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Plagiarism Re-Visited

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Is plagiarism a serious issue with your students?
 33%  [ 2 ]
 16%  [ 1 ]
not sure
 16%  [ 1 ]
The school where I teach uses software to detect plagiarism
 33%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 6

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Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9836
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:36 pm    Post subject: Plagiarism Re-Visited Reply with quote

Have we talked about this before? I suspect yes, but perhaps it's been a while and is worthy of some fresh discussion.

I'm currently working with a bunch of Eastern Europeans, and, following in the footsteps of (insert recognizable name), they occasionally need to be reminded in concrete ways of what plagiarism is and that there are (well, sometimes) consequences.

My own approach is very overt; I show them how the software used by this institution works. Personally, I think the first purpose of plagiarism detection software is to help students avoid inadvertent plagiarism. Catching 'cheaters' is the secondary use, in my experience. I'm obviously working from the assumption that most students are not deliberately and knowingly setting out to cheat.

What happens in this respect in the school where you work?
What's your approach to plagiarism?
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Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12994
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:03 pm    Post subject: keeping on=line test-takers in line. Reply with quote

"Keeping an Eye on Online Test-Takers

MILLIONS of students worldwide have signed up in the last year for MOOCs, short for massive open online courses — those free, Web-based classes available to one and all and taught by professors at Harvard, Duke, M.I.T. and other universities.

But when those students take the final exam in calculus or genetics, how will their professors know that the test-takers on their distant laptops are doing their own work, and not asking Mr. Google for help?

The issue of online cheating concerns many educators, particularly as more students take MOOCs for college credit, and not just for personal enrichment. Already, five classes from Coursera, a major MOOC provider, offer the possibility of credit, and many more are expected.

One option is for students to travel to regional testing centers at exam time. But reaching such centers is next to impossible for many students, whether working adults who can’t take time off to travel, or others in far-flung places who can’t afford the trip.

But now eavesdropping technologies worthy of the C.I.A. can remotely track every mouse click and keystroke of test-taking students. Squads of eagle-eyed humans at computers can monitor faraway students via webcams, screen sharing and high-speed Internet connections, checking out their photo IDs, signatures and even their typing styles to be sure the test-taker is the student who registered for the class.

The developing technology for remote proctoring may end up being as good — or even better — than the live proctoring at bricks-and-mortar universities, said Douglas H. Fisher, a computer science and computer engineering professor at Vanderbilt University who was co-chairman of a recent workshop that included MOOC-related topics. “Having a camera watch you, and software keep track of your mouse clicks, that does smack of Big Brother,” he said. “But it doesn’t seem any worse than an instructor at the front constantly looking at you, and it may even be more efficient.”

Employees at ProctorU, a company that offers remote proctoring, watch test-takers by using screen sharing and webcam feeds at offices in Alabama and California. ProctorU recently signed an agreement to proctor new credit-bearing MOOCs from Coursera, including one in genetics and evolution offered at Duke and one in single-variable calculus at the University of Pennsylvania.

MOOC students who want to obtain credit will be charged a remote-proctoring fee of $60 to $90, depending on the class, said Dr. Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera, based in Mountain View, Calif.

Other remote proctoring services offer different solutions. At Software Secure in Newton, Mass., test-takers are recorded by camera and then, later, three proctors independently watch a faster-speed video of each student.

Compared with services where proctors are monitoring students in real time, this combination of recording first and viewing later “gives greater latitude for the institution to adjust the timing of exams to whenever they want,” said Allison Sands, Software Secure’s director of marketing. The cost is now $15 per exam.

Employees at ProctorU say they are well-versed in the sometimes ingenious tactics used to dodge testing rules. “We’ve seen it all,” said Matt Jaeh, vice president for operations. “After you’ve sat there a while watching people, the patterns of behavior for normal people versus the people trying to sneak in a cellphone to look up information are very clear.”

Each proctor can monitor up to six students at a time, watching three side-by-side camera feeds on each of two screens. If a student’s eyes start to wander, the proctor gives a warning via videoconferencing software, just as a classroom monitor might tell students to keep their eyes on their own papers. For an overwhelming majority of people, that warning suffices, said Jarrod Morgan, a co-founder.

With the system in place, “cheating usually isn’t a problem,” he said. But if it does occur, ProctorU follows the rules of the institution giving the exam. “Some schools ask us to cut off the exam on the spot if there’s a suspicious incident,” he said; others ask that the exam be continued and the incident reported.

