Google is helping out teachers and making it harder for students to cheat on their homework.

This week, Google introduced new programs to help educators keep kids honest.

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.

“Right now, you’re doing what a lot of kids do…exactly, you shouldn’t do this,” 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 my paper,” Yeskel said.

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

“And really quickly, I can see there is one flagged passage. This passage is a match, an exact match right from Wikipedia,” he said.

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 I think. When they see so much material that’s available,” he said.

These similarity checkers really allow the college instructor to find out if there are 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.



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