Equipped to Fight Plagiarism

“When a society’s educational institutions are infused with integrity, they help create a stronger civic culture for society as a whole.”

International Centre for Academic Integrity

The Age-old Challenge of Academic Misconduct

Although universities and higher learning institutions have been fighting against academic misconduct among students, academics and staff, it remains a challenge. The result of course is mistrust of both students and educators.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism has many shapes and forms, but it boils down to any one person using the words ideas or work products of another identifiable person or source, without attributing this to its original source; in a situation where there is a legitimate expectation of original authorship; in order to obtain some benefit, credit or gain – which need not necessarily be of a monetary nature (Fishman, 2009). In short, when students try to pass off others’ work or ideas as their own.

The temptation to draw on resources in a dishonest manner during exams, assessments, projects and so forth, has been ascribed to pressure placed on students. Sometimes students aren’t even aware that they are committing plagiarism as they reference all sources. In other cases, it is simply to find dishonest ways to submit work – often disregarding the impact of not acquiring their qualifications in an honest manner may have on their future (or on others). (Read more on why students plagiarise here)

How to Tackle Plagiarism

Plagiarism is not a new concept – over the years it has just become easier to copy other ideas due to the easy access to information, other students’ work or paying someone else to do the work for him or her.

Rather than implementing stricter policing tools, educators should find ways to identify and address the root of the problem. And institutions should guide this process with policies and processes.  The key focus should be on raising awareness of what academic integrity is and how to uphold it, to educate and support students through building their skills around research, citation, writing and academic integrity practises. Through this, institutions also protect their values and ultimately their credibility.

Equipped to Build a Culture of Academic Integrity

Turnitin helps both students and educators limit plagiarism and encourages original writing. There are various solutions offered by Turnitin to help guide this process at every step of academic writing.

The reasoning behind this is that in order to create a culture of fairness, students need to understand how to act with integrity. Educators need the tools to efficiently act with fairness in mind, helping students to help understand the importance thereof. Institutions need insights that can secure integrity as part of every aspect of the education they provide their students.

In essence, Turnitin’s solutions provide insights to the right people at the right moment, so that they can respond proactively. This is achieved through presenting data and insights within teaching and learning tools.

Figure 1.1: Turnitin Solutions

How does Turnitin Similarity Work?

Turnitin Similarity is not an anti-plagiarism tool. Rather, it checks for the level of similarity in a research report or assignment. Once flagged, the educator can investigate whether work is cited correctly or not.

Figure 1.2: Flagged citations 

Here is how the process works. A typical submission made to an assignment in Turnitin generates a Similarity Report. The Similarity Report is the result of comparison between the text of the submission against the search targets selected for the assignment; this may include billions of pages of active and archived internet information, a repository of works previously submitted to Turnitin, and a repository of tens of thousands of periodicals, journals, and publications. Any matching or highly similar text discovered is detailed in the Similarity Report that is available in the assignment inbox.

The similarity score is a percentage of a paper’s content that matches Turnitin’s databases; it is not an assessment of whether the paper includes plagiarised material or not.

Key features

  • Color-coding, filters, and source comparison for easy interpretation.
  • Data insights to show deliberate text manipulation.
  • Compare against the industry-leading database of content for comprehensive results.
  • Integrates with today’s top learning management systems, collaboration tools, and single-sign-on services. 

Which Plagiarism Solution is Right for You?

This buyer’s guide will help you find the plagiarism-checking solution that meets your institution’s needs and instructional goals.

Download "Plagiarism Solution Checklist'

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Fishman. T. (2009) “We know it when we see it” is not good enough: toward a standard definition of plagiarism that transcends theft, fraud, and copyright. Paper presented at 4th Asia Pacific Conference on Educational Integrity, 28–30 September 2009, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia. https://www.bmartin.cc/pubs/09-4apcei/4apcei-Fishman.pdf (Accessed: 13 February 2019).

International Center for Academic Integrity: Fundamental values of Academic Integrity (2019) Available at: https://academicintegrity.org/fundamental-values/ (Accessed: 15 January 2019).


Challaenges ahead for Educators in2022

Predicted challenges ahead for educators that lecturers at South African Higher Education Institutions could face in 2022

The outbreak of Covid 19 worldwide placed the education sector in unfamiliar and uncertain times. Lecturers did not know what to expect and how they would continue with the academic year among hard lockdown periods and restrictions on accessing campuses. Change in higher education institutions happened fast, with lecturers being left underprepared and overwhelmed. The focus was placed on moving teaching and learning online rapidly, in an attempt to continue the academic year with as little disruption as possible.  Making teaching and learning accessible in uncertain times was a challenge.

Higher education institutions adopted a variety of strategies, some applied low-tech teaching and learning strategies, others offered all their courses fully online, and others combined fully online course delivery with sending instructional materials to students via courier services. A variety of factors influenced the success of students. Factors such as access to devices and data have been an overwhelming focus when designing and delivering programmes. During this time the role of the lecturer quickly increased to being, not only the subject matter expert but also becoming a support structure for their students.

