With the excessive use of the Internet in today’s education system, academic integrity has been a concern within universities. According to checkforplagiarism.net, 40 percent of college students admit to plagiarizing their written assignments. Though professors go to great lengths to ensure that students are writing their own essays, it seems that students continue to copy.
Professors use turnitin.com to screen student work before it is graded. If the work is original, it passes, but if it is derived from another paper, the teacher is made aware of it. This prevents students from simply copying and pasting their work from another source.
According to statistics provided by an APU survey, professors are making attempts to prevent cheating. Seventy-five percent of our professors change their exams regularly, 43 percent provide different versions of exams and 36 percent use the Internet to confirm plagiarism.
I recently had to handwrite assignments as my professors are concerned with cheating among students. My nine-page biblical survey was to be handwritten and scanned into Sakai to prove that my work was my own. It took six hours to put pencil to paper as I read through the New Testament to show that I had actually done my work and not taken credit for what was not mine.
Some might say that my professor was too paranoid about plagiarism, but I disagree. A great number of students are still being dishonest in their work, even with regulations.
I am completely anti-plagiarism. I believe my work should be my own, and inspiration I receive from other writers should be attributed to them. I go to great lengths to cite sources in academic papers and create original thought through critical thinking. I would like to think the best of student morals, but it appears that cheating is not on the decline.
According to checkforplagiarism.net, 80 percent of college students admit to cheating at least once, and 12 percent admit to cheating regularly. It appears that although professors are taking all of the precautions they can, some students are still finding ways around the rules.
People might assume that as a Christian institution, APU students are less likely to cheat. However, according to a recent survey provided by Dr. Vicky Bowden, vice provost for undergraduate programs, in a comparison of changes from 2007 to 2010 to 2013, Azusa Pacific students seem to be just as dishonest in their work as the rest of the nation.
In 2007, 41 percent of APU students surveyed admitted to working with others when individual work was required. This number dropped to 33 percent in 2010, but rose to 45 percent in 2013.
Similarly, 34 percent copied another’s homework in 2007. This drastically decreased to 24 percent in 2010, but then rose to 36 percent in 2013.
Despite all of the precautions taken by professors to prevent dishonest behavior, there is not a control of cheating, but a significant increase.
I then surveyed 22 communication studies students. Of them, 77 percent believed that strict rules in the classroom help prevent plagiarism. However, 13 percent thought people were not plagiarizing in the first place and 9 percent felt that students were going to find ways around these rules and plagiarize anyway.
Most of the students I talked to trusted that the efforts made by professors will do their job in helping to prevent students from plagiarizing. Faculty members are likely taking measures required to prevent cheating. These are inconvenient and time-consuming for students but help professors feel more in control.
Professors seem to be trying to cover all bases to prevent plagiarism. If they are doing the best they can to put up security features for online submission or choose to avoid Internet turn-in altogether, they can feel secure that they have done their jobs as educators.