Copy and paste waste

March 25, 2005

The policing of plagiarism is becoming a big part of my role as a tutor in higher education. I thought my experiences of this had reached a nadir last year when a first-year student submitted an essay that she had copied from the internet, having changed only one word in the first paragraph. She was given a warning and allowed to progress and secure a pass.

My colleagues and I have given repeated warnings of the consequences of cheating, but already this year I have detected three students out of a cohort of 24 who have blatantly copied from the internet.

The school I am currently in has an in-house plagiarism officer who should deter these particular students from re-offending. But there is always the fear that I may have missed some cases, resentment that our valuable time is squandered in this way and the niggling doubt that, when cheating is so easy, we can ever again produce independent thinkers.

Celia Harris
Hampshire

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