Academic integrity tools for plagiarism detection offer various features to teachers and students using their products.
I’ve tried, demoed, and used dozens of plagiarism detection tools over the last 15 years, administering a large-scale online English Composition course. From this review, I think that the main feature categories fall into a few specific areas that are not always about detection or prevention:
- Editing and grading features that simplify the process,
- Intuitive color coding and highlighting features to signal what (if anything) was identified in the text as copied, paraphrased, or plagiarised
- Easy integration to ensure that the teachers and students do not have difficulty submitting to or accessing submitted texts
With Cursive, we know these features are important. We have focused our resources and development to ensure a simple, functional, and extensible tool that can provide the same or better user experience.
Here are three key features that set Cursive apart from the rest:
1. An Authorship-first approach that’s easy to understand
Unlike traditional plagiarism detection tools, which take submitted text to verify its originality against a database, we rely on data from the writing process to confirm that a specific student created the submission. This approach starts at the beginning of the writing process rather than the submission date. Setting this new baseline and data layer will augment many existing tools to ensure the authenticity of the submission and tie it directly to student effort.
Rather than hide the report for each student in an inbox or popup, we’ve focused on providing a comprehensive Writing Report highlighting all of a student’s writing. Students have said they appreciate seeing the system working and earning that ✅.
2. Easy to access and understand learning analytics
One of the features that sets us apart from other detectors is an objective view of the student’s effort in writing. These new writing analytics provide students and teachers with insights into the writing process that were not previously available. How much time did it take to write, how much editing was logged, and how much did the submission change over time?
Without focusing on the writing process, plagiarism detection tools are left only with a character and word count from the final submission. With Cursive, you can get both.
3. A nearly invisible integration
By integrating directly into the learning management system, starting with Moodle, we were able to create a seamless experience that covers the activities and student work areas that are not currently available to plagiarism detection tools: the forums, online text areas, and essays within quizzes. Each is a classroom tool to assess student writing or promote reflection in a way connected to an educational institution’s gradebook and student information system. Additionally, by focusing on a direct integration, we were able to leverage the LMS’s existing, robust grading and feedback tools, something that many other tools recreate and replicate instead.
Our integration puts Cursive in the background instead of making it a new destination for teachers and students. Our goal with Cursive is to provide the tools and analysis where teachers and students are already doing their work, not to add additional steps or workflows into their busy lives.
The best products aren’t the most complex or feature-rich. At Cursive, we struck out to provide a tool that builds trust by focusing on the writing process, not one that adds complexity, overhead, or complicated and manual workflows to verify the end product of a writing assignment.