Avoiding Plagiarism

Recent research in Australia has shown a big increase in the number of students who are plagiarising their work.

Plagiarism is trying to pass of someone else’s work as your own.  For example, a student might write an essay, but copy a large chunk from an article or book.

In recent years, we have also seen an increase in students paying others to write their assignments and projects for them.

The problem with this is that the student is not learning and gaining new knowledge. They are simply producing information to pass a course or piece of work. 

Copying someone else’s work does not increase learning. 

Why are we seeing this increase in plagiarism?

There are several reasons –

  • The growth of the internet means that there is more information available out there for students to use in their work.
  • There is an increase in the number of businesses offering to write articles for students.
  • Plagiarism software enables educational organisations to detect plagiarism more easily than in the past.

Before the internet, a teacher would only really know a student had plagiarised if they recognised what they were writing or suddenly the tone of voice changed in an assignment. Today, it is not so simple.

Consequences of Plagiarism

Plagiarism can have serious consequences for the student –

  • They may be expelled, suspended, thrown off their course etc.
  • Their reputation may be ruined for future study.
  • It could also destroy their professional reputation.
  • It can affect their future job prospects.
  • They do not learn as well, which diminishes their real knowledge and ability to succeed after study.

  • This can also lead to monetary repercussions. For example, they may not be able to achieve the level of pay that they hoped to as a result of their plagiarism.

The consequences of plagiarism are not just these external consequences though. All of those above are consequences that the student experiences from outside of themselves.  If a student plagiarises, there are also internal consequences.

For example –

  • A reduction in their self esteem
  • Feeling like a failure
  • A lack of learning – they have copied someone else. They have not obtained that information and knowledge themselves.

In Jurassic Park, Dr Ian Malcolm, played by Jeff Goldblum, says


“You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn't earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don't take any responsibility for it.”


He may have been talking about dinosaurs, but he is basically talking about plagiarism. Students using the knowledge of others to take the next step, but not taking the responsibility for it, not doing the work themselves.

Plagiarism is harmful to the student –

  • Their reputation is damaged, which will affect their work and academic future.
  • They do not gain the knowledge they need to pass the course, but also the knowledge that they need to move on with their career and lives.

Both of these are very important.

 Studying with ACS – Avoiding Plagiarism

Like any other educational institution, we do not want our students to plagiarise. We want to make sure that the student completes the work for themselves. We want to see that they have gained the knowledge and used that knowledge for the course. But also, so that they can move forwards with that knowledge.

How do we do this?

  • Students are asked to complete multichoice questions at the end of each lesson. If they do not pass, they can go back and read the notes and redo the multichoice questions. Yes, it may be possible to cheat here, but how does that actually benefit their learning?
  • All students are encouraged to complete set tasks. These are practical tasks, where they might be asked to carry out research, observe people, watch a video, prune a plant etc. This requires them to complete a task individually. For example, if they are asked to propagate a plant, they may be required to take photographs of this and explain what they did. This demonstrates their own learning.  The student is required to complete this and in the process, they are gaining knowledge, learning and skills.
  • Students are also required to complete an assignment at the end of each lesson. The assignment will ask questions, such as Define biophilia or Define Anxiety. But they will also be asked to put this knowledge into context. For example, talking to someone who has experienced anxiety and asking them how it affected their life

We want our students to gain knowledge, experience and skills from studying with us. So we ask them to demonstrate how they personally have gained –

  • Knowledge – they demonstrate this by answering questions.
  • Experience – they demonstrate this by telling us about what they have done during the course, such as completing set tasks, undertaking research etc.
  • Skills – they demonstrate this by showing us the skills and how they have used them.

We want our students to gain the knowledge, experience and skills to move on in the world, to use them in the future, to improve their job and career prospects. To do this, they need to complete the courses themselves!


ACS Distance Education!

We are ACS Distance Education. We want our students to learn, grow and develop.  We want to share knowledge with people.

Students can study with us, but we also offer the option where other businesses, educational establishments and individuals can resell our courses.

We currently have over 700 courses available and 150+ eBooks.

If you would like to learn more about how you could be selling our courses to your own students, then please get in touch.

We look forward to hearing from you.


If you are at the beginning of your journey into selling online courses - have a look at these blogs below to give you some answers to frequently asked questions we  get from prospective affiliates  : 

What exactly is E-Learning ? 

What actually IS an LMS ? 

What do ACS Offer to their Affiliates ? 

A Simple Guide to Creating an Online Education School or College

Off the shelf E-Learning course content 

How to determine Market Viability & Conduct product Research for your online business 

Contact us to find out more about the courses and eBooks that you could be offering and selling to your clients and potential students very soon.


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We've been working with ACS over the course of the last three years. Being able to mix and match content to suit our students' needs has been extremely useful. With their material in combination with our own in house tutor service we have been able to provide a complete online learning service which has helped us expand our student cohort and advance our teaching techniques! We are thankful that we have had them as a partner throughout our time in the industry and look forward to many more years of growth together.

Jason T - Director, ACS Partner College (Affiliate)

ACS Distance Education have been fantastic to work with over our first 12 months as a start-up online short education affiliate.
They provided immense support in the foundation period ensuring we setup the best support mechanisms for students and engaging quality tutors.
ACS have continued to be receptive to feedback and promptly moved to make improvements wherever required.

David C - Director, ACS Partner College (Affiliate)

Having access to ACS' extensive library of digitalised education content has allowed us to scale our business quickly and efficiently. Their LMS is easy to access and manage, whilst also providing the consumer (student) with a professional and easy to use experience. John and Kate have always been a pleasure to work with and are quick to provide support when it is required."

Andrew O - Director, ACS Partner College (Affiliate)

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