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Solving the Problem of Internet Plagiarism? The Technological Expediency of Online Plagiarism-Checkers

by Patrick Scanlon - October 18, 2006

The notion that Internet-assisted student plagiarism is on the rise has become part of the conventional wisdom about education in the 21st century. Although empirical studies suggest the case may be overstated, many schools and universities are using online plagiarism-detection services to sniff out cribbing. This solution is an instance of what Paul M. Dombrowski has termed “technologism,” which includes attempts to “operationalize ethics in a decision algorithm” or to otherwise shift the burden of ethical decision making onto a system. By using these services, we may appear to take a tough stand against academic dishonesty without actually addressing the important pedagogical and—perhaps more crucially—ethical questions.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: October 18, 2006
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12797, Date Accessed: 2/27/2021 7:30:15 AM

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About the Author
  • Patrick Scanlon
    Rochester Institute of Technology
    E-mail Author
    PATRICK M. SCANLON is a professor and coordinator of undergraduate degree programs in the Department of Communication at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he has also served as Institute Writing Director and Chairman of Humanities. Scanlon has presented papers and published articles on English Renaissance literature, fiction, literacy, technical writing, technical communication education, the teaching of writing in distance learning programs, technical graphics, and Internet plagiarism among college students. As a technical communication consultant, he has written extensively on fiber optics and data communication networks, and has authored speeches, presentations, technical papers and scores of articles for trade journals, corporate newsletters, and company magazines.
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