I think one of the problems with plagiarism is that some of the faculty, especially older faculty, have a huge blind spot for it. So, I am trying to decide whether to copy an article in today’s NY Times to the faculty list. It indicates that 38% of undergraduates cut and pasted parts of their work from the internet in the last year. That’s up from 10% three years ago. The scariest part of this is that students cite pressure to get into a good graduate school as one of the reasons for plagiarizing. That’s a scary idea.
Some have argued that this is just a part of living in the information age. I disagree. I think understanding the need to cite is more important, not less, as technology increases the flow and availability of information. I think when we let plagiarism slide it is both a disservice to the students and an indication that our teaching is not up to snuff. That should be a given, but several of our faculty disagree. They think that it is not our job to be cops. I think they missed the idea, somehow.