Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Plagiarism across Europe and Beyond - Day 1a

I am attending (and speaking at) the IPPHEAE conference "Plagiarism across Europe and Beyond" that is on June 12-13, 2013 in Brno, Czech Republic. I will summarize the talks as far as I can. The conference is sponsored by Turnitin. I am a bit troubled to hear that StrikePlagiarism wanted to have a stand here and they were turned down because Turnitin is a sponsor. If this is a conference about academic integrity, then the companies need to tolerate a discussion and a comparison with other products.
  • Tracey Bretag (University of South Australia)
    Exemplary Academic Integrity Project: Key lessons for Australia, Europe and Beyond"
    Academic integrity" is called "Educational integrity" in Australia in order to emphasize that it is throughout the entire educational system. She publishes the
    International Journal for Educational Integrity
    , available online. She reported on the Academic Integrity Standards Project: Aligning Policy and Practice in Australian Universities 2010-2012. Many policies dealt just with misconduct, or only with plagiarism. Most lacked sufficient detail about breaches and outcomes or made no mention of confidentiality. The 5 core elements of exemplary policy discusses access (easy to locate and read), approach (statement of purpose), responsibility (in detail for all stakeholders), detail (extensive but not excessive descriptions of breaches, outcomes, and processes), and support (proactive and embedded systems to enable implementation of the policy). There must be a commitment from the university to deal with the problem to be successful. Australia has to deal with many international students from Asian countries - much education must happen. There must be a culture of integrity at universities - and there must exist a strong policy. The Exemplary Academic Integrity Project (EAIP) is offering materials that can be used by universities
  • Jude Carroll (Educational consultant)
    What we can and cannot learn from each other within Europe about managing plagiarism
    Context issues: At some universities rules are set by a national authority; lawyers, not teachers, manage cases; no one collects data and information; and coursework for credit is a recent change. Systems to manage it are still developing. Involving lawyers means that the cases take far too long, they don't deliver fair outcomes, penalties are often inflexible and there is far too much paperwork! This sets the focus on cheating, not on learning. We have to teach the philosophy of education: What is 'sharing knowledge'? Why is copying not ok? Why 'do your own work'? How to use other people's work? "Plagiarism is not like pregnancy - there is a range of severity so there needs to be a range of penalties." There needs to be local engagement, and an understanding that there is not a 'quick fix'. Many schools have SPOTS: Stragegic Policy On The Shelf - the university doesn't live its policy. Local enthusiasts working alone burn out. It takes the whole university. One university has posters on academic integrity posted on the doors of all of the toilet stalls! Plagiarism is a high volume, 'every day' event. We don't tolerate or accept it, but we have to deal with plagiarism that is cheating. The current problem is contract cheating.
  • Jiří Janoušek (IS4U)
    Anton: How Mendel University fights with plagiarism? A success story.
    Antiplagiator Online (Anton). They are currently developing software.
  • Stephen Gow (University of York)
    A comparison of the Chinese and British cultural concepts of plagiarism by Chinese Master’s graduates of UK institutions who have returned to work in China
    Trying to explain plagiarism in China using Confucius is wrong. Students learn by rote in China. When they go to the UK to take a Master's degree, things are very different. In China, if they don't come to class the tutor will call their Mom. In the UK they perceive the staff as not caring about them, until they plagiarize, and then they care a lot. The expectation of independence is a difficult thing for Chinese students.
  • Stella-Maris Orim, Erik Borg, Isabella Awala-Ale (Coventry University)
    Students’ experience of institutional intervention on plagiarism: Nigerian case
    Ms. Orim conducted 25 interview sessions about student plagiarism in Nigerian students that went to the UK to continue their education. 73 % of students were not aware of plagiarism until they went to the UK to study. Supervisors talk about plagiarism just in the sense of proper referencing, although plagiarism is more than that. Most students felt that their Nigerian institutions had few penalties for plagiarism. Over half was not aware that there was any policy or defined penalties for plagiarism. As a conclusion she notes that universities that accept foreign students should not assume that they know anything at all about plagiarism and teach them accordingly
  • Erja Moore (Karelia University of Applied Sciences, Finland)
    Sloppy referencing and plagiarism in students’ theses
    "There is no space for rational discussion about plagiarism [at university]." - in 2008. Finland has a culture of silence and a culture of silencing. Sweden reported 517 plagiarism cases in 2011. Finland reported on just two. Whistleblowers tend to be harassed. Kämäräinen (2012) reported that "It is obvious that the reference lists of the theses in data had not been checked and this can only mean that not even the teachers read them." During Moore's sabbatical she looked into 48 health theses and 43 theses in business and looked at the accuracy and consistence of the referencing. She developed 4 categories. Accurate and consistent, Some inconsistency, Constant inconsistency, failed referencing/plagiarism. Of the papers examines, 55 % were in the first group, 14 % in the second, 19 % in the third and 12 % in the fourth group. No software was used to discover plagiarism except Google, this plagiarism was found only through inspection! She gave some bizarre examples of sloppy referencing in Master's theses. She concluded that many partly plagiarized theses are accepted and published - plagiarism seems acceptable and is not sanctioned. 
To be continued this afternoon!

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