Internet and Ethics: Teachers Aim to Curb Online Cheating

Academic cheating is a growing problem that’s become easier since the onset of the Internet. Now teachers at all levels have to be more vigilant to catch cheaters in the classroom. No longer are just the university and college professor seeing plagerized papers routinely, this has become common among all levels of education.

A recent study by the Center for Academic Integrity found that 70 percent of college students admit to some sort of academic cheating. And 37 percent have used the Internet to plagiarize. Some often and as their only information source.

“I think when it comes to the Internet, they don’t realize that copying from the Internet is the same thing as copying from a book,” said Traci Leonardo.

Leonardo runs the Institute for Political Journalism, an academic internship program.

“I think we need to start early, in middle school and in high school, about what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it,” said Andrea Goodwin, the associate director of Student Conduct at the University of Maryland.

Part of the problem is that students now have easy access to a number of Web sites that offer papers on just about every novel, topic and theme taught in schools. Many students said the Internet is an easy way to get free information.

Several teachers have begun using ways to combat the problem.

One common way to combat this is a website called, an anti-plagiarism computer program.

The Web site allows students to turn in their papers on line and identifies suspicious papers. The site highlights sections of a student’s paper that comes from another site. It also directs the teacher to exact site the information came from.

“It’s problematic from a learning perspective because students aren’t able to write on their own, analyze and come up with their own thoughts,” said Batton.

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