Plagiarism has always been a serious issue in education, especially in college. Teachers have always been assigning different types of projects. Many students have made the same mistake: they got a bit too inspired by online resources. In the eLearning environment, plagiarism is even more common. The entire study process takes place online, so students use a variety of sources without proper references.
Students don’t always plan to plagiarize. You have to do your research to seek inspiration and references. Sometimes you forget to reference a particular source, and you even forget where your idea came from. Your professor can locate the source even if you didn’t use the same words.
Software Helps You Avoid Plagiarism
You can use plagiarism detection tools to avoid plagiarism in the projects you get for eLearning courses. One example of such software is the Fixgerald plagiarism tool, which effectively identifies the text that appears in an online source. The tool is fast and free, and it will help you improve the quality of your writing. Keep in mind that tools like this one won’t get rid of plagiarism. They will not automatically rewrite your text. You must still make your own efforts towards original content.
Online plagiarism detection tools highlight sentences or parts of sentences that appear in online sources. Even if you didn’t copy the text entirely, different phrases from the same source may appear in your content. The plagiarism detector will identify them. If that’s the case, you can rewrite those parts or reference the source, so your professor won’t see it as a problem.
College professors use similar tools to check their students’ papers for plagiarism. You can get one step ahead and make sure your content appears clean during the grading process.
How to Avoid Plagiarism in the First Place
Plagiarism detection tools are amazing for identifying the problematic parts of your content. However, you can take steps that will prevent red flags as much as possible. When you minimize the issue during the first stages, the originality of your writing will greatly improve.
Instead of identifying plagiarism and paraphrasing that text, you can follow these tips to have 100% original results on the first check:
1. Be Aware of the Temptations of eLearning
When you learn online, you fully rely on the Internet. That’s where you get your learning materials, but it’s also where you gather information for projects and homework/exam answers. It’s tempting to spy for answers in google during online tests, and it’s even more tempting to copy-paste content to complete assignments without much effort. You should never do that!
Online courses are just as serious and as reputable as “normal” ones. Professors make a lot of effort to teach high-quality lessons, and they expect commitment from their students. That’s why they always check for plagiarism. Make an effort to study and complete all homework with your own words and ideas!
2. Review Your References
Whenever you use any other type of source, reference it! You don’t have to copy an entire citation. Even when you paraphrase the source, you should still reference its author. There’s a difference between direct quotes, summarizing, and paraphrasing. But there’s also a similarity that most students neglect: all original sources have to be acknowledged.
An online plagiarism checker will definitely catch full quotes. However, it can also identify paraphrased text if you keep a few phrases identical here and there. It will give you links to the websites where the content is found. If you forgot to reference some of these sources, you can do that after checking your text.
3. Keep Notes During the Research and Writing Process
When you read through online sources and plan how to write your paper, you may forget where the ideas came from. That’s why it’s important to keep notes throughout the process. You can use Pinterest to keep track of all potential references.
Remember: websites and blogs are resources to reference, too. It’s still someone else’s original work, so it’s never OK to use it without acknowledgement.
Academic Integrity Is Important
Online education may be criticized for many things, but the aspect of academic integrity has been improving throughout the years. Many reputable universities and professors offer high-quality online courses. You can rest assured that there’s no place for any plagiarism there.
The issue of plagiarism isn’t as simple as it sounds. Sometimes it’s unintentional, since you have to use online resources for your projects. That’s why it’s important to use online detection tools and provide additional references when necessary.
BIO: Judy Nelson fell in love with writing in high school, and never stopped. She enjoys writing short stories, blog posts, and eBooks. Judy often shares tips that help students get better at writing.