Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Student Internet Plagiarism: An Overview of the Problem and a Discussion of Solutions

Patrick M. Scanlon.

The perception that Internet plagiarism by secondary and university students is on the rise has alarmed teachers, leading, among other responses, to the adoption of electronic plagiarism checkers. But that handy technological fix may divert us from the real problem, which at heart is not technological at all. Certainly we must attend to Internet plagiarism, but as educators rather than amateur detectives. This workshop will begin with a review of research on academic honesty generally and student plagiarism specifically, including the results of a recent survey of nearly 700 undergraduates on nine campuses regarding Internet plagiarism. In brief, the findings indicated levels of Internet plagiarism similar to those of “conventional” plagiarism reported in previous studies. However, these students perceived Internet plagiarism among their peers to be far more prevalent then their self-reports suggest is actually the case, a misperception with potentially troubling consequences. Also, a review of other recent studies suggests that a new generation of students is coming to college campuses with vastly different conceptions than ours of the fair use of online materials. Therefore, notwithstanding disagreement over its prevalence, how educators respond to plagiarism is more critical than ever before. The workshop is designed to provoke discussion of ways to address student plagiarism as educators first, while simultaneously upholding principles of academic integrity.


Patrick M. Scanlon  (United States)
Department of Commuinication
Rochester Institute of Technology

Patrick M. Scanlon is a professor of Professional and Technical Communication at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he has worked since 1988. He has served as Institute Writing Director (1994-1997) and Chairman of Humanities (1997-2000). Before coming to RIT, he was a Medical Writer and Technical Supervisor for Bausch & Lomb, in Rochester. He teaches courses in Technical Writing, Writing the Technical Manual, Professional Writing, Written Argument, and Ethics in Technical Communication; and he has served as a writing instruction consultant to RIT’s Executive MBA program since 1993. 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. He also regularly conducts writing workshops for corporations. Scanlon has a B.A. in English Education from the State University of New York at Albany, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English from the University of Rochester.

  • Plagiarism
  • Internet
  • Academic Honesty

(60 min. Workshop, English)