A couple posts previously, I mentioned information about the need for schools to employ Turnitin because of plagiarism. In keeping with this topic and students' overwhelming submission of plagiarized materials, I found this article to be informative and interesting. The author, Nate Anderson, discusses points of a speech from Baroness Deech who runs the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education in the United Kingdom. This agency handles student complaints against university decsions dealing with copyright issues, so Deech gets a first-hand look at these issues.
Anderson begins by mentioning the burgeoning problem of student plagiarism partially due to electronic databases that make it so easy to cut and paste and students growing up in a "Rip, mix, burn" society. Then he asks if it is totally the students' fault and brings in Deech's thesis that teachers and technology have an equal share in the blame. How's this, you ask?
In her speech, Deech mentions (criticizes?) the teaching methods of university teachers. She says that students seem to have expectations that information will be handed to them, often because teachers simplify lectures and complex lessons down to "three bullet points" in a PowerPoint. Instead, she encourges that students take their own notes and limit computer usage for research.
Anderson, also an educator, says he is surprised by the number of students who have forgotten how to even locate books on a shelf and the mentality that if it's not accessible through Google, it's not worth finding. He mentions his dismay at some of the websites that "students consider authoritative." Couple that with students who are poor writers, procrastinators or lazy and it's the perfect recipe for copyright disaster.
Regardless of who might be to blame or contributing to the problem, Anderson makes the claim, and rightly so, that students are still ultimately responsible. Students always have the choice whether to create original works or not.
My questions to you: How well do you feel your college professors advocated - verbally or by example - researching, curiosity, and originality?
Do you feel your professors' methods made you any more aware of copyright issues?
Anderson, N. (2006, October 20). Are teachers and computers responsible for plagiarism?
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