Academic Dishonesty, Copyright, and Plagiarism:
Whilst technology integration has its advantages, there are certainly ethical issues related to copyright, plagiarism and misuse of information. Roblyer and Doering (2014, p. 29) identify ease of access to online information as a cause for academic dishonesty, enhanced by the ubiquitous nature of mobile technologies. The internet, although a rich resource of information, enables unethical practices when full-text documents and piracy software are readily available to students at the click of a button. In 2013, producers of the Dallas Buyers Club threatened legal action over the piracy of its film through Australian internet company iiNet (Birtles, 2014). This is where Gabriel (2010) argues that the boundary is blurred when it comes to ethical use. A generation of students are simultaneously using technology to illegally obtain files whilst publishing academic work. Game of Thrones anyone? Digital file sharing, certainly enables plagiarism.
Students need to develop information literacy skills to know how to analyse, synthesize and communicate information appropriately. We need to explicitly teach and model ethical behaviour across all disciplines and right through secondary schooling when it comes to academic conduct, plagiarism, and technology. Learning how to develop a personal academic voice is crucial to my teaching areas of secondary HSIE and English. When used appropriately, there is a wealth of valuable research available online.
Bretag (2013) raises an interesting argument regarding plagiarism as simply a product of academic culture. She claims that plagiarism is due to an educational system that values tangible rewards (diplomas, grades etc) above knowledge creation and the value of learning. Perhaps if curriculums are designed to value a holistic approach to inquiry-based learning, and assessment criteria are designed to include peer review, peer feedback and ownership of learning through technology integration, students will be motivated and engaged to produce their own intellectual property.
It might also help to create an open discussion regarding copyright law. Before I began my studies, I enrolled in a refresher APA referencing course here at Charles Sturt University and completed the academic integrity module which has been explicit in developing my sense of what is expected and necessary to the success of my university assignments. Here is a link to the university’s copyright guidelines for students that deals with moral rights, the work of others and contains specific information regarding intellectual property that might be useful for developing such an academic culture in our future secondary classrooms. Bretag argues that we need to move beyond deterrence, detection, and punishment (Bretag, 2013) by equipping students with the skills they need to confidently produce their own work. Failing the above, technology can also be used by students to check their work for accidental plagiarism through software such as Turnitin.
Birtles, B. (2014, October 24). iiNet vows to fight threatened legal action over customers’ illegal downloads. Retrieved from ABC News: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-23/legal-bid-to-force-isps-to-reveal-details/5837322
Bretag, T. (2013). Challenges in addressing plagiarism in education. PLOS Medicine, 10(12), 1-4.
Fish, S. (2010, August 9). Plagiarism is not a big moral deal. Retrieved from NY Times: https://www.brockport.edu/academics/celt/docs/Academic_Integrity_FA10.pdf
Gabriel, T. (2010, August 1). Plagiarism lines blur for students in the digital age. Retrieved from NY Times : https://www.brockport.edu/academics/celt/docs/Academic_Integrity_FA10.pdf
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2014). Intergrating Educational Technology into Teaching (6th ed.). Essex, UK: Pearson Education Limited.
Williamson, J. (2010, April 2). Does Your Instructor Know It’s You? Issues in Verifying Online Student Identities. Retrieved from Distance Education: http://www.distance-education.org/Articles/Does-Your-Instructor-Know-It-s-You–Issues-in-Verifying-Online-Student-Identities–234.html