Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Plagiarism article

The Washington Post has an interesting article on the spread of plagiarism due to the proliferation of the internet. /. chimes in here.

Personally, I think this could become a disturbing trend in academia. I mean, if we're going to move away from using term papers as grading tools, does that mean standardized testing is going to become the new norm? I hope not - critical thinking is one of the best resources a democracy / capitalist society can have, and we probably should maintain our competitive edge there, right? I mean, look at China - they're going to have to undergo a massive educational overhaul in the coming years, moving away from their intense test-based regimen.

It's obvious that something needs to give. There's more information than ever out there, and this creates more opportunities to cheat. But it also means access to knowledge that was unthinkable just 15 years ago. You can punish people for stealing (a moral issue), and you can punish for citing from bad sources (an educational issue).

If you want to stay ahead of the curve, schools are going to shift towards compulsory internet education, for both students and teachers. And you're right, schools have ZERO motivation to do this, especially thanks to every educator's favorite unfunded mandate. But looking up facts, finding legit sources, doing comparative analysis, decision-making - these are all highly valued and important skills to have in the modern workplace. We need to teach and reward critical thinking and research skills. Either you integrate the greatest information resource the planet has ever seen, or resign yourself to intellectual mediocrity and outmoded industry protectionism.


1 comment:

carson said...

But this new logo for that mandate makes it so much more effective,