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

Does it happen?   On-line Paper Mills     YES!!!!

Buying essays experiment
A Cartoon
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?
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)

Cheating 101
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
A cynical view of what is considered to be widespread plagiarism, and how charges of "plagiarism" often miss the point. A short book chapter The Appearance of Impropriety: How the Ethics Wars Have Undermined American Government, Business, and Society by Peter W. Morgan & Glenn H. Reynolds

Non-text Plagiarism: Computer software
Does it happen?   Academic Dishonesty in a High-Tech Environment (also includes text cheating) - should be available through DH Hill Library Moss (Measure Of Software Similarity) a detection tool.
SNITCH (Spotting and Neutralizing Internet Theft by CHeaters) a detection tool.
"Outsourcing" homework? Can it be done by hiring someone? (It appears that people have tried this, even though this company used to exclude hiring someone for "implementing of a final project or writing a final thesis".)
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?

    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

  • 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

  • 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

  • eTBLAST "A text similarity-based engine". A paragraph is input, and it returns similar paragraphs.

  • 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:

    Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 by Henry E. Schaffer     Comments and suggestions are welcome, and should go to
    Last modified 2/12/2018
    Disclaimer - Information is provided for your use. No endorsement is implied.