What the Tech: Google Assignments


It used to take a lot of work to plagiarize something. You had to go to the library, find the right book and copy. Today, students can do all that with just two right clicks of a mouse. But Google has a new tool to help teachers sniff out the copies.

It’s called “Google Assignments”. Google Product Manager Zach Yeskel shows how it works. A student writes his or her paper using Google Docs.

Yeskel copies part of the Wikipedia page on The Great Gatsby and puts it in his paper. Even before the student turns it in , Google Assignments begins looking for plagiarism, or as Google nicely calls it, “originality”.

It’s scanning hundreds of billions of websites tens of millions of books to see if there are any text matches in the paper.

When the paper is turned in, the professor sees this before they even read it.

It’s a valuable tool, says college professor Eric Melcher, because it’s too easy for students to cheat nowadays. Especially students taking courses online.

The availability of material on the internet and so many databases, makes it quite enticing for students. When they see so much material that’s available.

“These similarity checkers really allow the college instructor to find out if there’s large portions of material that a student has put in their paper.

Google Assignments should be released fully later this year, but teachers can sign up now to try out the beta version of the program.

Google Assignments is also part of Google Classroom which is used by more than 40 million students and teachers around the world.

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