Cheating and Plagiarism
Do you remember how you may have cheat-ed in school? Let’s see if I can guess... you wrote the answers on a out-of-view part of your body like your ankle or palm; you put together a “cheat sheet” that you could pull in and out of your sleeve; or maybe you passed notes or looked onto someone else’s work to get the answer you were looking for. Like just about everything else, cheating has also gone high-tech. As a middle school counselor in the 1990’s, I remember my first glimpse of this when kids would bring pagers to school. Others students could page them with numbers corresponding to the test questions and answers. Looking back, that seems archaic now as compared to cheating techniques that take advantage of more capable and sophisticated technologies.
The student uses his or her cellphone to text message the questions from the exam to a friend inside the classroom or outside the testing room. The friend then looks up the answers and sends them back. The student’s phone is in silent mode the entire time. Also, the student can enlist a friend enrolled in an earlier section of the same class to take a picture of the exam using a cellphone. The student has time to transfer that photo onto a computer, enlarge it and have all the answers before taking the test.1
A student must write a paper in a foreign language such as Spanish or French. What should require significant work over several hours is a breeze and can be accomplished in minutes with the help of online language translation services such as Google Language Tools (http://www.google.com/language_tools) or AltaVista Babel Fish Translation (http://babelfish.altavista.com/). The student simply writes the paper in English, pastes it into the translator and then replaces his/her original paper with the results. It may not be perfect although a quick grade of “C” may be better than an earned “A.” Other online tools exist to help in various school subjects. For instance, Google also allows users to solve complex mathematical expressions, conversions, and lookup dictionary definitions to name a few (see http://www.google.com/help/features.html). Another website, Math.com includes a variety of tools to help with equations, graphs, inequalities, calculus and more. Cliffs Notes, guides that present and explain literary and other works in pamphlet form are now available online (and for free!; http://www.cliffsnotes.com/).
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