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9 Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism in Moodle

By August 13, 2018 No Comments
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Plagiarism is a touchy issue, but it’s one that every higher education institution faces. One of the easiest ways to avoid plagiarism is by making sure that students recognize what constitutes copyright infraction of another’s works, how to properly cite referenced works, and ways to avoid making common mistakes.

Both educators and students have similar questions regarding plagiarism, including:

  • What exactly constitutes plagiarism?
  • What are examples of common plagiarism infractions in student works?
  • How can you avoid plagiarism in/with using Moodle?

Here are some things you need to know to avoid accidental (or otherwise) plagiarism and how you can catch “borrowed” references within student works in Moodle.

1. What is plagiarism?

The clear definition of academic plagiarism is defined as the stealing of someone’s idea and passing it off as one’s own, without giving obvious credit to the original author’s work. In general, if you don’t include properly marked citation and do not refer to the author even when paraphrasing original text, you have plagiarized.

Unfortunately, there is no single common, international, and explicit definition of plagiarism across all countries. Additionally, many countries either don’t have or have poorly documented copyright law. Legal vacuum generates a lack of understanding around academic plagiarism, its circumstances, and consequences. Therefore, each country and higher education institution may have certain regulations in place to identify and penalize plagiarism. To be thoroughly informed, you should learn the rules of both.

2. Learn the rules for citing sources.

When preparing a paper, it is good rule of thumb to check if your higher education institution has their own regulations in place to prevent and penalize plagiarism. This documentation is usually included in the code of ethics. Following these rules is the easiest way to avoid any mistakes.

Outside of your institution’s specific requirements, the correct annotation usually contains at least the name and surname of the author(s) of the cited text, the title, location in a given publication (number of a magazine, page etc.) and a place and year of publication. If there are more than three authors, it is also worth mentioning the name and surname of the editor. In the case of online sources, you also have to provide the date of access and, if possible, the direct link.

3. Be careful when citing sources from the Internet. Moreover, memes and pictures must also be cited.

Yes, sources from the Internet should also be marked and cited. Writing that the source is “Internet” or “Wikipedia” is synonymous with no source. When quoting someone’s paper that is available online, don’t forget to mention the date of access and the direct link to the source.

Additionally, when quoting memes, drawing, photographs, illustrations, graphs, or other graphic objects, you must quote the author of this object (ex. painter or photographer) and its title, as well as any information identifying the first place of publication of the object.

4. Give yourself time for adequate research and annotation.

Remember that writing a paper and looking for the appropriate data takes time. Avoid putting yourself in a situation where you might be tempted to look for a shortcut, like “borrowing” material from another source without providing the appropriate annotation. In this case, it’s always better to have badly written paper than a plagiarized one!

5. Remember: Unfinished papers are also protected by copyright.

If you plan to cite a paper that is not finished or you have access to a book that has not been published yet, you also have to cite these sources.

6. Do not self-plagiarize.

When using excerpts from your own paper, or a part of it, that has already been published, these pieces need to be marked and quoted. For example, if you use a quote from a previously published article in your thesis, you need to reference and properly annotate it or else you will be culpable of self-plagiarism.

7. Changing the original sentence slightly without referencing the author is still plagiarism.

A common mistake is to change a sentence slightly or paraphrase another’s work without giving credit to the author. Although the sentence has been given your “original spin,” without referencing the original author this is almost always still considered plagiarism.

8. Moodle can help prevent plagiarism.

Moodle is a great tool for communicating with the educator and guiding students in their academic papers and projects. Moodle is also able to track all learner actions and organizes all educational resources and tools in one central location.

With Moodle, educators have fast and easy access to student papers, the ability to evaluate them via different modifiable forms, and then provide students with timely feedback. Moodle saves students and educators time, and can help to both identify plagiarism and encourage original works with tools like StrikePlagiarism.com.

9. Unsure whether you have committed plagiarism? Check your work at StrikePlagiarism for free.

StrikePlagiarism.com provides paid and free anti-plagiarism services. With an anti-plagiarism solution, texts are searched for borrowed pieces, enabling you to detect and address any plagiarism issues within a work of writing.

Interested in learning more about how to prevent plagiarism in Moodle with StrikePlagiarism?

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Speaking of citing our sources, please see StrikePlagiarism’s original article here.