Detecting Plagiarism in Moodle – Unplag: Overview and features #Moodle @unplag

Plagiarism is when a student submits content they have copied and the real author was not given credit for the words. Plagiarism prevention detects when this form of cheating or academic dishonesty has happened. Since the starting of online learning, plagiarism is the biggest challenge for teachers and administrators.

According to the definition of Plagiarism at Wikipedia:

Plagiarism is the “wrongful appropriation” and “stealing and publication” of another author‘s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions” and the representation of them as one’s own original work

Moodle doesn’t come with any pre-installed plagiarism prevention methods – they need to be added by the site administrator as Moodle plugins. There are many Moodle plugins available out there for free and commercial plagiarism services which you can check out here.

Even though Moodle has free plugins that compare the submitted work with peer assignments and online sources, there are many commercial & paid services available. Why? Evidently, students resort to a lot more other sources available on the internet when writing their papers. Furthermore, free tools are not able to make sure a smooth workflow between teachers and students within Moodle activities.

The point is that paid checkers are far more regularly upgraded and able to offer better search through online sources, since using web index costs money and free tools are unlikely to afford it.

Today, I am going to discuss about the Unplag Plagiarism plugin for Moodle. Unplag is also among one of the fully supported commercial Moodle plugins helping educators grade student originality. Some of the key features of Unplag plagiarism service are:

  • Numerous text file formats
  • Scan against online sources in real-time
  • Initial file formatting is retained
  • Easy-to-interpret scan results
  • Similarity sources with spotted duplication
  • Checks available in multiple languages
  • Thorough text analysis
Detecting Plagiarism in Moodle - Unplag: Overview and features #Moodle @unplag
Commenting mode in Unplag

How Unplag integrates with Moodle

Unplag can be integrated with Moodle as a plugin. To start using the plagiarism services, users will be asked to register at https://unplag.com first. Further workflow is maintained inside Moodle. So, educators and students will work in a familiar environment without logging out of their Moodle accounts.

The Unplag default settings are configured once after the installation process is completed and then every teacher or professor can adjust them at any moment right in their Moodle accounts. However, it is recommended to do it before a Moodle activity is created.

With Unplag, instructors can select the scope of sources student submissions will be checked against. The sources include online sources, peer submissions, an academic institution database (if integrated with Unplag), and all the files shared voluntarily with Unplag (this sharing files option is inactive by default, if a user decides to give a paper to Unplag, s/he can enable it manually).

The way educators and students interact

Unplag supports most generally used Moodle activities like Assignment, Forum and Workshop with a possibility to submit files or online text.

Every time instructors create Moodle activities, they can set different Unplag settings. Right after an assignment is created, students upload their papers and submit them for grading or for draft check (if this option is enabled by the instructor). Instructors receive already checked works with links to interactive similarity reports. 

Inside each report educators can exclude matching sources manually, view statistics on similarity and originality of the scanned paper and overall percentage of cited material. To quickly navigate the report, Unplag highlights similarities, citations and references differently.

If a submission needs some extra editing, an educator can annotate some instructions or recommendations to any text passage right inside the report. Students will be able to see the comments once they are added. This commenting feature contributes much to better student engagement and lets them get feedback in real time.

For more details about the plans check out the Unplag website here.

PS -MoodleWorld is not affiliated to Unplag through any means.

Jaswinder Singh

Jaswinder Singh, passionate about using Moodle in improving the Indian Education System and reaching the students in far flung areas where still education seems to be a impossible prospect of life. He is the author of the popular Moodle Book "How to use Moodle 2.7". In October 2016, Jaswinder was elected as the Moodle User's Association Committee member - the first to make it from India.

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