Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Did they copy it from the internet?

I'd like to think I can spot text that's been copied from a web site and pasted into an assignment. Often all I have to do is ask the student what a particular word or phrase means and the slightly desperate, blank look says it all! The really lazy ones who don't get rid of the formatting don't deserve any feedback and even those who try usually miss something and a stray table or odd font size gives the game away.

However, for the times when I need a second opinion, an FE College I work for bought some quite expensive software a little while ago and I might have thought about being one of the first to use it. (I don't think many have. In fact I might have been the second to use it. And, no, it wasn't my recommendation.) Now, though, there's a free tool that's worth a try and may be useful for checking an odd paragraph or two that appear far too well spelled and punctuated for the urchin who handed it in. Called The Plagiarism Checker, try it out at this link. If I get some decent feedback about it I'll add it to the webtools site.

This discovery came from the brilliant pbwiki educators forum. Full of good stuff and still free.

Unfortunately, it won't catch the blighter who hands in someone else's work with the footer changed unless the person who did it first did his own bit of copying and pasting!

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