Now, almost 2 years after the first global lockdown students and lecturers have had time to adapt to this ‘new normal’ and have learned lessons that they can now incorporate into teaching and learning in 2022. However, there are still some challenges faced by lecturers in standing at the beginning of a new academic year. Institutions are still uncertain of what this academic year of 2022 entails.

Some of the challenges (with possible solutions) lecturers will face in 2022, as predicted by various national and international sources and bodies like the Council for Higher Education in South Africa are:

  1. Engaging students during synchronous (live virtual) sessions

Many lecturers tried to mimic the normal face-to-face class time by presenting synchronous classes. Most of these lecturers would use these sessions to present a lecturer like they would have done in class. The challenge voiced by many lecturers is that these synchronous sessions are either not well attended, or students won’t engage in discussion prompts.  However, there are lecturers that have been very successful in utilizing synchronous sessions in their courses. These lecturers changed their perception of a synchronous session from using it as a replacement for the face-to-face lecture to now using it to engage with the students through critical discussions, breakout rooms, and polling tools. The lecture would still be done, but through a lecture recording and readings that the students then work through on their own in preparation for the synchronous session. This gives the students an opportunity to engage with the content, their peers, and their lecturer in the synchronous sessions. These sessions are recorded for those that have issues with accessibility and for those that want to revisit the discussions afterward for deeper learning and to clarify concepts that they struggle with.

  1. Online assessments remain an issue

Although many people have used different types of online assessments like quizzes, assignments, discussions, journals, etc. many aspects around conducting assessments online remain a challenge. Lecturers feel anxious about online assessments because in some cases they might not know what the possibilities are on the online platform, or they’ve had online assessments running on the system previously but the student queries were overwhelming. Academic integrity and accessibility are also still some of the factors that cause anxiety around conducting online assessments. Some of the ways in which lecturers have dealt with these challenges are through rethinking their assessment strategy and including assessment methodologies like authentic assessments and open-book tests and exams, redesigning summative assessments to include different parts that students complete that count as a whole. For example, having the summative assessment be one part multiple choice and one part open-book exam. Or in some cases, people do away with exams and make use of portfolios of evidence or a project as a summative assessment. Multiple-choice questions can be used to test higher-order thinking skills. Making use of objective assessment methods / Socratic questioning methods as well as case studies are all assessment strategies that have been successfully implemented by lecturers during the emergency remote teaching circumstances the past 2 years.

  1. Delving deeper into the opportunities that the online environment offers

Lecturers have indicated that although they had to move their courses rapidly to the online platform, they made use of more tools than they previously had when they taught their courses in a blended learning modality. They do admit that the variety of tools available on the learning platform makes them excited about what online learning can offer and that they want to use the tools more and better in future course designs. Some of them indicated that they learned a lot of lessons while using the tools and therefore want to utilize them better to enhance teaching and learning.

  1. Using reporting to track students’ progress and identifying at-risk students early

Online platforms have a variety of reporting functionalities built into the systems however they are not being fully utilized yet. Some reporting through grade centers are used to see when students accessed the course, and what assessments they’ve done. But there are reporting tools available that can help lecturers identify at-risk students early and offer support to them. Lecturers should explore the built-in reporting tools on their online platforms.

  1. Creating quality evaluation frameworks

Quality assurance measures and policies at institutions help lecturers have a set of standards that they work towards when designing and developing courses. However even though some institutions have them in place, these aren’t always written for all modes of delivery, depending on what the traditional course delivery method is of the specific institution. During the last 2 years courses were moved online rapidly and a lot of the quality assurance couldn’t take place. This is now a good time to make sure the policies are updated for similar circumstances and are easily useable for the lecturers. Having a quality course evaluation process in place, together with frameworks like the Quality Matters rubric or the 4Cs checklist is a good place to start.

  1. Training and supporting lecturers

The global pandemic shed light on training and support needs for lecturers and students at institutions. Helping lecturers understand the different modes of delivery and how to design for them is an important skill needed. As well as supporting them in using online tools to enhance the teaching and learning and not disrupt it. Making training available to lecturers in digital skills is much needed.

There are a vast majority of open and free resources available in the higher education sector that has been shared by lecturers at national and international institutions. Lecturers share their experiences on how they used certain tools and practices in their courses. They share what worked, what didn’t work and how they overcome many teaching and learning challenges during the last 2 years. The way in which people are willing to openly share their ideas and their stories is definitely a practice that has grown significantly due to the global pandemic and we hope it continues for years to come.

Higher Education has seen many changes due to Covid-19. The needs and demands of students are rapidly changing along with the development of educational technology. These are the trends to look out for in terms of student needs when it comes to the future of higher education institutions.

