I just caught a student cheating, so now is a good opportunity to check the various free plagiarism detection services which are out there. Using Google, I've found one online source which is a close match for one of the student's paragraphs. I want to see whether the free online services will be able to find the match I found and match the rest of the document. I am particularly interested in output: I'd like to see side-by-side comparisons of the paper and the original source, with the matching passages marked. This is what I did for the one paragraph match I found
If you have comparisons like this for the whole document, you are pretty much justified in throwing the book at the student. I have redacted the student's name, which is what I believe is required by FERPA.
See Sources Seesources.com
This page is a freebie teaser for a pay version called Plagscan, which costs about a penny a page and is available at plagscan.com. It lets you upload your whole file as an attachment, rather than cutting and pasting paragraphs into a little field. The nice looking output is reserved for paying customers. What I got looks like this.
The software caught matches I did not, but it only caught direct quotes, and not slight paraphrases like "Hypothetical Imperatives conditionally demand" for "A hypothetical imperative conditionally demands." You could use these to get to the rest of the copying, though. More interestingingly, at a penny a page, blanket coverage for me would only cost $5-$10 a semester, which I could pay out of pocket.
Didn't catch anything. FAIL.
Produced by the University of Maryland Department of Education. This is again a free teaser for a subscription product, which at $8 a month is again something I could pay out of pocket. The whole thing is Google driven, and when it finds a hit, it just gives you links to a Google search for the exact phrase it hit on. The subscription version will let you upload files directly and will ignore material in quotes. If this is all it adds, it doesn't seem worth it. Output below.
Ok, the kids are freaking out. I'll finish this later. I need to check these two.