Lawrence Hinman, professor of philosophy and director of the Values Institute at the University of San Diego, has contributed a thoughtful piece on plagiarism to The Washington Post. He looks to instructors as the source and solution to the problem: Cheating and plagiarism often arise in a vacuum created by routine, lack of interest and overwork. Professors who give the same assignment every semester, fail to guide students in the development of their projects and have little interest in what the students have to say contribute to the academic environment in which much cheating and plagiarism occurs.
"The University of Otago is taking a 'serious look' at the possible use of computer software tools to detect student plagiarism, as part of a wider academic review." Other NZ universities have already pursued detection services. Massey University is trialling Turnitin.com. During the first semester trial, "943 assignments were tested" and only "two instances of apparent plagiarism" were detected.
An associate professor English at China's Beijing University was fired for plagiarism. Described as "enthusiastic about public welfare and praised by his colleagues as 'behaving very well,'" the professor had nonetheless plagiarized "other scholars' ideas and expressions in his own academic works from 1999 to 2003, including literary books and academic papers.
Turnitin announces a plan to offer its plagiarism service via the BlackBoard course management system.
The conference, "Plagiarism, Prevention, Practice and Policy," 28-30 June 2004, St. James Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, is dedicated to exploring "innovative practice in dealing with the complex issues surrounding plagiarism."