Student Career Pathways are Top of Mind

Students place a high value on how their institution is preparing them for a career post-graduation. Data highlights that career concerns start before students attend a college/university. To remain relevant, institutions must focus on attracting more students and increasing alumni connections with a focus on career pathways, as well as strong links to professional bodies and workplace organizations that promote quality and high standards in their membership

This then also raises the issue that with so many more choices, pathways, industry qualifications, and the expense of a university education how do colleges, etc. make their offerings attractive? Universities must demonstrate the value they bring to the table to remain relevant.

Flexible Learning Options

Covid-19 has highlighted the possibility of remote or online learning, where students do not have to be on campus daily. Flexible course options are a top consideration for prospective students and have to be taken into account going forward.

Learner and Institution Success Require Innovation

The adoption of new models and student-centric innovation requires the use of an agile platform to empower faculty and staff throughout the entire learner journey. The sudden shutdown proved the long-term worth of digital strategies in areas like virtual campus tours, digital advertising, virtual advising, and hybrid courses.

Keep in mind that university innovation and Edtech innovation don’t have to be at odds with each other. At the same time, the needs of students should always trump the needs of technology and innovation. It is a fine balance.

Information Dissemination vs Cerebral Personal Transformation

Information is available freely on the internet. That is why it has become extremely important to deliver educational experiences. Approaches to teaching and learning need to be focused on expanding knowledge application and personal development, rather than retaining information.

Intentional and Relevant Learning Content

Quality and relevance of content become increasingly relevant. Institutions can no longer rely on prescribed textbooks and articles only. They need to generate their own content and adapt learning to be more personalised. Technology and the available data play a big role in teaching and learning from an adaptive and/or personalised approach.

Growth in the Importance of Advanced Technologies in Learning

The introduction of advanced technologies including VR, cloud-based LMS, and AI will drive the market growth. In short, AI is coming, don’t say you weren’t warned!

Gaming and gamification have already become part of new, innovative teaching and learning methods, and will no doubt become increasingly part of the learning experience in the future – engaging learners in their world.

Datafication, Privacy and Student activism

With the growth of the use of technology in education and the development of remote or distance learning monitoring (such as proctoring tools for assessments), the issue of privacy is growing. Data security and student information are contentious issues, and while we use data to improve learning experiences, students are becoming more actively concerned with privacy matters, which means we are seeing an uprise in student activism in response.

It is no secret that technology is excelling at an unprecedented pace. These past two years have led to many shifts within higher education. Driven by the pandemic, educational technology has become the go-to solution in emergency remote teaching, but it has evolved into more than that. We unboxed the higher education trends in 2022 for you here.

As much as we are all trying to combat the spread of Covid 19, it is still here and does not look like it is going away anytime soon. This means even if campuses and businesses are physically open, the hybrid model will carry on for some institutions as we need to be cautious and for others, it will have become the norm. Therefore, many of the shifts at higher education institutions have become part of a long-term strategic approach. The pandemic, along with the natural progression of Edtech trends, is shaping the trends in higher education and technology.

To understand what this means for the near future, we highlight some of the trends we predict will be of key importance in 2022, starting with institutions and educators, and then moving on to a focus on students and their expectations and needs for teaching and learning development.

Staff Wellbeing

Recent studies show that mental and emotional wellbeing have been and continue to be a top challenge identified by both students and staff. While this has always been a focal point, Covid-19 has further highlighted this need, especially for educators. The existing pressures of studying at the tertiary level, combined with adapting to new technology and the study environments of students all contribute to stress levels. Educators have also had to adjust to new ways of doing things, and the stress of students who may not have access to the technology needed to continue their studies.

Educator Skills Sets in a Rapidly Evolving Technology Landscape

A strong focus on contextual and complimentary educator skills development should be at the top of the list of priorities for institutions. Institutions and teams need to encourage and coordinate rapid enablement to meet the needs of new learning needs and be in a position to debate and decide what technologies best serve the needs of their students, their teaching, and their institutions teaching and learning strategy.

Flexible Working Options

Staff will most likely expect more flexibility offered by their institutions coming out of the pandemic. This will have to be taken into consideration with face-to-face learning on campus and would leave space for blended learning models.

Universities to Explore New Business Models

Investment in new business models is key to the future, with an emphasis on attracting and engaging lifelong learners. Demands for shorter, more flexible programs are on the rise, while enrollment numbers on traditional qualifications decline.

In response to this, institutions are needing to expand their offerings, add new leadership roles to their departments, and double down on strategic plans for the long term.

Institutions also need to look at the role of Edtech business at institutions and work with partners they feel match their outlook, strategy, and culture.

Growth in the importance of Communities of Inquiry

Humans do not learn in a vacuum – we learn in communities, through social interaction, i.e. from each other. Digitally mediated Communities of Inquiry should increasingly play an important role in teaching and learning even if only as a secondary mode to ensure future study disruption is managed and hopefully prevented from shuttering learning altogether. Going forward, the focus should be on the creation of deep and meaningful transformative learning experiences, and communities of inquiry help this process along.

