Explore potential strategies.
Students might perceive the possibility to cheat without getting caught.
Students might think (rightly or wrongly) that cheating or plagiarizing in your course is easy and that they will not get caught. The link between the estimated probability of getting caught and the likelihood of cheating is very well documented in the research. Typical situations that might make it easier for students to cheat involve exams in large classes (too many people to adequately monitor), cheating on take-home exams (nobody there to proctor), or term papers and homework problems that can be purchased online.
This way you can easily spot if the final version is dramatically different from the previous one(s). Also, once the student has invested time in the draft, he/she will be less likely to cheat or plagiarize on the final version.
Assignments that require the students to make connections to class discussions or to other readings are not available to buy, thus cutting off one popular source of plagiarism. These types of assignments also make it very easy for you to detect plagiarism.
There are a variety of computer-based detection tools available, such as Turnitin , EVE , or even Google. Carnegie Mellon has a campus license for Turnitin, which is available to all instructors (contact OTE at 412-268-5503 for more information). These tools can be used not only for detection, but also as pedagogical tools by having your students check their work with them and realize for themselves if they have quoted too liberally. This can help students monitor the quality of their own writing.
Only use take-home exams when the assessment objectives require access to resources and an extended length of time.
You can increase the physical space between students by asking them to sit in every other chair and/or you can use a seating chart (say, organized alphabetically) to separate friends. In addition, make sure you have enough proctors in the room. For large classes you can also check identification at the door and take attendance. If your exams consist of problem sets, provide alternative forms, and clearly label them by letter (version A, B, C, D), number or color. The problems might have the specific data or units changed, or simply have the questions shuffled so they appear on different pages or in different order.
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