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A conference to encourage K-12 educators to rethink the notion of what literacy is and how it can best be taught in the digital media age.

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Saturday, May 13 • 11:30 - 12:00
Predictions for the future of technology-assisted literary works and cheating

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Technological affordances have had both positive and negative bearings on education. The use of technologies—especially ‘mobile’ devices—are considered to be the fastest growing communication technologies ever. While it is impractical to anticipate up-to-the-minute innovations and methods by which students could leverage technology to perpetuate academic misconduct, remaining technologically literate is imperative as teachers lacking awareness will likely increase/bolster students’ opportunit(ies) to engage in wrongdoing.

Subject courses must be developed with ‘specific’ and regularly updated dispositions, expectations, goals, objectives, and outcomes, and an explicit edict that a zero-cheating rule exists. In other words, educators need to design approaches to assessment that minimize the possibility for students to collude, yet do not reduce the quality and/or rigor, as well as apply appropriate security practices for the ‘safe’ submission and return of tasks.


1. Take time to explain and discuss your school’s academic honesty policy

Most schools have an Academic Integrity (AI) policy to discourage cheating, but perhaps these are not made as explicit as they should be.

2. Know what is available online before assigning an assessment task

If you are thinking of having your students research the JFK assassination, take time to see what they may find online. Check out a few of the webpaper mills, as well as a search engine or two. Remember, many papers are available just as webpages by students wanting to display their work, by teachers displaying student work or even by teachers providing sample papers. In addition, there are many full-text magazines and journals available online, and students may also be tempted to download articles to submit as their own.

Table 1: Examples of essay paper purchasing or ghost-writing websites

  • 123Helpme.com 4TermPapers.com
  • Cheathouse.com CustomWritings.com
  • echeat.com Editmypaper.ca
  • EssayGlobe.net LazyStudents.com
  • PaperDueNow.com SchoolSucks.com
  • unemployedprofessors.com WowEssays.com

3. Design written assignments with specific goals and instructions

The more specific/original the assignment, the more difficult it will be for the potential plagiarists to find a paper online that fits the topic and specifications. Determine what the goal is for students writing a paper and give them an explicit and/or unique instructions e.g., audience and purpose. Other stipulations may include:

  • Limit the topics students may write about.
  • Require a format and documentation style used in your subject.
  • Be specific about length and the number of sources required.
  • Encourage higher-order thinking rather than easily obtainable summaries/character analyses.

4. Give students enough time to do an assignment

  • Keep in mind that students are juggling assignments across several classes.
  • Help them plan their work by giving them enough notice of tasks that require research.
  • Teachers may even consider requiring that students submit a research proposal, an outline, an annotated bibliography or at least a topic idea foremost.
  • Typically, students who have put-off starting an assignment until the last minute are more likely to seek shortcuts e.g., plagiarism.

5. Require oral presentations of student papers

Oral presentations whereby students must explain their thesis statement and/or research process etc., will discourage plagiarism.

6. Have students submit essays electronically

This provides the opportunity for teachers to archive their students’ essays electronically. Keep them organized in directories according to the assigned topic. Then, you can feel confident about assigning the same topics each year. If a student paper sounds familiar, simply do a word or a phrase search on that directory.

7. When you suspect e-cheating, use a free full-text search engine

Search engines include AltaVista or Digital Integrity. If a submitted paper does not sound like that student, does not seem to fit the course level or does not seem to match the assignment, take a phrase from the paper or the title of the paper and type it into a search engine. Or, if the student provides Web addresses as source citations, check them.

8. Consider subscribing to a plagiarism search

EPD software such as Turnitin, Plagiarism.org or IntegriGuard, compares a student’s text to its database of papers as well as to Internet databases and webpages, providing a report highlighting exact phrase matches and links to the matching pages.

Table 2: Examples of Electronic Plagiarism Detector (EPD) software
  • Attributo
  • Chimpsky
  • CitePlag
  • Copyscape
  • CopyTracker
  • Dupli
  • Checker
  • EduTie
  • Ephorus
  • EVE2
  • Ferret Glatt Plagiarism Self-Detection (GPSD)
  • iThenticate
  • Jplag
  • Measure of Software Similarity (MOSS) PlagiarismDetect
  • Plagiarism-Finder
  • PlagiServe
  • Plagium
  • PlagScan
  • PlagTracker
  • SeeSources

avatar for Donna Velliaris

Donna Velliaris

Secondary English, Independent Scholar
Donna M. Velliaris holds two Graduate Certificates: (1) Australian Studies; and (2) Religious Education, two Graduate Diplomas: (1) Secondary Education; and (2) Language and Literacy Education, as well as three Master’s degrees: (1) Educational Sociology; (2) Studies of Asia; a... Read More →

Saturday May 13, 2017 11:30 - 12:00
Conference Centre Rooms 5&6 High School and Administration Block, Level 4

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