Plagiarism Detection and Prevention

These insights were gleaned from a video of industry experts, Dr. Palloff and Dr. Pratt discussing effective methods for dealing with plagiarism in distance education.

  • What plagiarism detection software is available to online instructors?

Tools like Turnitin, Duplichecker and Paper Rater are available to instructors.

  • How can the design of assessments help prevent academic dishonesty?

The instructor should design robust assessments that require depth of thought as opposed to one-word answers.  These assessments should require an application of the concepts at hand so that the instructor can observe the student’s individual thought process.  This type of design deters academic dishonesty because word-for-word plagiarism of this type of assignment would be very easily detectable.

  • What facilitation strategies do you propose to use as a current or future online instructor?

I like Dr. Pratt’s method of allowing collaborative work even for cumulative assessments.  I would employ a similar practice encouraging students to use any resource that they deem valuable and relevant.  Facilitating becomes less critical with the types of expository writing assessments I previously discussed.


Image retrieved from

  • What additional considerations for online teaching should be made to help detect or prevent cheating and plagiarism?

Instructors should preempt any cheating or plagiarism attempts by empowering students–that is making them aware of resources like the institution library and/or writing centers.  These resources can ensure that students have a working knowledge of how to properly cite, paraphrase etc.


Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Plagiarism and cheating [Video file]. Retrieved from


Impact of Technology and Multimedia

Here is a brief examination of the impact of technology and multimedia in online learning environments.

  • What impact does technology and multimedia have on online learning environments?

Technology has a very prominent role in online learning environments.  It is the avenue through which the content is presented, demonstrated and or delivered.  Boetticher advises that an instructor in an online environment should “focus on essential tools and build your…course around those tools” (2010, p. 57).

  • What are the most important considerations an online instructor should make before implementing technology?

An online instructor should first examine the content, give some thought as to how that content would best be communicated, and then select tools which lend themselves to that.  She shouldn’t seek to implement tech tools simply because of their availability and He should devote time to the mastery of those tools.

  • What implications do usability and accessibility of technology tools have for online teaching?

I think its a foregone conclusion that tech tools would be incorporated into an online learning experience.  Ideally the tools should be chosen wisely and be seamlessly integrated into the experience with the instructor having a mastery of the tools and anticipating any usability and accessibility problems students might encounter.

  • What technology tools are most appealing to you for online teaching as you move forward in your career in instructional design?

I am definitely in favor of any tool that helps lessen the transactional distance (the theory of Transactional Distance states that as the level of interaction between teacher and learner decreases, learner autonomy must increase) thus aiding and facilitating the learning progress.  That said, I’d make good use of audio and video lecture resources and synchronous collaboration tools.

The use of technology is integral to the online learning experience–it can either positively effect the course by providing stand-ins for face-to-face elements or it can negatively effect the course if the tools are convoluted and tax the cognitive process thus taking the learner’s attention away from the material at hand.


Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Culatta, R. (2013) Instructional Design Retrieved from