Last week, April 20-24 was National Plagiarism Awareness Week, at least it appeared as such. The third annual conference/webinar sponsored by TurnItin was behind the original publicity concept to acquaint the educational community with its database plagiarism tracking system. TurnItin examines electronic essays and the percentage of similarities throughout the Net. But many other institutions host their own events.
Others like University of Nebraska call it Academic Integrity Week and they hold theirs September 21-25, 2015. According to the site, Academic Integrity Week is, “A shared commitment to the highest standards of academic integrity is held across all disciplines and all kinds of higher education institutions. As a necessary condition of our membership in the academic community, we agree to identify the source of the ideas or words or images that we borrow. We agree not to cheat on exams. We agree to accurately and fully describe the methods and results of our research….” (para 4).
For the week long festivities, BestCollegesOnline.com offered three prominent ways of celebrating the ethical party by creating, playing, and participating in entertaining ways that use attribution to give credit where credit is due. The recommendation site also plugs The School of Ethical Education.
At Savannah State University every week is plagiarism education week with its online arsenal of plagiarism avoidance tips. In addition to a sundry of tips from embedding quotes to the definition of paraphrasing and summarizing, the collegial site also shows a flow chart according to TheVisualCommunicationsGuy.com, of how plagiarism can occur. Did you know plagiarism not only occurs knowingly, but can occur unknowingly?
Here, two top education sites, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Education World celebrate the virtues of TurnItIn’s week long public relations campaign. As they do, they focus much needed publicity on rampant cheating as well as advertorials for its proven product success.
Other TurnItIn competitors also offer plagiarism avoidance advice such as iThenticate.com. Here the focus is on research and ethics and the types of poor documentation that can lead to cheating. And of course plagiarism can occur outside the classroom in music and via administrators.
Thus, while anti-plagiarism Net materials and services continue to morph, so to do the proliferation of encyclopedia type-sites, term paper mills, and Wikis. Couple these indexed sites with an explosion of social networking as well as vanity blogs (idiosyncratic) and news spin services, it becomes increasingly more challenging for students to give credit where credit is due. Still, everything on the Net can be cited. However, students must distinguish between reputable and quality sources versus watered down information with little peer-reviewed substance even if they do cite correctly.