By Rona Ortiz |Staff Writer|
Internet plagiarism is on the rise, and it is a trend college students shouldn’t follow.
A Pew Research survey of college presidents stated that there has been an 89 percent increase in academic cyber-stealing, which they attribute, in large part, to the Internet.
“Academic cheating is defined as representing someone else’s work as your own. It can take many forms, including sharing another’s work, purchasing a term paper or test questions in advance, or paying another to do the work for you,” as stated by the International Center for Academic Integrity.
An informal survey of CSUSB students showed that an overwhelming majority of students believe plagiarism is wrong and should never be done.
For many students though, the issue isn’t always black and white.
“Stealing someone’s work and saying it’s yours isn’t okay. But I don’t see a problem with having someone write a paper for you, especially if it’s not a core class where it’s essential to know the material,” said Vivian Ortiz.
Students need to understand exactly what plagiarism is because a violation could result in serious penalties, such as failing a course, being suspended or expelled from the university.
Consistent with national trends, plagiarism is the most reported act of academic dishonesty at CSUSB, according to Star Kafovalu-Wildes from the Student Conduct & Ethical Development office.
While some students may intentionally cheat, a majority of students do it without the intent to deceive.
“It’s wrong,” said Shamce Ahmad when asked how he feels about plagiarism.
On the other hand, when asked if he’s ever done it, he replied “Yes, but maybe just a sentence or a few words. People get lazy, they don’t want to go through the effort to cite.”
Many of the lines that constitute plagiarism become blurred because of the sheer amount of information available online and the ease with which you are able to copy it.
In a New York Times article entitled, “Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in the Digital Age,” writer Trip Gabriel states, “It is a disconnect that is growing in the Internet age, as concepts of intellectual property, copyright and originality are under assault in the unbridled exchange of online information.”
Many students believe if it’s out there, it’s free for the taking.
“Copyright infringement isn’t enforced so if it’s available- it’s available,” said Ortiz.
New content is added to the Internet at an astounding rate, making it impossible for university professors to check student work on their own.
Turnitin is an online service to help them deal with the problem.
When students submit their work to Turnitin, the document is checked for improper citation, as well as unoriginal content in a matter of seconds.
“Essays submitted by students to Turnitin are compared to over 45 billion pages of digital content,” according to Turnitin’s website.
CSUSB offers various tools to help students maintain academic integrity.
This includes the Annual Academic Integrity Awareness Week, educational brochures, and educational workshops available throughout the year that are open to all students.