Emergency of the current technological era makes information in the internet easy to access, and this phenomenon has increased the propensity to cheat in academics, which is becoming progressively more alluring for students and problematic for their tutors, through plagiarism. Plagiarism is widely termed as the act of closely imitating or purloining and publication of thoughts, ideas, thoughts, work, or expressions of another author without authorization or crediting the original author and then representing them as one’s own original work.
Cheating or rather academic dishonesty is extensive from high school to college students. Not only do academic and professional teams recognize the rampant problem of cheating, but “students themselves are acknowledging the problem as well.” Surprisingly, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune (2001), almost a quarter of students believe that everybody at his or her high school cheats.
Prior to the Internet, academic research was a tedious undertaking, needing trips to the library, searches in the card catalog and widespread handwritten note taking. Contrastingly, these days the same information is easily and readily obtainable through the Internet, thus creating a suitable environment in which to indulge in academic dishonesty. In this rising technological era, many students fall victims and make use of the wide-ranging quantity of technology for unconstructive reasons.
In their study, Szabo and Underwood used 291 students to carry out a survey of 12 questions on the use and misuse of the Internet. This study revealed that more than half of the students use information from the Internet to complete homework, at least one time a month. Over half of the students, which were surveyed, said that they use, or, at least, would be tempted to use the “copy and paste” utility to avoid a poor grade. With time and the fast expansion of technology, this will undoubtedly pose a serious threat, in the future.
Cheating is made conveniently possible by the internet since already completed essay papers are easily available in the web. McMurtry, an assistant professor at Montreat College in North Carolina, gave out a report showing that it was impossible to know the actual number of students who carry out academic cheating. McMurtry in 1999 found five students who had plagiarized in assignment by downloading papers from the internet. In a superficial search, McMurtry established over 30 websites that provide students with free papers or for a fee. Therefore, as an alternative of students carrying out research on the facts and applying the in critical analysis, they opt for other people to do the assignments for them. Similarly, a lot of students exercise the “cut and paste” method from the Web and attach the data in their assignment papers without even undertaking a proper citation of the authors’ work. This is academic dishonesty or rather plagiarism.
Together with the increasing accessibility to the Web, conscription in long distance learning is evolving rapidly. In 2003, the United States Department of Education showed swift growth in online courses given by colleges and universities all through the United States. This research by Newell Chiesl showed that there are many reasons, which contribute to the rising reputation of online courses:
- Wide variety of courses is offered in online classes.
- MBA courses offered online appeal and draw many students worldwide so as to earn their masters degree.
- Online classes do not require the student to be physically present.
- The class programs are convenient to the students’ own time.
Even, though, many benefits arise from online education, it suffers a significant drawback through academic dishonesty. An educational study by McCabe (1993) showed that 70% of the students, who were surveyed, had cheated on an examination at least once. Another study by Thomas, Nowack, Davis, Raghuran, and Kennedy (2000) showed that 57% of students consider cheating is easier on exams given in online classes than conventional classes.
The Tutors have to incorporate the suitable ways of exam takings into their online teaching schedules to curb this academic dishonest. For instance, they must make use of the tightest timeframe probable for students to finish the exam. They should also employ lots of the Blackboard alternatives to decide how students in each class should undertake exams. Most importantly, exams should not be given online; alternatively, they should be “taken in person with positive identification”, so as to prove that the student doing the exam is, in reality, the one who is enrolled in the class. Doing the exam in person reduces the likelihood of cheating, for sure.
What, besides competitiveness, drives a student to cheat? Wowra researched two possible theories to clarify the underlying principle behind why students cheat. First, students who undergo a considerable quantity of text unease, together with a strong longing for consent in the midst of their peers, are extra likely to cheat. These students are more willing even to risk being found cheating as they are pursuing to be appealing among their peers.
The other theory, which Wowra put forth, examines the deficit of ethical identity in those students who cheat, whereby moral identity is defined as “a psychological structure that incorporates the prescriptive and universal ideals of justice, fairness, and beneficence into the self-concept”. In simple terms, moral identity depicts the sense of wrong or right, through which a person conducts his or her deeds. Thus, if students possess strong moral background, they are unlikely to cheat as they are conscious about the act. However, those students who are short of a strong intellect of moral identity are more disposed to cheat, since they do not practice accountability for their deeds.
To stop or reduce the aptitude to cheat, “severe punishment should be publicly imposed”, as noted by Campbell, when students are caught carrying out academic dishonesty. As an alternative to eliminate research paper coursework, teachers should necessitate “students to complete them in small pieces and turn in all source materials used”. As a result, this will eventually and significantly limit the student’s capacity to plagiarize. An additional method to sense cheating in a student’s paper is by subscribing to programs such as TurnItIn.Com and Google Scholar to locate plagiarism.
With time, technology will emerge, and methods of accessing computers will develop, as noted by Richard. This technology will be developed to the point that computers will spot a camera at the subject and establish if the person is telling the truth or lying. Thus, new technologies are on the threshold of developing the future of education.