Whether it is through software or fiber optic cables, technology allows humans to do great things. But the development of technology is also dangerous because it permits academic dishonesty.
The possibility of innovative cheating methods sets an eerie tone for plagiarism-wary students about to embark on professional careers. With a higher awareness of the possibilities of plagiarism, college students would not only be honest and diligent consumers of knowledge, but also well-prepared protectors of their own creations.
With precautions and disciplinary measures
are in place at most colleges, it would be expected that plagiarism is a game of cat and mouse between professor and student. At Temple, plagiarism detection databases like Turnitin allow educators to check students’ papers against a multitude of sources.
Temple’s no-tolerance policy on plagiarism
does its part to deter cheating, insisting that any student caught will be expelled.
Professors outline their ways of dealing with plagiarism in their syllabi. Some, like Arielle Emmett of the journalism department, make it quite clear from Day 1 that plagiarism is absolutely out of the question. The first sentence on plagiarism in the syllabus for her magazine article editing class reads, “I’m an editor and I can spot a fake or plagiarized passage
in a minute. Don’t chance it.”
No matter how a professor or a policy handles the issue, they primarily deal with papers being ripped off the Internet. This is a problem because many professors aren’t as susceptible to digital artwork or film ripoffs. They often neglect to check up on students’ work in other media forms.
Another problem with the way universities
deal with plagiarism is that students are always assumed to be the perpetrators. Musicians and artists fail to learn how to ensure the originality of their work because colleges do not address the issue. Writers are concerned by plagiarism, but violinists are not. With a burgeoning technological world, everyone needs to be more aware.
A perfect example of contemporary plagiarism is the case of Joyce Hatto. “New York Times” reporter Alan Riding featured the pianist, who died last June at the age of 77. She had battled cancer since the 1970s, preventing her from becoming a well-known concert pianist.
Instead, she recorded a number of critically acclaimed piano albums.
Then, a strange event happened. Someone
slipped Hatto’s CD into iTunes and instead of her name and album being displayed by the program, the name Lazlo Simon appeared. This spurred fans, critics and scientists alike to investigate the situation.
When Hatto’s recording of Liszt’s 12 “Transcendental Etudes,” were compared to Simon’s, 10 of the etudes were recorded to have identical sound waves.
Without any absolute proof of stealing, it is hard to discredit Hatto. But the cards are laid out on the table now. With current music technology and sound manipulation capabilities, the legitimacy of contemporary musicians comes into question.
In fact, other software, like Adobe Photoshop, allow photos to be stolen. Slightly cropped or manipulated, these photos can be passed off as “genuine” works. It is not only musicians who should be concerned.
We are not in Kansas anymore when it comes to plagiarism. Overall, there might not be a resolution to the issue of plagiarism in the wake of technological advancement. If universities elaborate their plagiarism education, students may become advocates of a more honest arena, not only in print, but in all mediums.
Erin Bernard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.