Think Globally, Act Locally

One of the biggest lessons learned from the past and important paths for the future is for Africa to solve our future in education through local, homegrown solutions. As the penetration of the internet and mobile learning grows, opportunities for teaching and learning increase. We should embrace these opportunities, take advantage of international developments, and find local solutions to implement them. The key here is contextualization and ensuring that the technology providers and partners used, share the same values.


For institutions to stay relevant, it is important to take the above trends into consideration going forward. Student perceptions and needs have also changed and are trending in the following directions…Read more.

The Shift to Online Learning 

Technology-based learning and digital teaching are increasingly part of every individual’s learning experience. This has become even more relevant over the past two years. Evolving from school level to university level, this mode of teaching and learning is even becoming relevant at the work level too.  

This means that while educators have needed to adapt to the changes that technology brings to education, COVID-19 caused a Tsunami of change, with everyone needing to adjust even faster. The scope of the changes has also grown seeing that for digital technology and education to work, it must be used effectively and incorporated in the right way. If not, the whole exercise is futile. 

We recently had an interesting conversation on the topic of digital teaching and learning with Anne-Mart Olsen from Nelson Mandela University. A group of staff members participated in our Digital Teaching eXpert Course (DTX), and we reflected on the course and the abovementioned issues surrounding Covid-19 and the shift to digital teaching. 

The Need for Professional Development 

Anne-Mart Olsen is the Academic Developer at Nelson Mandela University (NMU). Her focus is generally curriculum design and learning design. Her role also entails the induction of newly appointed academics at NMU. The juggle between work and being a homeschooling mom, was possibly the worst experience ever. In the same breath, it was through trying to homeschool a Grade One who is still learning to read, that helped Anne-Mart learn patience and develop her skills further in digital learning.  

After completing the DTX course, Anne-Mart reflected with us on her experience. “It’s kind of hard to admit…but I realised that I had quite a big gap in my own digital teaching skills. I mean, I used to do adoption of technology but that was back in the day when web 2.0 was still the thing….” 

“I realised that in my case, I had to help academics get online, I have to support students if they’re struggling, and I have my kids who I have to help.” In other words, the DTX course had a multi-purpose in Anne-Mart’s case.  Anne-Mart received numerous queries that she did not know how to respond to, and had to research or figure out first before she could get back to the student or lecturer. With lockdown, they suddenly faced new challenges. “We were thrown into Zoom, we were thrown into Teams. We’ve always had Moodle, but Moodle was often used as a repository even by ourselves when we were creating our own Moodle sites. We were assisting academics to conceptualise their curriculum and, in a way, developing it with learning design, and we have a learning design team.”  

Anne-Mart’s role is to bridge the two – to bring learning design and the curriculum together. Anne-Mart explains, “I reached the point where I realised there was such a big gap between what we say we want to do… and what is actually realistic or implementable. We needed to upskill. I had no idea what to expect, but I was hoping that I could develop myself quickly, both personally and professionally, while attending an online course. While I’ve done MOOCs before, MOOCS are, as you know quite vicious, if you drop in your drop out. This was different – I wanted an online experience. I needed to understand how to transition materials from face-to-face teaching to online teaching.” 

Expectations of the Course 

The need for NMU was to upskill lecturers to digital teaching and learning. Realising that they now offered fully online courses, but none of the lecturers actually ever attended a fully online course themselves. It was important for them to experience the course, but also to learn how to adjust what they do for online teaching – as it is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Contexts differ, learners differ. The course helped us understand how to tackle these scenarios.  Anne-Mart explains, “I needed to understand the how – and the engaging experience was such a bonus as it really helped me learn. To be honest, I was not prepared for the intensity of the course, but it was really worth it. I had to learn how to bridge the gap between what best practice and what can be done in practice.”  

The Course Experience and Outcomes 

The DTX course was delivered to NMU over a period of five days. One of the outcomes highlighted by Anne-Mart was that the course blended theory and practical to a point where attendees could actually go and practically apply the theory. It meant that participants could take the theory and create a learning resource. Putting theory in practice creates a resource that the lecturer can carry on using throughout their future course planning or development.  

Another realisation was that online learning should not just be about assessments. There should be some elements of “fun” too and with the right application of tools, this is possible. This raised many questions, such as do we need to assess everything we do, just because it was done in this manner in the past? It became an opportunity to evaluate course material and to convert content to be UDL compliant.  

While this was a daunting concept, the way the course was structured also helped with this process. Participants gained confidence and now had a grasp of how to adjust content and presentations to suit the online learning environment. They realised that they have the capability if they just understand better what is needed and how to apply the technology – reflecting on what you have in place already and seeing how to adjust it. There was a shift from feeling overwhelmed, to feeling empowered. “The reflective practice aspect was phenomenal to bring in.” 

