“internet plagiarism is a serious problem” says 58% of teachers

According to a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, 58% of sixth form teachers believe that “internet plagiarism is a serious problem”.

The BBC reports that:

More than half of teachers believe internet plagiarism is a serious problem among sixth-form students, a teaching union survey suggests.

The 58% of 278 teachers who identified it as a problem said they thought 25% of work returned by pupils included material copied from internet sites.

If as reported by the BBC:

One teacher said a piece of work they saw still contained website adverts.

You have to ask who is at fault here?

Did the learner understand what was required of them?

Did they know they were plagiarising, or did the learner think that it was “okay”?

What internet research skills (if any) had the institution taught the students?

If an institution has a problem with internet plagiarism what policies and tools do they have and use in order to not just detect plagiarism, but also prevent it from happening in the first place.

It’s not as though you can use the excuse I don’t have the time, not when there are such excellent resources such as Intute’s Virtual Training Suite (VTS) available.

People talk of digial natives , but as was borne out in a recent JISC survey, though we may have learners who are digital natives, they may not have the research skills to use the internet effectively to support their learning.

Plagiarism is of course not a new thing, I was told about plagarism when I was at sixth form (and University) and that was a fair few years ago now.

I remember when I was teaching (in the pre-internet days) and a student submitted an assignment which in the main consisted of pages photocopied from a book.

Yes I know you might laugh, but the reality was that the student had no concept of how to research and analyse a topic – they had missed that study skills lesson.

The moral of this whole sorry story of plagarism from the internet, is that use tools such as the VTS to allow learners how to learn to use the internet effectively to support their learning and use tools such as Turnitin to detect plagiarism.

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