In learning institutions, students are introduced to other people’s ideas and integrate them into their writing. Learners hear them in lectures, read them in texts, and discuss them in class. Therefore, the act of taking another person’s idea, song, conversation, and writing and presenting it in your writing without referencing is plagiarism. It is important to give credit where needed. Besides, when learners use another individual’s information, it is essential to indicate the source within the paper using internal citation to credit the source of information. Plagiarism is considered unethical in various colleges and universities because learners steal another person’s work and ideas. People who created an original work have the ethical and legal right to use it for monetary gain. Therefore, when their ideas are stolen, it limits this ability. Plagiarism parallels to committing academic fraud and deceiving instructors. Plagiarism is cheating in learning institutions. It is an offense of submitting copied or borrowed work as your own. That means the a student is intentionally trying to get credit for unoriginal work.
One of the consequences of plagiarism in academia is the failure in class and projects. Plagiarized work leads to failure in class work. It is almost impossible for the instructor to reveal the student whose paper is original in cases students submit the same assignments. Additionally, plagiarism leads to peer disrespect since the student with original work will appear as the supplier of answers. Plagiarism is unethical because it does not support copying of other individual’s ideas since university and college standards require the creation of original work and papers. The objective of written papers and projects is to enable learners to communicate, create, and think critically in the written form. Therefore, plagiarizing evades this educational objective.
The first case of plagiarism involved a Harvard student by the name of Kaavya Viswanathan, who was trying to establish herself as a renowned author. Her first book How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life was just evaluated worth $1 million. The book had just been listed on “New York Times bestseller list at position 32” (Bailey para.1). There was to be a second book and movies based on it soon. She was targeting “chick lit” genre as a top author she was destined to be. By all accounts, Viswanathan was favored all rounded and destined to rise as an author – she was Indian born, a daughter to two wealthy doctors. At 17 years, she signed her first book deal worth $500.000 (Bailey para. 4). Nonetheless, in 2006, there emerged claims concerning plagiarism in her first book How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life that had plagiarized parts from other authors in the industry. The plagiarism afflictions on Viswanathan’s book began when the school’s paper The Harvard Crimson published a report matching passages in Viswanathan’s book to earlier works by Megan F. McCafferty known as Second Helpings and Sloppy Firsts (Bailey para. 4) Moreover, the original reports listed only a handful of related passages. Additionally, McCafferty’s publisher, Crown Publishing, listed more similarities between the books adding to over forty cases of similarities compared to the preliminary reports that listed just a handful of resemblances. However, Little, Brown and Co., Viswanathan’s Publisher in a statement release apologized for the similarities. Viswanathan responded to the claims that she was a huge fan of McCafferty’s work claiming to have severally read and internalized McCafferty’s novels during her high school times and promised to rewrite the passages saying that it was unintentional. The consequences of the plagiarism were significant. Despite her publisher standing by her at that moment, they later revoked the deal and pulled the book that eventually diminished in worth being reportedly less than half a million (Bailey para. 5). As a result, Viswanathan’s promising career in writing came an abrupt end.
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The second case of plagiarism is the Harvard cheating scandal that occurred in 2012 involving almost 125 students in Harvard College who cheated on the spring of 2012 take-home assignment. They were investigated for cheating on the spring 2012 edition of government 1310: Introduction to Congress take-home end year exam led by the assistant professor Mathew B. Platt in springs of the years 2010, 2011, and 2012 (Levitz para. 1). The spring exam was rated on Q Guide Harvard’s collection, of course, evaluation as “very easy”. Some 2012 spring students claimed that Mathew Platt had confirmed that the exam was easy and promised 120 A’s stating that attendance was noncompulsory since the sharing of notes was allowed to absentees. The course was offered to Harvard Extension School and Harvard College students. In 2010 and 2011, take-home exams were essays unlike the short answer format in 2012 (Levitz para. 3). The students were graded based on four take-home exams. According to the Q Guide, there was a drop in the overall score due to changes. The short answer format enabled teamwork according to the students. In the second half of 2012, there was launched the investigation of 125 undergraduates alleged of operating a cheating group concerning collusion, copying answers, and plagiarism among others. Professor Mathew Platt noticed similar answers on his take-home Introduction to Congress Final Exam and alerted the administration. After further investigations, the increase in plagiarism was as a result of the advanced technology and internet (Levitz para. 5). Many students from Harvard University have suffered the consequence of cheating and a lot more have been forced to withdraw temporarily. In late September and December, the Harvard College Administrative Board released the much-awaited investigation results containing the punishments meted to the 125 students involved (Levitz para. 5). More than the half had to withdraw for at least four semesters; another half was put on disciplinary probation, and a few escaped the punishment. The warning became part of student’s rules and regulations.
In Korea, plagiarism is rampant. Personally, I have been involved in unintentional plagiarism. This occurred when I was working on a homework essay concerning opinion writing. I used a certain example related to my country – Korea. At the time, I was unaware that it was plagiarism since many Korean students often use this example when taking Teaching English as First Language (TEFL) test. Essentially, in Korea, many students copy others’ works and do not see it as an issue of concern. The study shows that 40% of students in the South Korean university have plagiarized their works with four out of ten confirming to having copied and pasted materials from the internet and submitting as their own (Turnitin.com para. 1). Over 370 South Korean undergraduates studying various subjects by Plagiarism Advice.org website based in the UK were part of the survey conducted (Turnitin.com para. 1). The plagiarism web site provides training and expert advice to the education sector. Korean higher education institutions such as Yonsei, Hanyang, Kit, and Postech Universities are already using Turnitin, a sponsored site, world leading plagiarism prevention tool. Besides, various students were asked about their opinion about plagiarism and the manner their learning institutions tackle the issue. Most were supporting their lecturers in using plagiarism checker software such as Turnitin to check their work. At least 70% of learners think that university guidelines do not clearly educate on how to reference another person’s ideas (Turnitin.com para. 3). According to Professor Woojin Paik, a Professor of Computer Science at Konkuk University and former director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning, the students were aware of copying others’ work but had no idea what to do according to survey results (Turnitin.com para. 5). Nonetheless, they realized their mistake after reviewing their work using detection software and stopped. The majority of South Korean students are familiar with plagiarism and found it confusing, says Ms. Rowell.
In conclusion, plagiarism detection software is important in colleges and universities as it plays a big role in maintaining academic integrity. It is clear that using another person’s work or ideas without citing the source is against the college and university regulations. Plagiarism is unethical because it leads to class failure, peer disrespect, and unoriginality in learning institutions. Plagiarism has severe consequences in case it is detected. Authors stand the risks of their work or books being revoked or facing the need to rewrite if plagiarism is found. Students with plagiarized assignments and exams are at risk of disciplinary probation, withdrawal from continuing semesters, and retaking exams. In Korea, plagiarism is rampant mostly when students are taking the TEFL, and most of students do not know what to do finding it confusing. Plagiarism detector software is essential in learning institution in Korea and various countries since it helps in upholding the academic ethics.
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