10 Online Tools and Resources That Support Academic Honesty

By Michael Yarbrough
Students have invented lots of ways to cheat and, with the growing use of technology in education, new cheating options appear on a regular basis.
Although it seems an overwhelming problem to address, there’s no need to despair. Do your due diligence–stop violations and cultivate honesty among students by also finding technology that works for you.
Check out the list of 10 edtech tools below that can help promote academic honesty while fitting nicely into daily routines and improving the quality of your educational efforts.
1. RefWorks
Cheating is often provoked by the fact that students don’t organize their research properly, and as a result, they fail to provide their work with a well-made bibliography. RefWorks helps to directly address this problem. This tool was developed for daily usage, and can help both students and teachers more effectively manage their research, writing and collaborative efforts with each other.
In fact, it doesn’t matter what you use it for–RefWorks is great for all academic work. In addition, this software can help faculty members, librarians, researchers and anyone else who wants to organize their work.
2. Unplag
Unplag plagiarism detection software is able to spot text coincidences and define from where they were taken.  Both students and teachers can use it at different stages – students are able to make a pre-check before final submission in order to detect accidental text similarities, and teachers can check student work for plagiarism while assessing their submitted assignments. A plus is that Unplag users can see the plagiarism percentage change while omitting sources or changing highlighted text similarities.
3. Respondus LockDown Browser
This browser is perfect for use in online tests. The only thing students can do in the browser is taking the test– there isn’t access to online tools or materials and  the right-click and browser menu options are disabled. As the result, students can’t copy or print anything from the web. This tool is also integrated into a range of learning management systems such as Blackboard Learn, Brightspace, Canvas, Moodle, Schoology and Sakai.
4. Respondus Monitor
Besides Respondus LockDown Browser, there is another option available called Respondus Monitor, which uses webcams to guarantee fair testing. Distance learners often find it easy to cheat because an educator isn’t there to monitor the exam session. With Respondus Monitor, exam proctoring can happen remotely with monitoring.
5. ProctorU
This tool works well with Respondus LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor to allow students to take tests remotely. The only thing they need is access to the Internet. In order to prevent cheating, ProctorU authenticates students through a multi-factor process. The teacher is able to see everything students do while taking a test.
6. Mendeley
This is a reference manager for student, teacher and researcher use, which helps avoid breaking citation rules and committing unintentional plagiarism. Mendeley allows annotating and making citations and bibliographies according to any of a number of different citation styles you choose, making correct referencing a breeze and preventing academic honor code violation. Mendeley users also can create their own libraries with all the necessary materials and share them with colleagues at their school or around the world. Working in groups is an option as well.
7. Purdue OWL
This website includes lots of useful information on conducting research, writing and teaching writing, grammar, mechanics and style. As mentioned above, students tend to forget or just don’t know how to cite in different styles, and since incorrect reference lists are considered a violation, it makes sense to check if everything’s been done right. Purdue OWL provides its users with detailed information on this, making it a great recommendation for students.
8. Google Scholar
Using trustable sources for writing any academic paper or assignment is crucial. This way a scholar or student won’t run the risk of using materials with false or plagiarized findings. Google Scholar is among these tools. It is a search engine focused on scholarly literature.
No matter what you study, you can find various manuals, articles, essays, theses and many other materials related to a topic. What’s more, Google Scholar users can also find citations, publishers and libraries. Google Scholar Metrics is a helpful option too, because it helps in monitoring new publications and seeing what’s trending.
9. Poll Everywhere
This real-time tool allows users to create polls and share them with colleagues or students. An advantage is that besides text polls, Poll Everything supports images, formulas and questions in other languages. Participants can access polls via any device and take part immediately after a link is shared. If you set a particular time limit for taking a poll, your students won’t have any time to try cheating.
10. Self Control
When working on assignments, students are very likely to exchange their ideas that often may lead to having two or more almost identical student submissions and considered as plagiarism. To prevent such awkward situations from happening, advise them to use this Mac application.
It will also come in handy for those who need help staying focused and avoiding distractions. Lots of students face the problem of being distracted by the Internet and social media sites. While working on a computer, there’s a temptation to take a break and surf the web. A few minutes very quickly becomes an hour of wasted time. Self Control was created to reduce distractions by blocking various websites.
With these tools, you’re more than ready to promote honesty among your students. Please share your experiences in the comments below about using these tools and resources, or recommend any other helpful applications and websites you find useful in the battle against academic cheating.
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Michael Yarbrough is a private English tutor and a former secondary school English teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @mick_yarbrough.

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1 Comment

Susan Merrick

I would definitely have had Noodletools in that list for so many reasons!

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