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Learning and the E-Generation by Lee Farrington-Flint, Jean D. M. Underwood

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Chapter Nine Misbehaviour or Merely Misunderstanding?

Introduction

Many see the rise in new digital technologies as a catalyst for change, one that provides new and innovative ways for enhancing learning and online collaboration, with the Internet providing access to an unprecedented amount of information across a variety of sources. However, there are growing concerns that a reliance on technology and the easy access to information may lead to the misappropriation of material and the promotion of academic malpractice, especially among undergraduate university students (Underwood & Szabo, 2004). Undoubtedly, technologically-rich environments promoting a wealth of information can help students to copy, share and paste material without any consideration towards academic integrity and originality of their own work. There is no doubt technology makes plagiarism easier but it also facilitates other malpractices as in the case of mobile phone support in the examination hall (Umarji, 2005). Indeed there are now websites giving helpful instructions on how to commit such a felony and advice on how to beat the system to achieve better grades in assessments.

Exploiting the Internet and online resources to plagiarize or to gain access to materials, whether these are off-the-shelf essays or simply bespoke products, presents only a partial picture (for a fuller review see Underwood, 2006). Technology also provides tools to detect malpractice of course: If plagiarism is easier to commit ...

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