Increase in plagiarism among college students thought to be caused by technology

Kelsey Anne Smith, Contributing Writer

As defined by Wright State University’s Writing Center, plagiarism is “presenting words or ideas taken from another source in a manner that will cause a reader to believe that those words or ideas are your own.”
According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 55 percent of college presidents declared that there was a noticeable increase in the numbers of plagiarized works in their colleges. Of that 55 percent, 89 percent stated that the growth of technology was a significant contributor to this increase.
While plagiarism has always been an issue in universities, its increase over past years has largely been contributed to the increase in technology. Through the use of e-mail, social networks and Course Studio on Wings, it is easier than ever for students to quickly send information back and forth.
Technology has brought about another simple way to transmit information: purchasing online essays.
A quick Google search of “buy essays online” provides a long list  of essay-sellers. These sellers of words often guarantee quality and claim a zero tolerance plagiarism policy. The ease of clicking a button, entering a credit card number, and receiving a paper back is an easy trap for the procrastinating student. Although the essay writers claim that they do not plagiarise, by paying for the paper and turning it in as their own, they are clearly participating in plagiarism.
Plagiarism may also be increasing, according to the same Pew Internet & American Life Project, due to the increase in online classes. Students are already on the internet, making it simpler to go to a website, copy the material, and turn it in. Books are becoming a thing of the past, and most students find themselves searching JSTOR, Google Scholar, or EBSCOhost, where the ability to copy and paste with the click of a button can be an appealing temptation.
However, the University notes that although plagiarism is an issue, it is sometimes unintentional.
“Students don’t intend to be dishonest, but they don’t realize that you have to use sources,” Communications professor Elliott Gaines said. “If you provide facts, you need to provide sources,” he said, “students sometimes overlook how simple that process can be.”
For more information about Wright State’s policy on plagiarism and how students and teachers alike can prevent it, visit http://www.wright.edu/writing-across-the-curriculum/wac-faculty-guidebook/dealing-with-plagiarism.
“You’re not just cheating professors,” Dr. Gaines said, “You’re cheating yourself out of your education.”

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