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What do master level students in computer science think about plagiarism?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology. (Uppsala Computing Education Research Group, UpCERG)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology. (UpCERG)
2012 (English)In: Proc. NU 2012: Gränslöst lärande, Göteborg, Sweden: Chalmers University of Technology , 2012, 49-49 p.Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Plagiarism is a serious problem (Blum, 2009). Maybe in computer science, the problem of plagiarism is aggravated by the easy availability of programming assignments on the web (Marshall & Garry, 2005). The issue is complex not only for students, but provokes many and long discussions when academics meet in professional contexts (Sheard & Dick, 2011). This paper reports the analyses of data about plagiarism that was gathered from master level students in computing at Uppsala University (2007 – 2011). We have identified how students perceive plagiarism, how they choose to respond when faced by a scenario involving plagiarism, and what drives them to take a particular stance or adopt an action. The data-driven analyses show complex understandings of plagiarism among the students, ranging from seeing plagiarism as a pure definition, decontextualized and uni-dimensional, to understanding plagiarism as an ethical and societal issue, where an individual student needs to take his or her own stand. The students were also given a scenario, where they were asked if, and to what degree and why, they would help a friend in trouble with an individual lab assignment. The students answered were categorised in a five-step scale from “no” to “yes”. The vast majority of the students were willing to help, to different degrees. The reasons for doing so varied, but could broadly be categorised into two groups: a) arguments directed towards the self (for example: the student expected reciprocal help; personal ethics) and b) arguments directed towards others (for example, helping a friends to learn; empathy; or respect for university regulations). From these results a complex picture evolves, which is directly applicable in our teaching. Students understand plagiarism in different ways and attitudes to plagiarism vary over individuals, cultures, contexts and specific situations. Generally the students are aware of the immorality of cheating, but they are torn between different interests and base their decisions on values brought from other cultures, which are not necessarily applicable in a Swedish university. Our conclusion is that attempts to decrease plagiarism based solely on detection and severe punishment are not expected to help the situation. Instead, we argue that universities should teach about plagiarism and academic honesty, and by taking the students own values as the point of departure

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg, Sweden: Chalmers University of Technology , 2012. 49-49 p.
National Category
Computer Science Educational Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-184613OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-184613DiVA: diva2:566877
NU 2012
Available from: 2012-10-19 Created: 2012-11-09 Last updated: 2016-04-30

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Berglund, AndersThota, Neena
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