ACADEMICS from around the world have descended on the North East this week to tackle the rising problem of cheating students.
The fifth International Plagiarism Conference is being held at The Sage in Gateshead and has attracted researchers and lecturers from the USA to Australia.
The academics have gathered for the three-day event, which ends today, to discuss ways to tackle student plagiarism, an issue that has become more significant in recent years due to people’s reliance on the internet.
One of the guest speakers yesterday, Dr Patricia Dooey from Curtin University in Australia, said plagiarism was particularly a problem for international students.
She said: “A lot of our international students come from China. They may have poor language skills and don’t know how to express themselves properly.
“There is also a lot of assumed knowledge. Some international students may come to us after already studying for their course back home for a year and it is assumed they have received information about plagiarism, but that might not be the case.
“We need to make sure students receive the right support, because we don’t want them to be terminated from their degree for making an unintentional error.”
Fellow guest speaker Lucy Cave, who works at Aston University in Birmingham and is conducting her Phd research on the issue, suggested students’ understanding of plagiarism varied greatly depending on their course.
“For text-based subjects, such as social sciences, the students seemed to be very aware of the issue and wanted to learn more about it,” said Ms Cave.
“However, for courses such as mathematics, computer science or engineering, the students and lecturers didn’t think there was a problem, when this clearly wasn’t the case.”
Dr Lisa Powell, from the University of Adelaide, claimed there were some undergraduate students who simply don’t know what plagiarism is and do not realise it was “considered to be undesirable” by their institutions.