|College plagiarism at all time high, study shows|
|Written by Alexandra Corradetti, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Sunday, 18 September 2011 18:53|
Plagiarism in colleges across the country is at an all time high because of influences such as the Internet, according to a New York Times article.
Steve Zusman, instructional assistant professor of philosophy, believes the debate of whether people naturally know right from wrong will never be completely settled.
“It has been debated for thousands of years, with arguments presented on both sides. In the case of plagiarism, luckily the policy against it is clearly outlined by our university so it would not be necessary to settle this long debate to know that plagiarism is clearly wrong,” Zusman said.
Zusman believes students may plagiarize work because they simply do not understand what plagiarism is.
“Copying something word-for-word without giving credit to the original source is an obvious case of plagiarism, but there are many, many more forms of plagiarism in addition to this. Ignorance is no excuse, so students should make sure they know exactly what plagiarism is and the many forms it can take,” Zusman explained.
There are also those students who choose to plagiarize when they know it is wrong, according to Zusman.
“They have what we might call a weakness of will. They recognize what is right, but unfortunately are pulled by other considerations and go astray,” Zusman said.
He thinks the way a person is brought up has a lot to do with the moral choices they make as they mature into adulthood.
“Certainly moral education is important and has an impact on the moral choices we make. If someone is brought up with a moral understanding, it certainly does not guarantee that the person will act morally, but at least it sets a clear expectation for how the person should act, and also provides some of the necessary background knowledge that can be important to making the proper choice,” Zusman said.
Zusman added students should be aware plagiarism is a serious academic offense, and one that will likely be caught. He believes students should do the work themselves and learn something in the process.
Amy Hicks, English studies doctoral candidate, believes plagiarism is increasing because of student access to resources.
“You can hop online and find what you need in seconds. But I also think that plagiarism may be increasing because the rules of citation seem pretty straightforward, but I don’t know if we truly understand why these rules are in place. I think this ‘not knowing why’ leads to the straightforward rules seeming a bit more fuzzy,” Hicks said.
Though plagiarism is at an all time high, Hicks does not see a lot of those tendencies in her classrooms due to unique opportunities she offers to her classes.
“I like to design assignments that really encourage creativity and individuality. So, there really aren’t all that many opportunities for students to plagiarize. I hope. I don’t use turnitin.com or any program like that, but I think that I grow to understand how each student writes and am able to recognize when they deviate from this,” Hicks explained.
Hicks believes plagiarism will never be just an everyday occurrence.
“I think that plagiarism will always be a big deal because universities value academic honesty, and I don’t think this value will go away,” Hicks added.