Friday, June 5

Plagiarism? Turnitin with Plagium Instead!

"Plagium is an innovative, fast, and easy-to-use means to check text against possible plagiarism or possible sources of origination. Simply enter text that you would like to analyze into the text box and let Plagium do the rest of the work. You can also check the contents of an entered URL for its sources ...more"

Alright, it is not as sophisticated and feature rich as the commercials alternatives (e.g. Turnitin). However, we don't have to buy licenses, get budget approval, write cost-benefit analysis, and all the ding dong that comes with buying commercial software. In short, Plagium is free and a quick way to check our students' coursework against possible plagiarism.

Better yet, Plagium is so easy-to-use (and cool!); you don't need to conduct workshops to teach educators on how to use it. A promotion link would do :)

This juicy tool discovery is so timely! Interestingly, I was discussing with a few educators yesterday about plagiarism. And they told me that they had reverted back to more MCQs (Multiple-Choice Questions) and abandoned written coursework for several of their courses as plagiarism was so rampant. This tool could be a good alternative (besides investing in commercial alternatives) to spot possible plagiarism.

Though, should we abandon written coursework, because plagiarism is so rampant among students?

First of all, let's abandon the word 'PLAGIARISM', and flush it down the toilet. Let's call it 'REPLICATION' instead (at least I can pronounce it!). Secondly, we need to encourage students to replicate other people's ideas and findings (in summarized form) to support their ideas and findings. However, when they replicate, they have to give credit and acknowledge where it came from. In other words, it is alright to replicate, but you got give credit to the author (That is all!).

Also, if the question enables the student to easily plagiarize (I mean replicate!), then the question should be flushed down the toilet. Why? Because we are reinventing the wheel! Why should a student waste his/her time writing a summary, or a review of something, if they can Google (or Wolfram Alpha) the answer in 3.2 seconds. I suppose for quantitative subjects it is understandable, but for qualitative subjects we could be a bit more creative.

For example, my 'Intercultural Communication' teacher during my undergraduate studies would select recent articles (1-3 weeks old), and then ask us to analyze, summarize, reflect, evaluate, etc. (depending upon the article) using our own words. Our answer had to be less than 500 words (or was it 250 words! Can't remember!). If we wrote beyond that we would get minus points. By doing so, we were taught to be concise and precise (not sure if that is reflected in my blog, though!), and importantly made it very difficult for us to replicate another person's work out there.

The bottom line is that we should encourage students to write, replicate, mash-up, and synthesize information as much as possible, but we also need to emphasize the importance of appreciating and giving credit to the rightful authors when required.

Seriously, if we don't learn how to summarize, review, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information during our University education, what kind of future can we expect in the 21st century? I can sing karaoke! Yippee!

Finally, if students really want to cheat, they will find a way. MCQs are certainly no exception :)

1 comment:

lms training said...

Plagium is a good concept . . . . .