College Presidents Blame Rising Plagiarism on Tech Increase
College presidents say that plagiarism in students' papers has increased over the past 10 years due to the growth of Internet, computers and mobile devices.
A report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 55 percent of college presidents said they noticed an increase in plagiarism over the past decade, and 89 percent of that group said technology has played a major role.
The report is based on findings from a pair of Pew Research Center surveys: One is a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,142 adults ages 18 and older, while the other is an online survey, done in association with the Chronicle of Higher Education, among the presidents of 1,055 two-year and four-year private, public and for-profit colleges and universities. Pew said the reports have a margin of error of 2.7 percent.
The leaders of the nation’s colleges and universities are also a tech-savvy group. Nearly 9 in 10 (87 percent) use a smartphone daily, 83 percent use a desktop computer and 65 percent use a laptop. They are also ahead of the curve on some newer digital technologies. About half (49 percent) use a tablet computer such as an iPad occasionally, and 42 percent use an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook.
About one-third of college presidents (32 percent) report that they use Facebook weekly or more, and about 18 percent said they use Twitter occasionally.
More than three-quarters of college presidents (77 percent) report that their institutions offer online courses. These courses are more prevalent in some sectors of higher education than in others. While 89 percent of four-year public colleges and universities offer online classes, just 60 percent of four-year private schools offer them.
Many students have already dabbled in online courses. About 1 in 4 graduates (23 percent) report that they have taken a class online. However, the share doubles to 46 percent among those who have graduated in the past 10 years.
Among all adults who have taken a class online, 39 percent say the format’s educational value is equal to that of a course taken in a classroom.
However, the opinion among public and private college presidents differs over the educational value of online courses. Only 29 percent of public college presidents said online courses offer an equal value compared with courses taken in a classroom, while half (51 percent) said online courses provide the same value.
College presidents do predict substantial growth in online learning, as 50 percent believe that 10 years from now most of their students will take classes online.
In addition, nearly two-thirds of college presidents (62 percent) anticipate that in the next decade, more than half of the textbooks used by their undergraduate students will be digital.
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