Plagiarism from a teacher’s point of view

Teacher "I should be correcting papers"There’s already a lot of information out there on the Internet and in handouts from schools/colleges/universities, even on this website, in relation to plagiarism.

You know what it is: copying someone else’s work to benefit your own success without paraphrasing (re-writing in your own words so you can show your understanding of the material).  Also, you’ve been told about self-plagiarism: taking a previous piece of work and re-submitting it to your respective teacher/lecturer, where you don’t learn anything, period.

Yes, you’ve been born into a world of advanced Information Technology and dazzling consoles from some big-named brands/companies, but do remember that the Internet has only really been commercially available for the past 15 years or so.  This means that a lot of people who are older than you are actually well-versed in the ways the Internet and indeed IT work.

Granted, not all people know how to use IT or the Internet effectively, but a lot of people do.  This is because we as educationalists have to make sure we’re up to date with the latest tech, else we’d be ignoring an integral part of your learning and development via a very useful resource.

This therefore means that plagiarism is something you can’t get away with when it comes to the vast majority of IT-literate teachers/lecturers.  I’ve had so many students, this year alone, hand in work that clearly is partially and in some instances totally, plagiarised.

Writing an essayHere’s why: your writing is personal to you.  You write in a particular way and yes, you sometimes word sentences using incorrect grammar.  So when the next paragraph is read and it’s grammatically sound, reads like an excerpt from a 21-year-old’s university essay and in small cases, has a different font, it’s not hard to spot the difference.

When this happens it’s very easy to initially pop that sentence into Google and let it do all the work.  If it comes back with positive hits on the exact phraseology which leads to a website, which in turn leads to a paragraph sneakily similar to yours, then you’ve been sussed.

Taking it a step further your essay can then be run through and checked for any more inconsistencies.

In today’s IT-orientated world you are not the only (young) people that know how to search the Internet to find something that fits in your essay, us teachers/lecturers here are just as well equipped.  So be wary the next time you’re trawling through the Internet.

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