Universities weave web of 4.5 billion ways to catch plagiarised essays

Students who plagiarise essays from the internet could soon have their cheating exposed, if a scheme announced by universities yesterday takes off.

Students who plagiarise essays from the internet could soon have their cheating exposed, if a scheme announced by universities yesterday takes off.

The Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen and Edinburgh University are among those testing out a plagiarism detection service devised by a group of computer specialists from UK universities. They hope the service will curb the growing trend of students cheating in their coursework, driven by an increase in the number of internet sites offering customised essays for sale.

The programme, developed by the Joint Information Systems Committee, checks students' work against 4.5 billion web pages from more than 800 million websites and against essays submitted previously.

Charles Juwah, senior educational development officer at RGU, said: "Although at present the service is voluntary, we have had an excellent level of participation from our students. This software contributes effectively in raising students' awareness of good academic practice of handing in authentic work, sourcing and referencing academic writing correctly and in acknowledging and upholding other people's moral rights. It is a plagiarism deterrent and gives merit for good practice."

Mr Juwah has also held seminars on how to prevent plagiarism for staff at his university.

Justin Greenwood, professor of European public policy at the university's Aberdeen Business School, said the recent surge in internet "cheat sites" had threatened the integrity of degree qualifications. After examining the content of such websites last year, Mr Greenwood decided to stop accepting coursework, switching to assessment by exam only.

But the new technology prompted him to change his mind: "After attending a seminar on the subject, I decided to redesign coursework assessments and use the electronic submission plagiarism detection service," he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Senior Textiles / Fashion Technician

£22000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To contribute to the day-to-da...

Recruitment Genius: Health and Social Care NVQ Assessor

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: It is also essential that you p...

Recruitment Genius: ICT Infrastructure Manager

£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Edinburgh city centre scho...

Recruitment Genius: Plumber

£30000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An independent boys' school sit...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'