholarly pursuit (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006).

Two of the plagiarism detection software that are available to online instructors are, Turnitin, and Plagium. Both software are great tools for instructors to use, however it is important to let students know that using the software should be seen as more of a tool for them as well. Through the use of Turnitin, I learned how to better construct my papers, and site my sources in text as well as in my reference list. As a student, I like how it shows exactly what passage is being flagged, and gives a list of places where it was used before. Plagium is more of a tool that instructors will use to detect plagiarism. Instructors can copy and paste up to 250 characters to see if there are any matches, and the service is free of charge. While recognizing the importance of plagiarism detection, we are also interested in prevention (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006).

As a future online instructor I believe that in order to reduce to opportunity for students to cheat or plagiarize, I have to make sure they understand the effects that it could have on their academic progression. Students need to know that there will be consequences for their actions. Because academic integrity involves the development of behavior that reflects moral values, educators’ responsibility for addressing plagiarism may go beyond shielding students from copyright infringement (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006). There could also be grounds for expulsion from the University, with a derogatory plagiarism make on the student’s transcript that will follow them. As a professor, I would want to make sure my students understand what is at stake, as well as share with them the many tools that can help them with their scholarly writing, such as the writing center, various websites, and technology.


Jocoy, C., & DiBiase, D. (2006). Plagiarism by adult learners online: A case study in detection and remediation. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 7(1), 1–15.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. 


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