Students: Using Technogolgy to cheat isn’t cheating?

I came across this article last week, posted by Robyn (@serendipitynz) on Twitter … “Students say using tech to cheat isn’t cheating“.

“According to the poll, more than a third of teens with cell phones (35 percent) admit to cheating at least once with them, and two-thirds of all teens (65 percent) say others in their school cheat with them … (and) just over half of students polled (52 percent) admitted to some form of cheating involving the Internet.”

The piece finished with this …

“Students who cheat using the Internet generally view plagiarism as more serious an offense than other types of cheating, yet more than a third of teens (36 percent) said downloading a paper from the Internet was not a serious offense, and 42 percent said coping text from web sites was a either a minor offense or not cheating at all.”

If the students here (aged 11-17) think it’s OK to cheat, then they will turn up at University and get a really huge shock. Plagiarism is taken very seriously here, and I presume at other institutions too, and students can expect to be grilled if copying or plagiarising is suspected.

This also raises another point; not all cultures have the same opinion on copying. In the report “Cultural Attitudes Towards Plagiarism” the authors explore the increase in the number of overseas students, in the UK HE Institutions, who are copying/plagiarising content as “in some cultures it is acceptable, even flattering, to copy the work of ‘masters’.”

In the Business School, and BU, we put the following phrase on all our online submission boxes:

Note: PLAGIARISM or COPYING is a serious academic offence and may incur severe penalties beyond a Fail Grade. Bournemouth University reserves the right to use electronic means to identify plagiarism.

We use SafeAssign (integrated into myBU; our Blackboard installation) at the moment, but have had TurnItIn in the past. While we don’t create submission boxes in SafeAssign every time, we have the digital files submitted to us so we can, if need be, pass through to detect any plagiarism.

This then brings me to another bigger question … which is better, SafeAssign or TurnItIn? I have my own opinion on this, born mainly from experience rather than from a detailed examination, but I’d be happy to hear your views on the two tools as well please … answers on a postcard below!