Tagged With: plagiarism
I am constantly amazed at how many students plagiarize schoolwork. They feel no guilt, don’t understand the legal risk they face, and think the argument that “everyone does it” makes it OK. If you want to stop it–and every teacher I know does–you have to get at the reasons why kids think they can steal another’s work and call it their own. I was excited when Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Milyn Anne, offered this article explaining the why behind plagiarizing:
Plagiarism is everywhere, leading many teachers to believe that it has become a nationwide epidemic. While it’s not always easy to prevent plagiarism from occurring, knowing what factors influence a student’s tendency to plagiarize in school can help educators stay on top of this rising trend.
And if you’re a student, knowing the warning signs that may lead you astray is equally beneficial. Consider these top factors that cause students to plagiarize – and what you can do about it.
1. Psychological Factors
Many people believe that plagiarism is simply the direct cause of laziness, and while this may sometimes be true, there are underlying psychological factors that increase the likelihood of plagiarism -besides just a lack of motivation.
Here are just a few reasons why you might cheat:
- You have a fear of failure. Students who cheat often have a profound fear of failing in the classroom. They are afraid of losing their status and they may compare themselves to other students. The British Journal of Educational Psychology has produced multiple studies indicating that fear of failure determines the methods that students use to reach their goals – and that those methods often involve plagiarism. Not only that, but the fear of failure can produce other damaging psychological effects, such as a sense of hopelessness, an addiction to success, feelings of depression, and more.
- You are looking for a thrill. There is an underlying human urge to take from others what we covet for ourselves. We get a subconscious thrill when we copy others, and it releases chemicals in the brain that create feelings of happiness – chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins, just to name a few.
- You are overly confident. This may sound contradictory, but students with overly large egos may be tempted to cheat because they think that either nobody will catch them or, if they do, they will be above any potential consequences. You might think there is nothing wrong with plagiarism or possess a false sense of security.
One of the biggest problems facing digital natives as they grow into adults is understanding how to maneuver the vastness of the Internet ethically, safely, and to serve their needs. It sounds simple–log on, search, enjoy–but let’s equate this to a shopping mall. You enter the wide, inviting front doors, find the store with the product you need, and then must pay for it. If you don’t have money, you can’t get the product. Even if you could sneak it into your purse, you don’t because that’s stealing (and besides, someone might see you).
The concept of ‘buy’ and ‘money’ are often blurry on the Internet but the idea is the same: If you can’t follow the website’s rules to acquire the online product, you can’t have it. If you take it, that’s plagiarism and–like stealing from a store–carries drastic penalties.
Me, I don’t want to cheat anyone so when I acquire resources from the Internet, I want to do it legally. That’s why plagiarism checkers are important to me. There are many to choose from but one I recently discovered is PlagairismCheck.org. It requires no installation, is quick and intuitive to use, and covers everything I need at a fair price.
What is PlagiarismCheck.org
PlagiarismCheck.org is an online plagiarism checker that uses a sophisticated algorithm to check content for different types of plagiarism. It can operate as a stand-alone web-based tool or be integrated into an LMS like Google Classroom or Moodle. When you set up an account, you tell it whether you want to access it as a teacher, a student, or an individual owner. Each provides different tools. For example, teachers can collect assignments through PlagiarismCheck.org and track student submittals while checking for the authenticity of assignments. Once you have your account set up, you get one page for free, to see how PlagiarismCheck.org works. From there, you purchase packages depending upon how many pages you’d like to check. If you are purchasing a school subscription with roles like students, teacher and owner, you won’t need to purchase packages as individuals. You’ll pick from two subscription models:
- per page. School purchases pages for all its members, and members are using pages to run checks.
- per user. School purchases licenses for users, giving users unlimited access to the software (no page restrictions apply).
The goal of PlagiarismCheck.org is not to catch students plagiarizing (though it does) but to help them succeed in their academic ventures. It’s a subtle difference in interpretation but a big difference in attitude and results.
One more note: PlagiarismCheck.org is an excellent tool not only for students but for writers, entrepreneurial businesses, and teacher-authors. For the purposes of this post, I’ll concentrate on teacher-student uses.
Man is a thinking creature. We like evaluating ideas and sharing thoughts. That’s a good thing. The more we collaborate, the smarter we all become.
Implicit in this is that we don’t claim someone else’s ideas as our own. In fact, it’s illegal to do this. Read through this rephrasing of American copyright law:
“The law states that works of art created in the US after January 1, 1978, are automatically protected by copyright once they are fixed in a tangible medium (like the Internet). BUT a single copy may be used for scholarly research (even if that’s a 2nd grade life cycle report) or in teaching or preparation to teach a class.” –Jacqui Murray, Ask a Tech Teacher
When we claim someone else’s work as our own, be it text, artwork, movies, music, or any other form of media, it’s called plagiarism:
“[Plagiarism is the] wrongful appropriation of another author’s language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions”
The rules and laws surrounding plagiarism aren’t nearly as well-known as those that deal with, say, driving a car or illegally crossing a street. The Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics surveyed 43,000 high school students and found that:
If it’s online it’s free
This, of course, isn’t true but the rules and laws surrounding plagiarism and copyrights aren’t nearly as well-known as those that deal with, say, driving a car or crossing a street. The Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics surveyed 43,000 high school students and found that:
- 59% of high school students admitted cheating on a test during the last year. 34% self-reported doing it more than twice.
- One out of three high school students admitted that they used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment.
Dissuading students from improper use of online materials is a massive effort that few are willing to undertake. Teachers are at ground zero and start with three basic rules:
As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!
Q: I’m teaching a class on internet forensics–to drive home the point that the internet is a scary place for the uninformed. I know people who use facial recognition tools to search FB, Instagram and those sorts of picture curatators. Most of the programs I’ve found are expensive and complicated. Is there an easy one to share with my students:
There sure is–Google’s Image Search. Go to:
Upload an image you want to search for (or drag-drop it into the field), like this one:
Google will find all the places it appears: