20 June 2008

Plagiarism - is it a problem?

I didn't think it was such a huge problem, until I heard a presentation the other day from a senior academic from another University.

Apparently (and I have no reason to believe otherwise), many schoolchildren ~16 are encouraged to copy from web sources, but not to worry about referencing them. This leads to a problem when they get to an undergraduate University as they believe this is the 'normal' way of learning and doing assignments/essays. When students go to UK universities and FE/HE colleges the assessments are run through checking systems such as TurnItIn (TM) and of course results in some disappointing scores for some students not to mention an increased amount of work for the teaching staff to address the issues involved.

If the problems are still not addressed correctly then at Postgraduate studies the problem is even more serious and can involve dismissal from their studies.

Is it really a huge problem as was inferred in this discussion?

I know that information is easier to find and research for on the internet, with many households having access to broadband, and certainly the way most people work (write) is to use a computer and cut and paste information into their document to use. So would it be better practice to ensure even at the earliest age that our scholars are encouraged not to do this cut and paste, but to be taught how to reference correctly to eliminate the issue; without putting them under too much pressure too soon.

Over to you, if anyone would care to comment.

1 comment:

Emma said...

Most defintely, we didn't have the same facility available to us and if we copied someone else we would be for the high jump.

How can you take anything in and learn from it if you are just copying and pasting it from somewhere else.

I am with you totally on this one...x