Almost 90 schools and 130 colleges are increasing the number of plagiarism-detecting computer software, such as Turnitin, to prevent students from copying and pasting their works from the Internet. However, Barry Calvert from nLearning which provides the software to schools and universities believes that it is necessary to teach children as early as year 7 how to reference sources correctly and create essay papers on their own rather than taking pieces of information from the Internet and claim it as their own. At a three-day international conference into plagiarism at Northumbria University which is organized by the nLearning-funded Plagiarism Advice Service, experts from different countries will discuss various ways on how to catch cheaters so that students would not submit academic papers ordered form the Internet.
According to the economics lecturer at Manchester University, who made a survey at three universities, students are willing to pay more than £300 for a quality essay, £217 for a good piece of work and £164 for a poor paper. Moreover, he found out that 45% of students had cheated during exams, essay, report or test in the past year. Ofqual, the exams regulator, revealed that pupils and students received more than 4,400 penalties for using mobile phones and MP3 players in their GCSEs and A-levels in 2009. This percentage has risen up to 6% this year.
Calvert says that although many universities in the UK use Turnitin, schools should teach and develop students’ referencing skills so that when they enter the universities they already know all the requirements. He considers that students should understand that the works found in the Internet are also somebody’s work and they should value it and not just cut and paste, they should use it as a source of getting information and not a piece of work. Calvert also believes that the Internet has positive effects on the process of teaching and learning.
At the conference experts from all over the world will examine the issue of reducing the possibilities of cheating if students use packages of images and voiceovers. Although students find this "digitial storytelling" hard, they learn how to make the information they get from the Internet useful for their personal presentation, says Phil Davies, senior lecturer at Glamorgan university's computing school.