New Studies Show Technology to Blame for Increase in Plagiarism

Article first published as New Studies Show Technology to Blame for Increase in Plagiarism on Technorati.

Two Pew Research studies conducted in the spring of 2011 have shown that technology has made it easier for college students to cheat.  TechNewsDaily reported, “A report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 55 percent of college presidents said they noticed an increase in plagiarism over the past decade, and 89 percent of that group said technology has played a major role.”

Some are blaming this increase on the fact that more colleges are offering online courses. PewSocialTrends reported, “More than three-quarters of the nation’s colleges and universities now offer online classes, according to the survey of college presidents, and about one-in-four college graduates (23%) have taken a course online, according to the general public survey.” However, others are saying this is not only an online course issue as traditional courses allow students Internet access to do their research as well.  The traditional classroom has seen its share of technology-related issues including the use of portable cellular devices to text answers to test questions.

Research shows that there will be more growth in digital learning. With this growth has generally come more appreciation. Online learning has become a more well-respected form of learning.  “The vast majority of two-year colleges offer online courses (91%), and their leaders are among the most likely to believe that online learning is comparable to learning in a classroom.” However, with access to the Internet, schools must take steps to insure that students are submitting their own work. 

One of the biggest issues is plagiarism. Sometimes students plagiarize unintentionally due to a lack of understanding how to cite correctly in APA format.  However, many intentionally plagiarize. Schools have combatted this problem by requiring papers be run through a plagiarism-checker like TurnItIn.  Universities buy licenses to use the TurnItIn website which checks documents for originality.  TurnItIn boasts the following statistics:

  • 150+ million archived student papers
  • 90,000+ journals, periodicals & books
  • 1+ million active instructors
  • 14+ billion web pages crawled
  • 10,000 educational institutions
  • 20+ million licensed students
  • 126 countries

Sites like TurnItIn include many of the papers that are sold online.  Students who are caught submitting these papers face being expelled.  Plagiarism checkers are helpful finding papers that have already been written. However, they cannot detect papers that students pay others to write for them.

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