Monday, June 21, 2004

Universities attempt to tackle plagiarism

This article in yesterday's Observer reports on the rising problem of plagiarism of internet resources in university students' work:

Universities declare war on the copycat exam cheats
Mark Townsend and Mark Hudson
A sophisticated cheat detection system is being considered by 140 universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, as new research reveals that more than 90,000 students regularly plagiarise essays.

All major universities are planning to introduce software to catch cheats in an attempt to protect the credibility of degree qualifications. Many lecturers are concerned by a growing market on the internet offering students customised essays for sale.
It is something we've seen on the rise here in Birmingham too and I cannot help thinking that some colleagues are better at spotting offenders than others. One of the things that I find encouraging about the current article is that it will help to target students who are going to the sites offering customised essays for sale. It's actually pretty straightforward to spot blatant interent plagiarism if you are at all familiar with internet resources, and Google regularly lends a helping hand, but my own major concern is with these sites that sell their services because these are more difficult to track.

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