Posted January 20, 2013 by Sean Blackmore in Technology

Cite unseen: Combating plagiarism in college means understanding why students cheat

Plagiarism is nothing new, and it is certainly not limited to university campuses. But students need to be aware that colleges are on the lookout for plagiarized perform and they have a selection of tools at their disposal to uncover it.

It seems that no school is immune from cheating. Cheating scandals at the college level abound, even at some of the greatest-known universities in the country. In 2006, the Pew Internet Study located that a lot more than 70 percent of American college students surveyed admitted to significant cheating on written assignments.

At South University, which has 11 campuses and thousands of students who study completely on the web, combating plagiarism requires a combination of education and technology.

&ldquoWe educate faculty and students about plagiarism and how, even if you get away with it now, its consequences can comply with you extended immediately after graduation,&rdquo says Kate Sawyer, South University&rsquos assistant vice chancellor for university libraries. She says examples frequently hit house with students, such as the case of former Beatle George Harrison losing a court case for plagiarizing a Chiffons song in the melody of his very own &ldquoMy Sweet Lord.&rdquo

Sawyer says that few students plan to cheat from the outset, and the ones who do are normally caught.

&ldquoMost students basically run out of time or do not realize the assignment nicely sufficient,&rdquo she says. &ldquoWe talk to faculty members about the greatest way to structure assignments and deadlines, and we talk to students about ethics, time management and info literacy skills.&rdquo

Education is not the only tool colleges have. These days&rsquos Web-savvy students can copy and paste passages &ndash or acquire whole papers &ndash in seconds on the World wide web, and colleges have struggled to catch up to the new trend.

A lot of instances, instructors can tell effortlessly when a student has lifted a passage. If a freshman suddenly begins writing like a Ph.D., it is an straightforward giveaway, for instance.

Yet another tool colleges are employing to combat cheating is anti-plagiarism computer software. There are many tools on the industry, but the biggest and most-utilised is known as Turnitin, which professors can use to match passages from student papers with existing content material from billions of Internet pages and millions of student papers and scholarly articles. Turnitin reports that more than ten,000 universities worldwide use the platform.

&ldquoWe see anti-plagiarism computer software as a pre-emptive tool, and we encourage instructors to be upfront with students about it,&rdquo said Sawyer.

Sawyer believes that whilst the university&rsquos use of the software has cut down on plagiarism, it should be just part of the approach.

&ldquoNo computer software is perfect. But we feel it is a beneficial tool when combined with the education of each students and faculty about plagiarism. In the finish, students can see that it&rsquos each far better and simpler to do their personal function. That way they advantage from the education they receive, not just the grade on their transcript.&rdquo

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Sean Blackmore