Today’s college students, thanks to technology, have many advantages that former generations of students never could have dreamed of. In days gone by students in need of research spent many in hours in the library pouring over books and watching old film reels to gather information for academic papers and projects. In 2014 things are very different, now students have the World Wide Web and instant access to more information than any library could ever hold. However, this endless well of information has led to, not a new problem, but a rapidly growing one with today’s college student—academic dishonesty. When it comes to academic honesty it seems that the lines have blurred and many scholars seem even view it as a gray area.
To understand why academic dishonesty is such a prevalent problem we must first understand that there are two types of students who plagiarize and cheat on assignments. The first group is what you would expect, ...view middle of the document...
Students have become used to seeing this and it seems to them that it is not important to give the original author credit because they believe that if it’s on the internet it free for anyone to claim. Another factor in the commonality of academic dishonesty is a lack of enforcement by teachers. Often there is little repercussion on a student who cheats on a test or paper; sometimes they will make a zero on the assignment but little else is done. And this instructor apathy only exacerbates the issue.
What can be done to modify this situation of rampant scholastic dishonesty? First, there must be a change in how academic dishonesty is taught; this will correct the behavior of those accidental cheaters. Educators need to stop assuming that students understand what plagiarism is and start teaching them how to correctly cite their sources. This education should really begin long before college and should be developed throughout junior high and high school. Of course a lesson in how to properly reference a source is not enough on its own, young students need to be instructed in ethical courage and integrity so understand why dishonesty is wrong. Secondly, there needs to be clear consequences when a student steps over the line into scholastic dishonesty and these consequences need to be firmly enforced. Some teachers shy away from disciplinary measures but to curb this problem students need to know that academic dishonesty is not alright and will dealt with appropriately.
In conclusion, in our rapidly changing world of technology and instant information it is easy for students to cross the line into academic dishonesty by cheating or plagiarizing with information from the internet. For some students this lapse is accidental, while for others it is how they choose to get through college. Either way it is an unacceptable practice that requires disciplinary measures from the educators and instruction on academic dishonesty so students can avoid it in their work. Students need to be taught that right is always right and wrong is wrong, no matter what.