Plagiarism & Cheating
SolBridge cheating & plagiarism policy
Most of our students are honest and do their own work. That said, when designing assignments and exams, professors should take into consideration the new forms of online help and cheating that are available. Preventing cheating is essential for maintaining academic integrity and making sure all students are competing fairly.
In the case that a student has cheated on an exam or a significant assignment:
Prepare a report that describes the situation, including any specific evidence of cheating.
Share this report with the student(s) involved, informing them of the accusation and of the evidence against them. Give the student a chance to respond to you.
If the student cannot provide a satisfactory explanation, send the report to the Dean and to the Academic Affairs department (Leo Kim & Umida Sadullaeva).
The professor can then determine the appropriate course of action. Assigning an F for the course is the standard policy.
General advice for minimizing the potential for cheating
Use final projects instead of traditional exams.
Administer paper exams instead of online exams or take-home exams.
If testing online, don't distribute questions through a document or easily copied file. Instead, post questions directly on the LMS which then are not viewable by students once the exam is concluded.
Ask questions in a way that will produce different answers from each student.
Avoid asking questions that have stock answers, such as a definition of a concept.
Ask students to use their understanding of a concept to explain, analyze, compare etc. novel information or combine the information with their personal experience.
Use Turnitin for long answer and essay type assessments.
Regularly revise the questions given to students on assignments and exams.
In particular, search on crowd-sourced exam bank websites for your particular course to see if your exams are readily available online.
Be aware that there could still be copies of your exams circulating, even if you can't find copies of them online.
Don't heavily rely on test banks provided by textbook publishers. Instead, write unique questions.
In maths, require students to provide full solutions.
None of the tips here are perfect solutions. But they can make cheating harder for students to do and easier for professors to catch.
Sample procedure for live online exams via Zoom
The document here provides a sample testing procedure for conducting live, online exams over Zoom. This was developed for a mathematics course
A summary of the procedure:
Students must provide handwritten, full solutions to all exam problems. No multiple choice questions.
Students must join the Zoom meeting twice with two devices equipped with cameras. One device provides a front view of the student, while another device provides a side view of the student, their monitor and their desk.
After the exam, students use a scanning app to scan all their handwritten work into a single PDF file, which they submit through the LMS.
After submitting scans, students must take a selfie photo with each of their handwritten pages to prove that they wrote the work themselves. These photos are also then submitted through the LMS.
This procedure is not perfect, but it makes cheating harder and more complicated for the students and easier for proctors to catch.
Feel free to use this procedure in your own classes, with modifications as necessary.
Modern cheating resources
Many online resources exist that can support cheating and plagiarism, and smartphones put these resources at students' fingertips even during class time or during exams.
Textbook problem solution banks
Providing full solutions to textbook problems has become a large market. Many sites offer access to textbook solutions for a relatively small monthly fee.
For example, here is a set of full worked solutions for a popular calculus textbook, via Quizlet. The cost for unlimited access to all solutions is cheap at roughly $3 USD per month.
How to check if full solutions exist for your textbook:
Just search online for the name of the book + "solutions".
AI problem solver websites
Solver websites attempt to solve any question a person throws at them. These sites are especially effective for math-related fields, but not only them.
Often these sites are effective to the point that a student can just copy/paste in the question and copy out the answer without even understanding what the question is asking, let alone being able to understand or interpret the provided solution.
Most often these sites provide full worked solutions or references for any information they provide.
For example, here's a z-test for a population mean, and here's a matrix multiplication result.
Past semester exam banks
Many websites encourage students to provide copies of past assignments or exams. (Students who do so then receive access to content uploaded by others.)
In some cases, answers are also provided for these questions.
Many such documents have been uploaded by SolBridge students. Course Hero is the largest example.
Sites with large repositories of SolBridge exams
AI writing tools
Many online tools exist that can take a source text and paraphrase it well enough that Turnitin will not flag it as plagiarism. Student work written in this way may not technically meet the definition of plagiarism, but nonetheless it becomes possible for students to complete a writing or essay assignment without any significant effort on their part.
AI writing tools
Modern text generation AI programs are capable of creating original writing from simple text prompts. The results are high quality and are difficult to distinguish from work written by a human. You can read a sample AI essay here and here.
General text generation
Detecting work done by AI
AI paraphrasing: Turnitin is still able to recognize paraphrased text if the paraphrasing is minimal (e.g. a few adjectives or adverbs here or there).
AI writing: Turnitin is currently not able to detect this type of plagiarism since the generated text is novel and does not exist in any searchable database. However, there are still some possible ways of detecting AI-written work.
Be suspicious of work where the quality of the writing itself(phrasing, structure, etc.) is unusually high.
Be suspicious of work contains confidently stated factual errors, especially if that the factual errors relate to items that should be obvious or well-known to a high achieving student in your course. These errors will often be regarding obscure information or very recent developments in a particular field.
Use a detection tool:
Please note that none of these tools are fully reliable, as freely admitted by their creators, and future AI writing tools will likely fool these tools.
OpenAI's text classifier
Requires a free account