Plagiarism discussion

jonna-jarvelainen-pieni”Student cheating is common, and plagiarism is just one type of cheating.” ”Faculty members are not yet prepared to talk about plagiarism.” ”Plagiarism is so rare that a teacher might have just one serious case during his/her career.”

These kind of issues were presented last week in a national plagiarism seminar, where mainly administrative personnel, librarians and also some teachers, who were interested in the theme met each other. Finally, fortunately, also universities understand how easy it is nowadays to copy-paste material from the web, and how common it is.

Unfortunately, just a minority of the participants were teachers, whose job is affected by this phenomena. Were they not interested in this, or too busy to come, or have they outsourced anti-plagiarism activities to administration? I guess, they had not yet encountered plagiarism.

One presentation focused on the research in progress, which studied the emotions of teachers, when they discover plagiarism. They feel disappointment, they are hurt, their trust to students disappears and later they also become very sensitive in their own writing, and start paying extra attention to referencing and self-plagiarism.

As a person, who has gone through these emotions in this kind of situation several times, I welcome the anti-plagiarism tools. At least the tools will most likely show to other teachers as well, how common copy-pasting is. Tools will also show students how they should write, and hopefully they will learn how text should be composed. Now, I feel optimistic, at least until the next plagiarism case.