The Impact on Teaching Practises 

The sessions throughout the course helped participants to look at the technology at their disposal differently, “I looked at the online space that I’ve created, which is on Moodle. There are a few things I can add and tweak, but it’s not too bad. But it is not integrated with Teams in any way. So I recreated my platform.” 

Another important change after the course was the use of other applications to increase interactive activities and engagement, rather than just uploading content onto Moodle. Reducing assessments and finding ways to get away from just using the online space for uploading content. 

Anne-Mart mentions the barrier to asynchronous teaching before completing the course. Previously, they had tried to have more of a flipped approach, but they did not have the means to implement asynchronous methods in their classes. For the course, Anne-Mart developed her skills by tackling a presentation on teaching asynchronously. This helped Anne-Mart understand how to do so within a class context too. Realising that a lecturer does not always have to be “live” when teaching. After a few days of live-streaming classes, it is possible to step out and simply set aside consultation times and let students know when you are available. 

Realising there are other pathways as well ways of delivering content we’ve learned that we can hand over some of the work and let our participants use their autonomy to deliver their class content. This has changed how we engage with academics going forward.  

Academics on the course initially felt overwhelmed by the programme and in effect, the experience was a great equaliser of academic staff.  

Biggest Lessons Learnt 

Lessons learnt include chunking the information for students. In other words, bite-sized information is key, so that it is enough to digest, but not too much to process. We also learned that you have time to develop the course further as you go – not every course will be perfect.  

Secondly, academics learned that experience is the best way to learn how to deliver course material online. The process also taught them to be kind to themselves as well as their students. Both lecturers and students alike may feel like a fish out of water initially, together you will learn to swim.  

Thirdly, the collaboration through the course created a community of practice that can be continued after the course. It is so important for lecturers to speak to each other, share experiences, and build confidence in this manner.  

A big outcome from all of this was that lecturers who participated felt they now “speak the same language”. “We’ve learned the theory and also learned how to apply it.” Going forward lecturers have been enabled to teach more comfortably through digital teaching platforms.  

Want to learn more about our Digital Teaching eXpert course? Get in touch. Also, see our current promotion running here



Insight Into Teaching with Gradescope

Gradescope is a Turnitin solution that enables quick and easy grading. This useful tool saves instructors time and lets them focus on teaching, which is the most important part of the learning process. 

It is undisputed that feedback is very crucial where learning is concerned. This is to help students know how they are doing, which areas to focus on and so forth. It also helps instructors know how they can help their students improve, which concepts to revisit and help them better understand concepts. While Turnitin’s main focus is to empower students to do their best, authentic work, it also saw it best to provide a tool that will help deliver effective feedback and also save instructors grading time. 

Gradescope has solved grading problems for many institutions like Oregon State University. For every module taken, teaching has to remain consistent for every student and the experience has to be as similar as possible. However, with more than 30 000 students, grading each student’s paper was not always that easy. The method that the university used contained instructors grading exams based on the rubric developed by the team and hoped that they would all interpret and apply the rubric the same way. With each instructor drawing their own conclusion from what they were noticing while marking the papers, it was difficult to know how all the students were performing as a whole.  

All of the university’s grading problems were solved when they made a discovery of an entirely new world of data-informed instruction and consistency grading. They could now gain an insight into how all the students answered a certain question. Gradescope provided the university with very unique and clear information for every question regardless of type, from multiple-choice to open-response questions. This allowed instructors to alter instruction, review test questions, and easily compare the similarity between versions of exams.  

Instructors could see how many different answers students gave and how each one was popular because it was relatively easy to sort each question and answers into groups. Instructors could then provide the same comment with just one click for every common response and this saved them time.  

Teaching and learning have improved, with the insights gained from Gradescope.  

Want to find out how Gradescope can help you save time on what matters the most? 

Contact Us!


What is Self-Citation?

Did you know that when you, as researcher, do not reference or recognise your own work in a research study, it is seen as self-plagiarism? Self-citation is essential to avoid plagiarism. The term self-citation refers to the recognition of your own work when you are expanding on previous research or referring to work you have previously published.  The reasoning behind this? Research is cumulative and therefore you must refer to and attribute prior foundational academic work.

How Should it Be Used?

There is a limit to self-citation, however. When a researcher uses self-citation primarily to create a bigger impact, it becomes a matter of ethics. This unethical behaviour is called excessive self-citation, also referred to as citation manipulation.  COPE states in a study from 2019 that, “When any of the above parties, editors, board members, reviewers, or authors add or request to add citations where the motivations are merely self-promotional this aim violates publication ethics and is unethical. Additionally, whether or not they are requested, citations to the editor’s work should not be added in the belief that this will increase the likelihood of the publication being accepted” (2019).

