The issue of plagiarism is one that has dogged English teachers for decades. With the ever-increasing reliance on the internet for research and, in some cases, whole papers to copy, what can an English teacher do in this modern day and age to avoid the pitfall of plagiarism?
My school has used www.turnitin.com since I arrived there three years ago. The mandatory use of this website for all written submissions is written right on our course syllabus for each grade. The use of this anti-plagiarism web site has certainly made the students aware that we hold them very accountable for their work, and has discouraged internet plagiarism. The policy we've adopted (written on the course outline) is as follows: once the student has turned in the paper copy of their assignment, an electronic copy must be sent to turnitin.com before their mark is entered in the computer, and the student will not receive credit for the assignment (or get the assignment handed back) until the electronic copy is submitted and scanned.
So far, so good. In the three years I've been at St. Francis the only instances of plagiarism we've seen are students attempting to hand in another student's work (which the database also picks up, just so you know). I would recommend this web site to anyone teaching an English course, as it is a tool that has come in very handy, and is a very good aid in preparing our University bound students for what they can expect in their post-secondary careers.