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Where are students getting their plagiarized content?

Campus Technology reported on a study conducted called Plagiarism and the Web: A Comparison of Internet Sources for Secondary and Higher Education Students. The report revealed that Wikipedia was the “top individual source” plagiarized by students in over 33.5 million papers reviewed for the study. Wikipedia showed matching text for 7.99 percent of the plagiarized instances. Yahoo Answers came in second, tagging along behind Wikipedia as the source for 7.55 percent of plagiarized text.

Although Wikipedia came in as the top individual site, encyclopedia sites like Wikipedia weren’t the most plagiarized, as a category. In the study, more than a quarter of the students plagiarized content from “social and content sharing sites” such as Facebook, Yahoo Answers, and SlideShare. Second in popularity were “homework and academic sites” (nih.gov, medialibrary.org, etc.). Third were “cheat sites and paper mills”, sites where students pay for pre-written content. Fourth were online news and media sources. At number five finally came encyclopedia sites like Wikipedia, Britannica Online and Encyclopedia.com.

Academic integrity is extremely important to practice in education–especially here in the digital age. Here are some valuable UW Bothell plagiarism resources:

…and some non-UWB resources as well

Does Wikipedia Suck?

In an article by Inside Higher Ed, the author discusses faculty’s perception of Wikipedia and its use by students’ for research papers. Some professors immediately decry Wikipedia as unreliable due to its open-editing nature and forbid students from using it. The author who is also an instructor tested the theory by assigning students different topics to research on Wikipedia and report on the findings. Contrary to what some people believe, Wikipedia does contain a lot of useful information and it is written in a clear and easy to understand format. However, while the articles were useful, they did not contain the depth of information as would be found in a scholarly paper or publication. As with most general encyclopedias, Wikipedia gives a basic overview of the topic at hand as well as references to more in-depth articles but the information is often not appropriate for in-depth research.
To read the entire article, visit http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/instant_mentor/weir22

A Quick Idea on Using Wikipedia with Students

From the Reconsidering Authority in Wikipedia World article in The Wired Campus, comment 14 by “JQ Johnson.”

One of my favorite exercises in an advanced undergraduate or early graduate course is to assign the students the task of reviewing wikipedia articles relevant to the topic of the seminar, and correct an error, citing appropriate academic (but layman-accessible) sources. This not only improves the quality of the encyclopedia, but it teaches the students about what in their topic area is controversial or misunderstood in the popular literature. And not incidentally it makes the students feel good about their contribution to the advancement of knowledge.

Link: http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/article/3413/reconsidering-authority-in-wikipedia-world

Martha Groom Uses Wikipedia

Just call her Wikipedia wonk: UWB prof in spotlight for guiding students through online editing process
Peter Kelley / University Week

Maybe you’ve read about Martha Groom. An associate professor of Interdisciplinary Arts at UW Bothell, she won some media attention recently for involving her students with Wikipedia, the publicly edited online encyclopedia. Get to know this interesting teacher.

Link: http://uwnews.org/uweek/uweekarticle.asp?articleID=38236

Using Wikipedia to Reenvision the Term Paper
Martha Groom and Andreas Brockhaus

The structure of the traditional term paper can limit its educational value. To make the assignment more meaningful, students published their papers in Wikipedia. This session will examine how publishing for a large online community motivated students to do better work and deal with issues of voice, knowledge, and community.

Link: http://www.educause.edu/node/162770