Plagiarism Intervention Using a Game-Based Tutorial in an Online Distance Education Course

  • Cheryl A. KierEmail author


This project assesses the ability of a game tutorial, “Goblin Threat” to increase university students’ ability to recognize plagiarized passages. The game tutorial covers information about how to cite properly, types and consequences of plagiarism, and the differences between paraphrasing and plagiarism. The game involves finding and clicking on “goblins” who ask questions about various aspects of plagiarism. Sound effects and entertaining visuals work to keep students’ attention. One group of 177 students enrolled in an online Psychology of Adolescence course answered four multiple choice plagiarism recognition questions in the months after completing the online game tutorial while another group of over 400 students in the same online psychology course did not have access to the game tutorial, but answered the same multiple choice plagiarism recognition questions over the same period of time. The group who played the game tutorial showed an 11% improvement in recognizing plagiarized passages over the comparison group, a statistically significant difference. Results suggest the ability to keep students focused may be an important ingredient for plagiarism interventions.


Accidental plagiarism Plagiarism intervention Online education Distance education 



Thanks go to Mary Broussard for creating “Goblin Threat” and allowing me to use it for my courses and research. I would also like to thank Lara Apps and Adrienne Munro for their research assistance. This project was partially supported by two research grants from the Academic Research Committee of my university. I would also like to thank Andrew Chiarella and Cheuk Ng for reviewing earlier versions of this manuscript.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Humanities and Social SciencesAthabasca UniversityAthabascaCanada

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