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Plagiarism in Online Education

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Plagiarism in Online Education

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  • August 2008
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These days, with all of the information that is readily available on the internet, and many students opting to obtain education from online colleges and universities, the prevalence of plagiarism is on the rise. In a 2005 study conducted by the Center for Academic Integrity (www.academicintegrity.org), it was concluded that 40% of the 50,000 undergraduates asked admitted to having plagiarized from the internet. This is a very large jump over a span of six years, from only 10% in 1999 (Badke, 2007). It is becoming clear that educators, as well as students, need to become more familiar with what plagiarism is, what constitutes it, and how it can be avoided in order to ensure students are getting the most out of their online learning experience. Plagiarism is committed when someone takes the words or ideas of another and passes them off as his own. It is, essentially, intellectual stealing, and is not only ethically wrong, but prohibited by all educational establishments. Many people commit plagiarism without even realizing it. They may follow all the rules, paraphrasing, summarizing, etc., but not properly cite the source where the idea was derived. Unfortunately, ignorance is not an acceptable defense. It is the same, for example, as being pulled over for driving 65 mph and telling the officer you did not know the speed limit was 35. The officer will most likely still issue a citation for speeding. Likewise, innocently taking credit for the work of another is plagiarism all the same (Alsaffar, 2006). More commonly, plagiarism is committed knowingly by the student and as a result of sheer laziness. In the vast world of the internet, information abounds for online students, as does the opportunity to reproduce, distribute and even share papers and projects. Students often find the desired information on the web, then cut and paste it into emails, class forums and assignments. Term paper websites are also out there, as well, advertising A+ papers for sale for a...