Almost 800 business, engineering, education, and health services students completed a fairly typical plagiarism survey. They were asked how strongly they agreed with a statement defining plagiarism as copying text and inserting it in a paper without citing the source. They were asked how often they engaged in this specific behavior. As in many other survey studies, 75 percent of these students agreed or strongly agreed that copying text without referencing it was plagiarism. Eighty-one percent said that the behavior should result in strong punishment, and 84 percent said that they never or rarely engaged in this practice. None of those results are new or particularly surprising.
Teddi Fishman, director of the International Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University, advocates an instructional design/community-building approach to academic integrity rather than an adversarial approach. Her stint as a police officer informs this stance. As radar gun companies introduced improved speed enforcement tools, the latest radar detectors (often produced by the same companies) rendered such improvements ineffective. “I learned that you can’t out-tech people, and you don’t want to get into that situation. You don’t want to have that arms race. Certainly some security measures are going to be necessary, but don’t get into the habit of relying on technology to establish a climate of integrity, because it can have adverse effects. Nobody wants to feel like they’re being watched all the time,” she says.
Cheating is not a new problem for colleges, but the Internet and other technologies have increased opportunities for cheating, making it more tempting to try and easier to pull off than ever before.
In CHEATING IN SCHOOL: What We Know and What We Can Do, (Wiley-Blackwell) authors Stephen F. Davis, Patrick F. Drinan, and Tricia Bertram Gallant provide a comprehensive look at the cheating phenomenon from primary through graduate school. In an email interview with Faculty Focus, the authors discuss academic integrity issues in higher education specifically, including steps that can be taken at the institutional level as well as in individual classrooms.
Academic dishonesty can come in a variety of forms. From roving eyes during exams to buying papers off the Internet to any number of other low or high-tech forms of cheating and plagiarism. Anyone who works in higher education is aware that this kind of thing goes on at colleges everywhere, and has for a