Plato tells students how not to copy

June 16, 2006

Warwick University has become the first institution to pay a one-off fee for a site licence to use a new interactive e-learning program to teach its students, particularly undergraduates and those from overseas, about the pitfalls of plagiarism.

Recently launched by Derby University, Plato (Plagiarism Teaching Online) is based on the premise that copying could be prevented if students were better educated about what constitutes cheating.

The program is believed to be the first of its kind on the market, complementing American software now used by about 60 UK institutions to detect plagiarism in students' work.

Charles Shields, one of Plato's developers, said: "There has been a lot in the news about plagiarism but everyone seems to be focused on detection and punishment.

"The software that is in use at the moment to detect cheating is all very well but it seems wrong not to also look at educating students about plagiarism and proper referencing. You certainly cannot assume that they have learnt about these things at school."

More information can be found at www.preventplagiarism.co.uk

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