What Does Self-Citation Look Like?

Self-citation has been called out on numerous occasions by the scientific community. In one computer science example as pointed out by Nature in a study PLoS Biology the scientist “received 94% of his citations from himself or his co-authors up to 2017.” In this same data set, they list around 100 000 researchers of which 250 scientists have attained more than 50% of their citations from themselves or their co-authors. The median rate for self-citation is in fact 12.7% (Van Noorden & Chawla, 2019).

In other words, excessive self-citation is not easy to miss.

The researcher could easily commit citation manipulation when they want to publish work and increase the impact factor. This of course would open up doors for future publications. The journal, on the other hand, could accept it to raise its own impact factor, or it may be a journal that falls into a niche audience with limited topic choices (Sanfilippo et al., 2021).

What Impact Does Self-Citation Have on Academic Integrity?

There is a direct link between self-citation and academic integrity: citations, and thus self-citations, raise the academic reputation of a researcher or journal in the form of the impact factor score, which is a very visible indicator of reputation.

It can, however, have the opposite effect. As academics become increasingly aware of this form of abuse. It has become clear that the more self-citations there are, the more likely the author is trying to self-promote.

How Can This Problem of Self-Citation Be Addressed?

As a first step, raising awareness of self-citation abuse would contribute to the mitigation of misconduct.  It is important that this awareness and underlying drive for academic integrity would guide academics to use self-citation appropriately. To support this, policies are being developed along with objective measurements for self-citation.

iThenticate, by Turnitin, is the leading provider of the professional plagiarism detection & prevention technology used worldwide by scholarly publishers, research departments, and individual researchers and authors to ensure the originality of written work before publication.

Find out more: https://www.eiffelcorp.co.za/digital-learning-products/technology-solutions-for-business/ithenticate-professional-plagiarism-detection/



COPE Discussion Article. 2019. Version 1 (July):3. Available Online. https://publicationethics.org/files/COPE_DD_A4_Citation_Manipulation_Jul19_SCREEN_AW2.pdf

Van Noorden, R. and Chawla, D.S. 2019 Hundreds of extreme self-citing scientists revealed in new database. Nature. August. Available Online.  https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02479-7

This blog originally appeared on Turnitin’s blog as posted below:


Plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct are not new. It has, and most likely will, always find a way into our institutions. No matter its shape or form, any sort of misconduct affects both students and educators in various ways. The impact of Covid-19 has not yet been determined in its entirety, but we do know that it has most likely contributed to turning a blind eye to dishonesty or misconduct. It has, however, been a problem within the academic community in many ways, even before Covid-19. Why do the academic community or institutions often ignore or leave plagiarism and other different types of misconduct unaddressed?  One reason is that there are numerous myths and misconceptions when it comes to plagiarism. The result? The misconstrued ideas surrounding academic misconduct have unfortunately had a serious impact on the quality of research and published academic writing.

So how do we address these issues and improve on our research outputs and academic writing in general? Awareness and improved understanding of the seriousness of the matter – and debunking the myths that surround plagiarism and academic misconduct.

Let’s have a closer look at these myths:

The Myth: Plagiarism is Not a Rising Problem

There’s a misconception that plagiarism is not actually a rising problem. The belief is that it only appears worse because of the development of technology, and therefore ability to detect plagiarism has grown dramatically in the last 20 years. In some ways, the exact opposite is true. While it is indeed easier to detect plagiarism, it’s also much easier to commit plagiarism. This includes more resources and access to materials at the writer or student’s disposal, and simpler methods to integrate content into their own.

The Truth:

Plagiarism is easier and more tempting than ever. As a result, plagiarism retractions are on the rise, even at publications that aren’t using advanced plagiarism-detection technology.

The Myth: Plagiarism is Mostly a Problem Among Students and Not Professionals

While it’s easy to think that plagiarism can mostly be attributed to students, who are seen as inexperienced academics who innocently make mistakes as they enter the world of research. The reality is that plagiarism is a problem at all levels of academia, including professional researchers. In fact, the problem of professional plagiarism has become so bad that the Singapore Medical Journal and the Medical Journal of Malaysia, published a joint statement in 2008, warning researchers against submitting plagiarised works. In the statement, the two publications said that they have “recently encountered a number of submissions of plagiarised work to our respective journals.”

The Truth:

Students do not have sole ownership of the plagiarism problem, and it is an academic issue that is growing both in and outside of the classroom.

The Myth: The Plagiarism Issue is Blown Out of Proportion

Many agree that plagiarism is a problem, but believe that it’s blown way out of proportion. They argue that despite the rising number of retractions, the additional, intense focus and scrutiny on the media and many academics are unjustified. They feel the number of retractions remains small in comparison to the total number of papers published. However, that number does not take into consideration the numerous plagiarised papers that were caught before publication or, more worrisome, the ones that were plagiarised, but not retracted.

