Plagiarism – I Can Google That!



How many times during your undergraduate years did you find yourself pulling an all-righter to finish a paper the night before it was due? How much content from those papers that you wrote do you still remember and use in the real-world today? Plagiarism is about having behavioral standards about the work that you do and citing the work of others that you use properly (College of Agricultural Sciences, 2005). Back in 1997 when I graduated, AltaVista was the major search engine in use at the time. According to Wikipedia (2016), Google had not formally been incorporated until 1998. So during my time as an undergraduate, you did your research in the library, took materials home with you and wrote your paper using a Word processor. Back then, the means of determining plagiarism was done by manually comparing papers by hand. Today, there is a vast amount of resources available online that make it easier to copy and paste from websites and the potential to claim that verbiage as your own. However, search engines such as Google allow facilitators to track down copied phrases with commercially available plagiarism detection software and online services such as EVE and to compare individual student papers to Web documents and/or essay databases to find and report instances of matching text (Jocoy & DiBiase, 2006). As a facilitator, I agree with Dr. Pratt in his approach toward making assessments that would mirror real-life expectations (Laureate Education, 2010). If I were to conduct a class on Shakespeare, I believe the likelihood of receiving papers on the interpretation of passages that might be plagiarize could be greater than if I was to give an assignment based upon how a student would approach a situation in the real world. Real-world examples can have many variables and students have different life-experiences that could lead them to different solutions to a situation. This consideration would make it less likely to plagiarize someone else’s work and claim it as your own. It would require a deeper understanding and method of producing a trouble-shooting workflow that can vary between individuals. By changing the scenario and altering a few variables to the situation, the student is put into a position of having to prepare a head of time for the situation and come up with original thoughts to demonstrate an understanding of the material, like Star Fleet Academy cadets would have to in the fictional TV show scenario of Star Trek’s Kobayashi Maru.


Jocoy, C., & DiBiase, D. (2006). Plagiarism by adult learners online: A case study in detection and remediation. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 7(1), 1-15. Retrieved from the Walden Library using the Education Research Complete database

Laureate Education (Producer). (2010). Plagiarism and cheating [Video file]. Retrieved from

3 thoughts on “Plagiarism – I Can Google That!

  1. Love the title!! Is there an assignment for Shakespeare that you could design that connects to real-life and includes collaboration in order to reduce the likelyhood of plagiarism occuring?

    • Hi Michelle,
      You know, anything is possible! A group activity involving a Shakespeare sonnet connecting lessons in life and love and the interpretations of such related to the perception of those from different generations of learners. Everyone would have a diverse point of view from an online learning perspective since we all develop in different ways, have different backgrounds and are raised in different cultures. Diverse perspectives like this can add an enriching element for the discussion board of an online environment.

      Here is a link to get us started:


  2. Hey John,
    Yep, Google was my first thought as well. So easy to take parts of a paper, especially something that sounds a little too good to be a students work, and google a few key phrases.
    I like your note about including real-life experiences in your assignments. This almost forces a student to dig deep and come up with something, instead of mis-quoting and paraphrasing someone elses thoughts.
    Great ideas!
    – Joe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *