Cheating is not new. It is older than formal education. But the digital age has made plagiarism and stealing answers easier. This is a topic that you can bring up with teachers at any grade level and get engagement.
There is no solution. But there are techniques and some digital tools that can help.
I never received any applause doing an academic integrity workshop or presentation when I would say that I believed that the biggest cause for plagiarism and cheating is poorly designed assignments. I also believe the greatest prevention comes by teacher interventions.
But here are eight ideas from www.ISTE.org (follow link for details)
1. Create defined pathways
2. Use your digital resources (Turnitin.com, Plagtracker.com etc.) tempered with your best judgment.
3. Encourage collaboration and choose groups wisely. - allowing and even encouraging working together.
4. Don’t ask “cheatable” questions. On this one, I like one suggestion (which I have been suggesting for years based on a professor I had myself who did it many years ago): give all your students the same assignment, but make one aspect unique to each person, or add one unique element that is not going to be found online in connection to the general topic..
5. Communicate your expectations clearly.
6. Show them you’re paying attention. Let them know you use plagiarism-detection software. Have them do a test run and see the results. Wander the classroom during testing. Ask students to explain or reflect on a specific piece of an assignment to demonstrate their learning. Do it as a spot check, not necessarily every student for every student.
7. Do your research.
8. Give up. This last piece of advice sounds defeatist, but means pick your battles and don’t get bogged down with small issues.
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