Cheating In a Technology Rich Environment

Combating Plagiarism with Technology

Henry E. Schaffer
Professor Emeritus of Genetics and Biomathematics
Coordinator of Special IT Projects & Faculty Collaboration/OIT
Interim Director Emeritus, LTS/DELTA
NC State University

Does it happen?   On-line "Paper Mills" or "Essay Mills" (An old list - but things haven't improved!)     YES!!!!

Essay mills are still popular in 2019 How Students May Be Cheating Their Way Through College
Buying essays experiment
The Shadow Scholar "The man who writes your students' papers tells his story" - affluent students aren't limited to paper mills. :-) Might this automated writing service put him out of a job?
An interview with The Shadow Scholar Also see his Wikipedia page
More companies in this business! The New Cheating Economy Plagiarism and much more! (premium access Chronicle article) Don't stop at buying the paper (see Shadow Scholar above and below,) buy the whole course!
Overviews: Excellent Resource Pages (mostly from Libraries)

Video on Plagiarism (may load slowly)
Plagiarism: Preventing, Detecting, Reporting Professional Writing Program @ NC State
Copyright, Fair Use and Ethics Lesson Plan
Plagiarism on Campus "Resources to Help Detect, Prevent and Avoid Classroom Plagiarism for Teachers and Students"
"PLAGIARISM: AVOID THE CONSEQUENCES" a nice short description of various types of plagiarism and a guide to proper citation of sources.
Avoiding Plagiarism
Resources for Web Plagiarism: Prevention and Detection (no longer available at, this link is to
College Guide to Preventing Plagiarism From Maryville University.
A discussion of methods of Detecting Plagiarism
PLAGIARISM RESOURCES (FOR STUDENTS & TEACHERS IN 2019) Discussion, examples and a quiz.
A Guide to Copyrights, Trademarks and Patents in Print and Beyond with many links. (P.S. Thanks, Erin.)
Plagiarism A Guide and a Tutorial.
"Preventing Cheating & Plagiarism as an Online Student" Briefly reviews many forms of cheating and then focuses on plagiarism. Gives many examples and links to resources.

Non-text Plagiarism: Computer software
Does it happen?   Academic Dishonesty in a High-Tech Environment (also includes text cheating) - should be available through your university Library Moss (Measure Of Software Similarity) a detection tool.
SNITCH (Spotting and Neutralizing Internet Theft by CHeaters) a detection tool.
ETector "ETector is a plagiarism detection tool specifically designed for introductory programming courses."
Teaching Academic Honesty in CS50 An interesting and provocative article on the steps they have taken and the results. It includes a link to their Open Source software (compare50) for cross-comparison of coding assignment submissions.
Using Technology

Technology and Methods

Defeating Plagiarism Detection!

There are incentives to commit plagiarism which is why we see it occurring. This led to the development of the many tools to detect plagiarism. If plagiarism detection works to detect plagiarism, then it becomes more difficult to get away with plagiarism. (Of course!) So there is an incentive to develop methods to evade detection. Unsurprisingly this has already happened, although the methods/tools aren't advertised as having this purpose, but rather as being methods of rephrasing or paraphrasing text to innocent purposes. E.g.

  • Paraphrasing Tool

  • Article Rewriter Tool maybe this one isn't too worrisome?

  • Paraphrasing Tool - Paraphrase your article with a sentence rephraser. This says it uses AI to paraphrase in order to avoid plagiarism.

    Uses and Discussion

  • Understanding & Preventing Plagiarism - Strategies & Resources for Students and Teacher A comprehensive review by Matt Ashare.

  • Actions Do Speak Louder than Words: Deterring Plagiarism with the Use of Plagiarism-Detection Software by Bear F. Braumoeller and Brian J. Gaines. PS: Political Science and Politics, 34:835-9 December 2001 (available through JSTOR)

  • Term Paper Mills, Anti-Plagiarism Tools, and Academic Integrity by M. Groark, D. Oblinger and M. Choa

  • Are Algorithmically-Generated Term Papers the Next Big Challenge to Academic Integrity? But is it plagiarism?

  • Technology and Plagiarism in the University: Brief Report of a Trial in Detecting Cheating by Johnson,D., Patton,R., Bimber,B., Almeroth,K., and Michaels,G. 2004 - "reports the results of a trial of automated detection of term-paper plagiarism in a large, introductory undergraduate class." It covers deterrance and student reactions.

  • Teachers Adjust Lesson Plans as Web Fuels Plagiarism

  • Is trying to detect plagiarism unethical? or illegal?

  • Pima Community College creates "traffic school" for plagiarists - looking for the URL

  • Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers

  • How Dumb Do They Think We Are? by Jonathan Malesic. A teacher's take on student plagiarism.

  • "Guilty Until Proven Innocent: The Well-Known Secret about" is a rather hostile anti-Turnitin discussion. I can't find it any longer, but there is a description of this topic available.

  • A comparison of 7 anti-plagiarism software tools by Liz Johnson

  • HelioBLAST "The HelioBLAST text similarity engine finds text records that are similar to the submitted query."

  • How first year composition students write research papers.

  • A short discussion of using plagiarism checkers in online learning P.S. My short discussion in the context of Computer and Information Literacy or Fluency.
        "How to get away with plagiarism" My discussion of ethics and plagiarism.

    More resources:


    Now is

    Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 by Henry E. Schaffer     Comments and suggestions are welcome, and should go to
    Last modified 9/23/2021
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