Thirty years ago, libraries were full of students trying to get the right book for their assignments. Now, libraries are not nearly as full as they used to be. Why? The Internet. Students now have the easy option of searching for exactly the information they need by using the Internet. All can be done from a click of a button, in the comfort of their homes. In a 2015 study conducted by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Family Online Safety Institute, and myCollegeOptions, 9.65% of students in the US say they need the Internet to complete home assignments.
The internet has revolutionized the way students complete their homework. In this modern era, students are demanded to be digitally savvy, with teachers all over the world assigning tasks that require internet access. With this, comes a change in student behavior in handling school assignments. With a growing number of 40% of the world having Internet access, there is no denying that this is the way forward in education.
The internet provides almost any information you need, from tutorials, news, biographies to academic essays. Students can easily search the information they need for their assignments. Previously, they had to get through the lengthy process of going to the library, manually look for the right book (out of thousands of books), and then scan that book to find information they needed. The benefits of the Internet for students are undeniable.
However, the ease of access to information has often led to the misuse of information. Because of the almost endless amount of information from various sources, students can sometimes fall into the mistake of using information from unreliable sources. Another issue that frequently occurs due to internet use in assignments, is plagiarism.
Plagiarism is the act of taking a person’s work and presenting it as your own without giving credit to the original author. With easy access to academic journals and papers, students can practically get their assignments online; thus, committing plagiarism. According to a survey conducted by the Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics, one in three students admit to using the internet and plagiarizing for an assignment. However, the number of plagiarism committed by students is still difficult to gauge, since most plagiarized works go undetected.
The rise of essay writing services has arguably opened the door to more acts of plagiarism.
Students from ESL (English as a Second Language) schools to prestigious universities have engaged in the practice of buying essays, but many are quite oblivious to how their purchased works were produced. While there are some review sites like Omnipaper which helps differentiate the quality of such services, many still fall victim to lazy commercial essay writers who succumb to the easy acts of plagiarism.
This problem has been a sore spot for dozens of years, and the concern has only grown tenfolds since the introduction of the internet into the realm of education. It is possible that these frequent acts of plagiarism happen due to a lack of understanding of plagiarism itself and how to avoid it.
So how do we prevent students from plagiarizing? First of all, students need to understand how serious a violation plagiarism is, especially in the academic world. Students need to realize that in the latter stages of their life, plagiarism can seriously damage their reputation and career. A sense of caution needs to be established early on in their education.
Secondly, students need to be made aware of how the Internet is used for educational purposes. With the understanding of which sources are eligible and how to properly use these sources, students will be able to quickly distinguish credible information from irresponsible opinions.
Finally, the best and most important step to prevent plagiarism is to educate students on how to write a proper research paper. Though it may seem rather simple, there are several details that must be understood. One of which is how to properly cite your sources. This can play a huge factor to whether your work will be considered an act of plagiarism or not. Another good tip to help prevent plagiarism is learning how to paraphrase. Paraphrasing is an act of expressing the idea of the author using different words. This will help students to be freer in citing their sources and sticking with the flow of their paper.
An additional step to prevent plagiarism is to instill into the minds of students that using more sources, referring to them and crediting them accordingly can help you design a better and more credible paper. Students tend to think that relying too much on sources can seem like they are hiding their ideas, when, in reality, strong and reliable sources can strengthen arguments and make for a better essay.
From all the talk around plagiarism, it is clear that it is an issue impossible to tackle without the support of the whole educational system. A strong stance and movement is needed to prevent plagiarism. Otherwise, it will continue to grow and be taken lightly by students, especially in this digital age.