Academic Dishonesty: Applying Technology in Plagiarism

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Academic dishonesty, specifically cheating and plagiarism, recently has increased in popularity. Students often justify unethical academic behavior. Technological innovations, like the cellular telephone, have provided students with new methods of cheating. Plagiarism has also been influenced through technologies, specifically internet companies have emerged that provide unethical solutions to academic assignments.  

Academic Dishonesty: Applying Technology to Cheat
Defined as any “theft of ideas and other forms of intellectual property— whether they are published or not” (Jones, et al, 2001), academic dishonesty occurs often, usually in the form of cheating or plagiarizing. Students face temptations to cheat and plagiarize throughout their academic career. Unlike past generations, the majority of modern students are taking advantage of unethical, academically dishonest opportunities. Since technology is evolving continually, students are engineering methods to apply technological innovations to cheat or plagiarize – academically cheating themselves from the education provided by the academic community. Cheating

Cheating is defined as to “deceive by trickery” or “to act dishonestly, practicing fraud.” (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 1993). A recent survey has shown an overwhelming majority of students have cheated. They, however, have justified their actions and do not believe that is a “big deal” (Cheating is a Personal Foul, 1999).

The justifications behind cheating range from laziness to an unwillingness to put forth the effort to learn the expected material. Some students blame a lack of self-confidence in one’s ability to learn or lack of interest in the subject. Many modern students lack time to devote to academics, because of hectic schedules. Some students blame instructors for not providing clear expectations or practical applications of academic topics, encouraging a student to devote the necessary time to the material.

Modern students face many pressures for academic success. They are often unwilling to disappoint their parents or spouses. Some fear that not cheating will weaken a student’s ability to compete with their peers. They rationalize their unethical behavior, unwilling to accept a poor grade, consequently justifying cheating as the only means to that end.

Many students justify their behavior, because of the many examples of unethical behavior in society. For example, in May of 2003, readers of the New York Times were shocked to discover that a reporter, Jayson Blair, was fabricating details and plagiarizing in his articles. The media attention attributed to the Blair affair included a front-page article in the New York Times on Mother’s Day, May 11, 2003 (Barry, 2003). The Blair scandal highlighted dishonesty in journalism, introducing dialogue about ethical obligations among students and professionals.

Lastly, the majority of students, aware of technological innovations, construct new cheating techniques, using the latest technology. They are more willing to risk cheating, assuming that educators are unaware of specific technology’s capabilities to cheat. Applying Technology to Cheat

One of today’s most common technologies is the cellular phone, capable of transmitting information, accessing immense databases, and communicating wirelessly. Students have applied the many features associated with cellular technology to cheat academically. For example, many cellular phones allow students to access the internet, which can be used dishonestly during an exam to access search engines, which can instantly provide answers to exam questions.

Cellular phones have revolutionized the methods of cheating. In the past, potential cheaters commonly attempted to smuggle notes into a class for use during the exam. Through camera phone technology, these students who aspire to cheat can photograph their notes for use during the exam (Walker,...
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