Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Plagiarism Across Europe and Beyond - Day 1b

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. Here are the afternoon talks on June 12 (morning session):
  •  Gill Rowell (Turnitin)
    Addressing student plagiarism in the UK, ten years onIn Sept. 2002 JISC formed the Plagiarism Advisory Service and purchased Turnitin, providing it to the higher education institutions at no cost. The goal was to raise awareness of plagiarism within institutions. It was soon clear that electronic solutions are not enough. A culture of honesty must be developed. 10 years later: More plagiarism seems to be found. Staff thinks that using Turnitin contributes to reducing plagiarism. Turnitin is having less and less percentage of handed in essays with > 50 % similar material. Teaching information literacy is one of the key points that need to be addressed. She has investigated the sources students now use: Wikipedia is the top source; use of paper mills has doubled; social networking sites account for 14 % of the matches; 16 % of the results are dead links; online newspapers are now also often used. Universities are often not sure how to use the software - they are not clear on what their goals are, don't understand that they need policy and procedures as well. Guidance on interpreting the Originality Report is key to the use of Turnitin: It is not enough to just look at the number on the top of the page. Different models of use: screenall, suspicion triggered, sampling, profiling, deterrent, formative use (helping them learn to write better), summative use. Turkey, Pakistan, and Nigeria are now looking into a national use of plagiarism detection software. The next conference Turnitin is sponsoring on plagiarism will be on June 16-18, 2014, in Gateshead UK.
  • Debora Weber-Wulff (HTW Berlin)
    Plagiarism in German Doctoral Dissertations : Before and beyond zu Guttenberg

Tracey Bretag, Gill Rowell and Teddi Fishman
Academic integrity in higher education: A global perspective

Teddi Fishman introduced the work of the International Center for Academic Integrity.  The center was first formed as a response to the problem of cheating. Then they looked at bad student behavior, then on improving pedagogy and inculcating a culture of integrity. The fundamental values they want to impart are honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility - and courage. We need to acknowledge that we have a cheating problem. She explained her definition of plagiarism and closed with the statement: "Complex issues should not be addressed in simplistic ways." So much of what we do is fear-driven, and that is not conductive to learning.

Tracey Bretag noted that reports in the media have driven the cause of dealing with plagiarism in Australia. When you look at conferences on plagiarism, the senior professors are missing. There tend to be just junior professors or staff assigned to "find a solution for this plagiarism problem". Institutions need to start being transparent and accountable for what happens. Universities need to learn not to be afraid of "scandals" but take them as an indication of there being problems.

Gill Rowell makes it clear that just having a piece of software is not enough. There must be an institutional policy.

I chaired this session:
  • Julia Fallon, Neil Wellman (Cardiff Metropolitan University)
    International students’ attitudes and behaviours regarding unfair practices: an empirical study of MBA students
    We need data - so we did an empirical study. She hat 287 students in 2007, mostly from India. She looked at their 60-credit-dissertations with Turnitin. It turned out there was a lot of "sharing" going on. They have been trying to design plagiarism out of the curriculum. She found one Indian student so interested in learning that he enjoyed ghostwriting. And he could easily sell the same paper twice, as students who purchase papers and teachers don't read them. They administered a questionnaire that was completed by 182 students. They were saying that pooling resources and helping others is natural and that technological developments have helped. The answer patterns repeat earlier findings.
  • Blanka Farková (Jan Amos Komensky University Prague, Czech Republic)
    Intertextuality in Student Works - Comparison of Results of the Swedish and the Czech Study
    (The talk was given in Czech and translated into English, the paper is in English but appears to have been prepared by a translator.)
    Five textual extracts were given to eight academics from two universities working in natural sciences or humanities and they were asked to order the papers by acceptableness. There were differences between what the Swedish and the Czech academics found to be facts that do not need to be reference.
    Recommendations: Teach students to include page numbers for references, have them include the original texts in footnotes when quoting foreign sources, and to include information about the primary source of information. Czech academics immediately spoke of plagiarism when they became suspicious, having seen the presence of features they thought could indicate plagiarism. Swedish academics would only identify a case as plagiarism after they had exhausted all of the possible explanations which could justify the case.
  • Angelika Kokkinaki, Catherine Demoliou and Melpo Iacovidou (University of Nicosia, Cyprus)
    Students Perceptions on Plagiarism and Relevant Policies in Cyprus Universities
    There are three state and four private universities in the Republic of Cyprus (the Greek part of the island) with more than 20 institutions of higher education with accredited programs. Approximately 21.000 students study at these institutions, very few are foreign students. Many teachers were trained in the UK, USA, or Israel. She administered the IPPHEAE Survey to students, 318 responded (no PhD students).
I was not able to attend these parallel sessions:
  • Adrian Lee (University of York)
    Assessing the Value of an Holistic Use of Turnitin to Promote Academic Integrity
  • Sivasubramaniam Shiva Das (Nottingham Trent University)
    Electronic plagiarism detection software as self-teaching tool for plagiarism avoidance in Bioscience undergraduates
  • Rui Sousa-Silva (Aston University / Universidade do Porto)
    Investigating Academic Plagiarism: A Forensic Linguistics Approach to Plagiarism Detection
  • Sharon Flynn (National University of Ireland, Galway)
    Teaching staff concerns about academic integrity and their implications for staff development
  • Tomáš Foltýnek, Jiří Rybička, Catherine Demoliou (Mendel University, Brno)
    Do students think what teachers think about plagiarism?
  • David Dalton, Robert Craig (Petroleum Institute)
    Understanding first year undergraduate student perceptions of copying and plagiarism: Developing a platform for a culture of honest inquiry and academic construction of knowledge.
More to follow tomorrow!

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