Online paraphrasing tools, a problem for students?

Dr Ann Rogerson of the University of Wollongong’s blog post on online paraphrasing tools in three points:

  • « Paraphrasing shows how well someone understands other person’s ideas ».

  • « These tools are a significant threat to academic integrity ».

  • « Text matching software such as Turnitin® have difficulty in detecting the use of online paraphrasing tools ».

What can we do about it?  I agree with Dr. Ann Rogerson : Educate!  Let’s teach our students how to paraphrase, why it is important to do so correctly and how the online software is doing it poorly.

Trends in Plagiarism for 2017-2018

Jonathan Bailey, in one of his August article published in Plagiarism Today, gives us five trends for the coming school year around the issue of plagiarism.  The first one is about essay mills which are about to get a lot more attention from schools but also from goverment who will try to shut them down. The second trend will focus on the issue of students’ privacy when submitting their work to a detection software.

I’m baffled by the next trend which will integrate plagiarism detection into the evaluation process « making it more akin to checking for grammar or spelling mistakes« . I think that a teacher who finds plagiarism would stop the evaluation process since the paper cannot be graded if it has been plagiarised… The student must have consequences from redoing the paper completely or partially to getting an F.

Fourth trend: plagiarism detection technology will be integrated into the writing process. Students will revise and correct their papers and check for plagiarism before handing it in. For students who use this software to check their paper, it will be reassuring to know that they have written their essays without mistakenly plagiarizing.

The last trend is a growing intolerance for plagiarism. While that is hardly surprising, what is really sad to see is that there is no trend on better educating our students on what is plagiarism and how to avoid doing it.

To use or not to use!

Quantity and not quality is the reason professors in India do not use the anti-plagiarism software installed on their computers (Prabhakar, S., Times of India, 2017). It’s a matter of producing as much and as fast as you can.  Why should these professors use this software when they have plagiarised parts of their own thesis,  according to MSU professor of sociology S Samuel Asirraj? Using anti-plagiarism software could get them detected…

As a professor, is your computer equipped with an anti-plagiarism software? Are you using it to check every paper submitted to you, or only when you have doubts that your student has committed plagiarism? Are you using it before publishing your own work???


Une horreur! Un Uber de la rédaction…

En collaboration avec Caroline Fiset-Vincent

Pas envie de faire ton travail? Tu as des lacunes dans certaines matières? Tu aimerais être plus efficace et faire autre chose qu’apprendre (comme la fête tous les soirs de la semaine)? Ne t’en fais pas, est là pour toi!

Commande ta dissertation, ton mémoire, tes corrections, tes fiches de révision, ta thèse en ligne, 24 heures sur 24! Tu peux aussi commander ton C.V, une lettre de motivation, une traduction… Le tout, est sur mesure et authentique (évidemment, c’est du plagiat, mais très bien dissimulé)!

Dis-nous ce qui doit être fait et un rédacteur expérimenté s’occupera de le rédiger à ta place. Arrête de perdre ton temps, on peut le faire pour toi! Tu ce que tu as à faire c’est de nous payer! Mais tu es chanceux, car aujourd’hui tu peux bénéficier d’une réduction de 10% sur ta commande parce tu es abonné à Facebook!

Vous trouvez ce type de publicité aberrant? Nous ne l’avons pas inventé. Rendez-vous à l’adresse suivante  et vous verrez comment il est important de se liguer contre la vente de travaux. Inscrivez-vous aux activités contre le plagiat, le 18 octobre 2017, Journée internationale contre la tricherie contractuelle.


Let’s all say no to essay mills on October 18th!



On October 18th, join universities and colleges worldwide for the 2nd International Day of Action Against Contrat Cheating!

Read this article and find out about the statistics about contract cheating and how it can create a divide between students…

In his article published in The Telegraph (January 2017), Harry Yorke states that Doctor Thomas Lancaster and Robert Clarke, from the UK, found that more than 20 000 students  resort to essay mills in order to make their way to the top of the class and evade plagiarism consequences. Lord Storey, co-chair of the Committee on Education, Families and Young People, wants to make this practice illegal in the UK and specifies that « “rich students” are effectively “paying their way” to a top honours degree ». The number of 20 000 students using essay mills online is closer to 50 000 according to Lord Storey. And this phenomenon is not limited to the UK!

Should we give good grades to the rich students who can afford to pay between 600$ to 1000$ for a professionally written essay? Let’s figure out how to prevent our student from using essay mills. Let’s think about informing students about the consequences of using essay mills.


Une présentation intéressante sur les compétences informationnelles, médiatiques et numériques

Vous pouvez regarder une présentation intéressante de Roselyne Berthon, publié en mars 2017, qui explique les compétences informationnelles, médiatiques et numériques et la translittératie. Plus les différences et les ressemblances entre ces différentes compétences sont clarifiées, plus il deviendra « facile » de former les élèves. Allez jeter un œil!



Dropping the standards…

Written in collaboration with Caroline Fiset-Vincent

In an article published in the Telegraph (Feb. 2017), Camilla Turner explains that a survey conducted in the UK revealed that a third of professors and lecturers think international students « do not have adequate language skills to study at university ». In fact, requirements are lowered which means that academic institutions now admits more and more students who are almost illiterate.

Sixty percent of professors and lecturers also expressed their concerns about plagiarism and cheating saying that they have « caught students cheating at least once, and twenty-eight percent saying that they “regularly suspect” undergraduates of cheating.

Is it really surprising that students who are having difficulties writing and reading resort to plagiarism? Are we doing them a disfavor by admitting them in our universities in the first place when they don’t have what it needs to succeed? And why are we surprised then to have to lower our expectations???

Take the opportunity to make your teaching better

An article published in the New York Times quite a few years ago (2003) is promoting the idea that teachers can be proactive to try to stop cheating. Mark Edmundson says that  » professors need to stop looking exclusively for technological solutions to a problem that often stems, in consequential ways, from the way we do our jobs. Perhaps the current boom in electronic cheating can give professors — especially in the humanities, as the sciences are often bound to traditional test-giving and test-taking — a chance to pause and think and ultimately to teach in a better way« .

Edmundson explains how « condescending analysis is the order of the day » rather than « personal transformation » of our students. I totally agree with him. We need to make our teaching relevant to our students, to make them see and understand how what we are teaching can impact their lives, their careers. If students feel engaged with the course material, they will want to write their papers themselves and put forward their own ideas.

Fourteen years later, Edmundson’s ideas are still relevant.


Un manque d’intégrité…

Dans un article paru dans la Presse Canadienne (5 juillet, 2017), il a été question cette semaine des excuses dequi a été accusé d’avoir plagié les idées précédemment parues dans d’autres déclarations. Monsieur Saganash, qui tentait d’expliquer pourquoi, comme autochtone, il n’avait pas le coeur à la fête le 1er juillet (fête du 150e anniversaire du Canada), a perdu une excellente occasion de faire connaitre son opinion. Tout ce que nous retiendrons de son message, c’était qu’il ne venait pas de lui! Quel dommage…

Les images libres de droits

C’est toujours compliqué en éducation, que ce soit au primaire, au secondaire, au cégep ou à l’université, de savoir ce que nous pouvons utiliser comme images dans nos présentations, dans les documents que nous remettons aux étudiants. Sonia Morin a fait une capsule sur comment trouver des images libres de droits qui vous permettra d’être certain de ne pas enfreindre les droits d’auteurs. Un petit 3-4 minutes qui vous donnera la paix d’esprit. Ça vaut le coût de regarder cela, n’est-ce pas?