The Truth:

Plagiarism is a rapidly-growing problem for both academic and scholarly publications. It is one that is often underestimated due to the inaccurate data on total plagiarism cases.

The Myth: Plagiarism is Harmless

While it is true that a lot of plagiarism and misconduct retractions take place at lesser-known journals, there is often significant harm caused by misconduct in academic literature.

For example, in a recent post by Retraction Watch, it was shown that a series of retracted studies made a potentially dangerous drug treatment appear to be safe, possibly endangering patients’ lives. This analysis correlated with a 2011 study that found fabrications by Scott Reben, an anaesthesiologist, may have resulted in some patients having their post-surgery pain undertreated.

With plagiarism, the dangers are less about patient safety and more about wasted resources. With limited funding, publication space and research space available, plagiarised proposals and studies cause unneeded duplication that wastes those resources and deny them to new, potentially beneficial research.

The Truth:

Plagiarism can cause harmful outcomes in various fields, and limit important research by blocking potential funds.

The Myth: Plagiarism is Primarily a Problem in Non-English Speaking Countries

While there is some truth in this statement – especially for researchers trying to publish in English who are struggling with the language – language barriers are not the only factors that lead to plagiarism.

The Truth:

Plagiarism is very much a global problem with many of the best known and most prolific plagiarists being from the United States, including the recent case of Gerry Lushington, who was censured for misconduct by the US Office of Research Integrity, which more commonly deals with fabrication issues.

The Myth: Almost All Plagiarists Get Caught

With so many new tools to detect plagiarism, search engines and constant communication, it is easy to think that no one, especially a professional researcher, could get away with the misdeed plagiarism in the 2020s.

The Truth:

Things are almost never as they seem.  There are, in fact, limitations to the technology available. Plagiarism dealing solely related to ideas and data, for example, can’t be detected easily – if at all. The biggest blind spot in the technology is that it still requires humans to both use the tools available and draw the correct conclusions.

In other words, yes the tools available can greatly reduce the amount of plagiarism that slips through, but these tools are not used as widely or as accurately as they should.

The Myth: There is Nothing Wrong with Self-Plagiarism

For many, self-plagiarism is a difficult issue. Since plagiarism is about using the ideas and works of another without attribution, how is it possible to plagiarise yourself?

However, publications and government bodies don’t see the issue the same way. Self-plagiarism raises many of the same challenges and problems as traditional plagiarism including duplication in published studies and wasted funding.

The Truth:

Though self-plagiarism doesn’t have a direct victim the way regular plagiarism does, it still poses a disadvantage to other researchers who might be denied a chance to be published or the opportunity to acquire funding based on original work.


Much like the misinformation found online today, many myths about plagiarism are believable because at their core, there seems to be some truth. In reality though, these myths form a small part of a more complex and evolving situation. Plagiarism, its consequences and its causes, are not straightforward.

Contact us and find out how the solutions that we offer with our partners at Turnitin, can help your institution fight the spread of plagiarism and other forms of misconduct.


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Eiffel Corp partnered with CNBC Africa and Forbes Africa as an associate sponsor of the seventh annual Future of Education Summit. Hosted virtually for the second year in a row, the summit took place on Thursday, 29 July 2021.

The event brought together experts from 25 countries across the world, in an attempt to answer whether education needs to be redefined – during and post pandemic. And if yes, to what degree. Various panel discussions tackled different topics within the theme, “Redefining the Purpose of Education.”

The event started with an opening address from Rakesh Wahi, Founder of the Future of Education Summit and Co-Founder of the ABN Group. Mr. Wahi shared key thoughts on the impact of Covid-19 on the global education sector, raising the question of whether the current pathway for academic progression is relevant to the future.

Our Director of Digital Learning Services, Myles Thies, had the opportunity to join in on an important discussion relating to “Technologies Transforming the Face of Education.”

The following message was aired to introduce thoughts and set the context for this panel discussion: “The transformation brought on by the covid 19 pandemic globally across all industries is likely to continue. While edtech, online teaching, and learning became more prominent in the education sector, both the strengths and weaknesses of online education have been exposed. As the world moves out of the shadows of the pandemic, a blended learning model is most likely to emerge and last into the future. The technological trends most likely to shape the face of education include artificial intelligence, hybrid course models, data-driven student analysis, open education resources, quality virtual learning, big data, blockchain, gamification, robotics, and the Internet of Things, and 3d printing.”

Fifi Peters, Anchor at CNBC Africa, facilitated the conversation. She opened in agreement on the several technologies that are transforming the face of education and then raised the important question of “how many of them are applicable for an African setting.” The panel was joined by Prof Dan Atkins, group CEO of the Transnational Academic Group, Dr. Felix Panganayi (Founder and Director at the Windsor School of Excellence in Science and Technology in Zimbabwe), Dean McCoubrey, (Founder at My Sociallife), and our very own Myles Thies (Director of Digital Learning Services).

