Academic Dishonesty and the Internet in Higher Education
Just as the industrial revolution brought drastic changes to how people lived in the 18th and 19th centuries, the digital age is a new era in which we are living that both recently has brought and is currently bringing about many changes in the way we live. This new so called digital age has manipulated the way we live. It has changed the way we interact and socialize, the way we process and get information, and even the way we learn in education. Educationally speaking, the digital age has brought about a great deal of positive changes in education but also some negative ones. The Internet makes peer-reviewed research studies and library collections easily accessible to students. The internet also allows collaboration among individuals and groups without geographical limitations possible. An unfortunate result of the digital age, however, is that students are becoming less likely to maintain their academic integrity, and this increase in academic dishonesty occurs in both traditional and web-based courses.
Academic dishonesty is not a new phenomenon amongst students, but the ways that students are doing it and their attitudes toward it are changing. The digital age has brought a tremendous amount of opportunities for students and teachers in the educational society today. Technology is changing the ways educators teach by providing new perspectives to things with new exciting resources that students and teachers can both use. At the same time, though, it is challenging students’ academic integrity. A 2002 survey done by the Josephson Institute of Ethics reported that students are starting to develop a more laid back attitude towards cheating (Jarc). According to Ma, Wan, and Lu, this decline of academic integrity seems to be closely related to the Internet and other newly advanced technologies (198). Since more students at the college level are now using the Internet as a resource to find information, more and more students are cheating. The number of students who cheat is rising each year, and it is only getting worse (Ma, Wan, and Lu 198). The same 2002 survey done by the Josephson Institute of Ethics revealed that from 1992 to 2002, the number of college students who admitted to cheating on an exam in the past 12 months rose significantly from 61 to 74 percent (Jarc). “53% of the students said that it was no big deal that more students were cheating these days,” (Ma, Wan, and Lu 198). This increase of cheating is due to the Internet. In the past, academic dishonesty like cheating and plagiarism was more time consuming, because it required students to obtain books, read, and copy. Now with the Internet, students can create a website where they can share test answers, ideas, or homework as well as a student can copy the other student’s work. Additionally, a student can easily copy and paste another individual’s original work, which is plagiarism when that individual is not given the proper credit. In other cases, students can use the Internet during exams to look up answers on the spot in web-based courses or possibly in traditional classrooms with the use of smart phones. Educators must be aware of this growing problem, so they can discourage academic dishonesty as a preventive measure before it actually occurs, at which point more reactive measures, i.e. consequences, would need to be taken. The most essential element to the success of an educator's teaching is academic integrity--knowing that his or her students learned enough to create their own original ideas, but also demonstrated the honesty to give credit to authors when/if they borrowed others' ideas. With a higher standard of academic integrity it can be said that higher education and even society will benefit from it. Also, higher academic standards can help pave the road to academic success, promote scientific progress and prepare for students for responsibility in the workplace after college. If...
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