A blended learning approach to developing students’ understanding in academic honesty

Steve Clark, Mark Freeman

Abstract


McCabe (2003) maintains cheating has been prevalent for years with contributing factors ranging from laziness to ignorance – and not just on the part of students. However, there is an emerging trend that it is worsening particularly with business students and in later years of study. The Internet and the increasing diversity of educational and cultural backgrounds of students have been singled out as possible reasons. Software is a possible solution for making plagiarism detection simpler and commercial providers, including Turnitin.com, have become major university stakeholders. However, building blocks for standard learning management systems (e.g., Blackboard) have more recently become available (e.g., SafeAssignment.com).

Rather than detection after the event, we propose a strategy that uses plagiarism detection software primarily as an educational tool. We posit that this approach will develop students’ understanding of academic honesty, promote honest academic practices, support the development of students as ethical professionals (a common generic graduate attribute) and promote the pursuit of life long learning. In this paper we present the results on students’ attitudes to this process and their feedback on the educational benefits of using the detection software in this way.

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