Academic Dishonesty 10

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Academic Dishonesty

Academic Dishonesty
“To cheat or not to cheat, that is the question.” This modified statement, borrowed from the soliloquy in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, aptly denotes the ethical dilemma faced by all students. The majority of students endeavor to conduct themselves in an upright manner. Yet the harsh reality is that many learning institutions, from high schools to universities, are becoming rife with academic dishonesty. The advent of technology has created a tantalizing environment that has greatly enhanced the lives of many people, especially students. An unfortunate consequence is that some of these technological advances are being used to foster scholastic dishonesty. Modern technology has created a tempting environment for academic dishonesty, as well as providing mechanisms for preventing this behavior. Education is an important aspect of life in most cultures; especially is this true in Western society. Students enrolling in colleges and universities are driven to succeed and generally put forth their best efforts toward that end. Unfortunately, there are some people who attempt to circumvent the standards for academic behavior by resorting to such activities as cheating and plagiarism. These actions have been exacerbated by the misuse of technology. Therefore, it is critical that learning institutions take decisive action to curb these dishonest practices for the benefit of those students behaving in an ethical manner The expression “academic dishonesty” covers a broad range of issues, but some of its common forms are cheating, plagiarism, and collusion. These practices are considered an attack on the integrity of an educational institution and essentially cheapen the learning experience for all involved; this includes the perpetrator, other students, and members of the faculty (Nelson, 2006). Cheating is basically using information or study guides in any academic exercise without the knowledge or permission of the instructor. Some forms of cheating include copying from another person during a test; using unauthorized notes during an examination; students asking or allowing another person to take a test for them. Plagiarism is tantamount to stealing because the student is using another person’s thoughts, either through a direct quotation or paraphrasing into his own words, without giving proper credit to the author of those words or ideas. Collusion occurs when any student serves as an accomplice to any of the forms of academic dishonesty outlined above (Nelson, 2006). Rates of academic cheating have greatly increased during the past decade; a study of 50,000 college and 18,000 high-school students in the United States by Duke University's Center for Academic Integrity, more than 70 percent admitted to having cheated; up from about 56 percent in 1993 (Vencat, 2006). In today’s world a plethora of new electronic gadgets is available to the public on a daily basis. Theses technologies are transforming how society relates to each other and are having major social impact. Mobile phones, personal digital assistants, and PCs with Internet access allow people to instantly connect to each other and to tap into a wealth of information. These technologies in many regards bring society together and have fueled a digital renaissance that allows the free flow of ideas and permits anyone on Earth to share his life, but technology brings with it the possibility of negative consequences (Cox, 2006). One of the negative consequences is an explosive rise in academic dishonesty, specifically cheating and plagiarism. Three technologies that have been exploited for academic cheating are the mobile phone, the Internet, and the Personal Digital Assistant or PDA. Mobile phones have penetrated every nook of today’s society. More than 60% of U.S. households have at least one cell phone, and by 2010 that percentage will be over 80% (KiplingerForcasts, 2005). Since mobile phones have been...
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