Not all thieves lurk in dark alleys and parks. Some sit with their faces lit by the glow of their computer monitors, copying, pasting, and printing.
It may seem like just another helpful source of information, but the Internet has taken the theft of "intellectual property" to a new level. Part of the problem is that most students don't really know the exact definition of plagiarism or its consequences. Some say that using someone else's ideas without attributing them is a form of theft, but most people don't think of it as a serious crime.
For teachers, Internet plagiarism has been especially problematic compared to "theft" from other sources. This is because it is so difficult to locate the origin of Internet material. To counter student plagiarism, Internet services designed to detect copied material have emerged to aid teachers. One Internet company, TurnItIn.com, has developed a system for detecting material plagiarized from the Internet. Teachers can upload student works onto the site, which searches for similarities to material from all over the Web. The teachers receive an "originality report" within a few days. To utilize this new technology, a few teachers at this high school are having students submit their papers on disk as well as on paper.
"The threat of using [these programs] will stop a lot of students. They will be afraid they'll be caught. Unfortunately, fear is what works," English teacher Judy Grear said.
English teacher Barbara Swovelin said, "With all the info that's on the Internet, it's understandable that we go to it to get information. It's understandable that people would use it as a resource. The legal and moral issues come in when students use it improperly."
A main concern is not only the use of a few plagiarized sentences, but of entire...