Beyond the issue of proctoring, MOOCs are also addressing the problem of making sure that credit-seeking test-takers are the same students who enrolled in the course. In that effort, Coursera is offering a separate service, called Signature Track and costing $30 to $99, that confirms students’ identity by matching webcam photographs as well as pictures of acceptable photo IDs.

Students also type a short phrase, which is analyzed by a software program. It takes note of the typing rhythm and other characteristics, like how long the keys are pressed down. Then, when a student submits homework or takes a test, the algorithm compares a bit of new typing with the original sample. (And if you’ve broken your arm, there’s always your photo ID.)

Online classes are hardly new, but earlier courses typically didn’t have to handle exam proctoring on the scale required for vast MOOCs. The University of Florida in Gainesville, for example, has long offered many programs for students studying far from the campus, with some monitoring done by ProctorU, said W. Andrew McCollough, associate provost for teaching and technology.

Now the school has set up its first MOOC, on human nutrition (enrollment 47,000), and is working on four others, all through Coursera. The question of proctoring is being debated, he said, as faculty members worry about academic integrity amid the growth of open, online classes. “They don’t want any fooling around,” he said. “But as we get more experience and evidence, the faculty are getting familiar with ways technology can replicate a classroom experience.”

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear John:

That's a relief!

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Joined: 21 Jan 2003
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Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear spiral,

Yes, Big Brother is always our friend:

“Person of Interest” Becomes Real
August 9, 2012 By Thomas L. McDonald 13 Comments
So the TV show Person of Interest just became real in the city where it’s set.
In the show, Michael Emerson (Ben Linus from Lost) plays a computer programmer who created The Machine for the government. This black box system sorts all the data feeds from all the CCTV cameras, cell phones, computers, and other digital detritus looking for patterns that might indicate the planning of some kind of terrorist attack. Jim Caviezel (Jesus!) plays the former special forces guy who helps Emerson track down the people who are too small to be noticed by the system, but who are potential criminals or victims nonetheless.
Now Microsoft has partnered with the NYPD (last seen pretending their jurisdiction extends to New Jersey) and Nanny Bloomberg to make the whole thing real. And they’ve succeeded!
The nightmare device is called the Domain Awareness System, and it sorts through the feeds from the city’s 3,000 CCTV cameras and compares them to databases on criminals and potential terrorists, scans license plates, and probably does a lot more than they’re admitting (such as facial recognition).
You know the scene in The Dark Knight where Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) looks at the giant display created by Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) featuring similar technology? He says quietly: “This … is … wrong.” Later in the movie, he destroys the whole thing, believing no one can have that much power.
Good times, good times…
I guess it was too much to hope that a mayor who believes your fat, salt, and soda intake is police matter would show similar restraint when it comes to security.
New York gets their system free since they helped Microsoft create the thing, and they even get 30% of the sales whenever Microsoft sells it to other cities.
Wow, Big Government and Big Business joining hands for public safety and profit! What could ever possibly go wrong? Let’s not forget Microsoft has a horrible security record. They’re also about to release the cloud-dependent Windows 8, which is almost certain to be full of security holes, so having them create the programming under the hood of a giant spy computer maybe isn’t the best idea.
Here’s what Nanny McB says about the new system:
“We’re not your mom-and-pop’s Police Department anymore,” said Mayor Bloomberg yesterday at the system’s unveiling. “We are in the next century. We are leading the pack.” Ray Kelly added, “We can track where a car associated with a murder suspect is currently located and where it’s been over the past several days, weeks or months.” Months! The archival period for video is actually 30 days, but can be extended if the Deputy Commissioner of Counterterrorism feels like it.
The official documents ensure, “As with all NYPD operations, no person will be targeted or monitored by the Domain Awareness System solely because of actual or perceived race, color, religion or creed, age, national origin, alienage, citizenship status, gender (including gender identity), sexual orientation, disability, marital status, partnership status, military status, or political affiliation or beliefs.”
As long as I’m on a theme, I’ll let Heath Ledger react to that last line for me: "I thought MY jokes were bad."

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Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 942
Location: China

PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone read this:
German education minister resigns amidst plagiarism scandal

She wasn't the first!! Apparently it's common in Germany among those at the top. But plagiarism in the online era might be a blessing in disguise if it forces much needed educational reform. Those who want to plagiarize will find ways to evade such software detection.

But here's a 21st century solution that addresses the needs of the student and faculty---a successfully tested self- and peer-evaluation system: a web-based solution to large university class sizes, one that encourages critical thinking and improves grades.
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