Friday, 18 January 2008

How the other half think

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers has released the results of surveying its members on instances of plagiarism.
More than half believed internet plagiarism is a serious problem. I can only assume that the rest either work in subject areas that don't suffer readily from plagiarism, CDT or PE for example, or don't care enough, as I can't believe they have never had any pupil submit anything containing internet content.
That or there is a more optimistic explanation, the other respondents don't see the internet as a plagiarism problem because they have taught their students to use it as a research tool. These kids know about primary, secondary and tertiary sources and how to evaluate their quality, they can distinguish between reporting, comment and reportage. They understand the power of citation and digest while undertaking research and how to apply it in presenting a thesis.
Another statistic was that 90% of the sample were concerned about the impact of plagiarism on their students' long-term prospects. 100% of this author would like to re-iterate the position that it would appear to be an issue more about teaching the students the right way to use the internet rather than that are using it at all. I use the internet to find a great deal of information and content for things I write at work and this is considered a good thingtm in the most part. Some educators see the internet in a different light, Martha Groom of the University of Washington, Bothell hit the headlines last year when she set students an assignment to improve the quality of Wikipedia articles relevant to their course.

1 comment:

longrat said...

Internet plagiarism IS a serious problem! It is easier for a student to assemble a piece of work by cut & paste than to type in from more reliable sources. This is compounded by a lack of 'understanding' as to what constitutes valid sources. I have had references to primary school projects in work I have done in the past! (seriously!)

We use turnitin to check - as a LARGE number of students last year attempted to cheat by plagiarism including (but not limited to) internet overuse. Poor study skills meant they also copied off each other!

Some students may use evaluation of quality etc. but when they arrive here, they can't in general do so.