While the discussion was focused on transformational technology, an important focus was placed on the gaps that exist within the education sector. From lack of access to data to digital literacy, there was a general consensus that not all institutions were on the same playing field when it came to the implementation or application of blended or online learning. McCoubrey added it is important to note there are three components to learning is, one is education (teaching), other technology (edtech), and thirdly, humanity. Aside from access to information and resources, there is an important component that cannot be overlooked, which is mental wellness, and the soft skills that go with human interaction. In other words, going forward we need to “ensure that the balance of soft skills interacting and the human aspect of teaching and learning is also maintained.”

Myles Theis explained the realities that were revealed during Covid-19, “We quickly saw that it takes a lot more than just pieces of technology in order to be able to really create this successful learning experience, bring people in, pull them through a program, and then obviously help them achieve those skills, or within the original framework that we envision…from schools level, all the way through to corporate learning to higher education a lot of growing up had to be done and a lot of experimentation happened.”

“We’ve seen traditional models of teaching and learning really struggling to cope with the challenges required by the pandemic,” said Thies.  Adding that “a lot of the thinking that had to take place could now inform what happens in the future.”  Institutions and schools can now ask important questions such as, “Where do we spend our money? How do we actually get the greatest benefit out of the technology that we apply? And how do we redevelop the programs that we are presenting…so that they meet the needs of the relevant groups of people in those programs as well as meet the needs of all the different stakeholders.”

The panel also touched on how Covid-19 has accelerated innovation and how we’ve seen challenges met with new solutions. Most importantly, however, none of the technology adds the value it is supposed to when it is not accessible – whether through pricing or through lack of skills.

Myles Thies explains, “It is really important that tech solutions are given to teachers who have the right kind of skills to be able to apply them in the right way. And I think the leadership in those institutions, and across every single region around the world, particularly for Africa, should be enabled to understand what they’re going to do for their learners, and how to make the best use of these tools.” Dean McCoubrey agreed, “I think it’s very easy for us to get stuck in the emerging tech and the innovations. But actually, we have a problem with basic access, basic education, and inclusion. So that’s really where we are as a continent and as a country.”

Watch the full panel discussion in the recap below:

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Sponsors for this event included UCT GSB, Vodacom Business, Eiffel Corp, the University of Johannesburg, Vuma, Transnational Academic Group, Lancaster University of Ghana, and Curtin University Dubai.




Johannesburg, South Africa: Covid-19 has disrupted higher education both locally and internationally. Institutions have largely had to close on-campus education, as the virulence of the pandemic halted all the normalcies of life, both socially and economically.

While there certainly are many challenges and negative impacts, innovation and the embracing of change have seen South African educators create The Invigilator – a solution that is as relevant now as it would be in the post-Covid-19 world.

The biggest shift in education has been from physical to remote or online learning and assessment. This move has thrown a massive spotlight on the inequalities amongst students, with lack of access to equipment and consistent internet connections being but a few of the challenges. Remote and online assessments have brought the integrity of academic outcomes and qualifications into question. While there are existing proctoring solutions that address some of the risks of academic dishonesty, they usually come at a high cost, high-end infrastructure requirements, yet again highlighting inequitable access to education.

The Invigilator was developed in South Africa by lecturers who recognised the challenges of infrastructural limitations and academic integrity with assessments faced in our new learning environments.

Compatible with entry-level smartphones and designed to be a low data solution, The Invigilator allows examiners to choose from a variety of photo authentication and speech recording tools, matched to the level of security required for each assessment.  The Invigilator leverages Artificial Intelligence to assist examiners in verifying students’ identities and flagging suspicious activities during an assessment. The app does not require the infrastructure needs and costs of alternative solutions, nor does it need constant internet connectivity. Furthermore, it can act as an invigilator for both written and digital assessments. A student can therefore complete an assessment with access to an entry-level smartphone only. Rolled out in the second half of 2020, The Invigilator boasts a high volume of users with thousands of assessments completed.

In partnership with Eiffel Corp, an award-winning technology company specialising in digital education, training and communication, The Invigilator will be available to educational institutions as a cost-effective solution designed with educators and students in mind.

“It is always great to see innovation in challenging times. The Invigilator demonstrates how the creative nature of South Africans can see us develop solutions for the African market, and beyond. We are proud to partner with yet another solution that will see our clients realise the potential of technology in education.” Robyn Abrahams, Eiffel Corp – General Manager: Sales


For more info regarding The Invigilator app visit their website 


About Eiffel Corp (PTY) Ltd:  With over 20 years of experience in education and training, Eiffel Corp is a proudly South African company offering bespoke services and solutions designed to address each phase of the student lifecycle.  Eiffel Corp’s expertise in optimal learning solutions guides organisations, both locally and internationally, as they prepare for tomorrow, today, by helping organisations adapt and realise the potential of technology in education.