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Will we stop “copypaste”?


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The word “copypaste” was borrowed by author from our students during consultations on preparations for the defense of coursework, essays, settlement papers. The word is formed from two English word - copy and paste and it means the technology of making the above said by copying texts from the Internet sources and inserting them in your work for developing a particular subject.

What are the causes of this phenomenon? I think there are several of them. Can the student fulfil the entire scope of a given by teachers semester works, except normative course works, diploma, home, calculation works, etc? From the point of view of the lecturer can! And what is a time resource of a student? Let's look at the curriculum. The correlation of classes and self-study is 50:50. In recent years we could see a tendency to increase an independent work. Therefore, each lecturer who faithfully treats to teaching, wants to give to students extra work to increase level of knowledge on his subject. It is clear that the object of the teacher is the most important, and each extra work adds knowledge, skills and abilities to the student. But, usually, the lecturer does not have the information about the workload of the same student from other teachers. Consequently, there is an overload of the student who escapes with the help of materials borrowed from the Internet. Saving time, some students may pass the work without even reading it. A lecturer reads that in the thesis (or monograph) was considered, although it should be an essay or term paper. When you read in 2011 that in this, 2005 year, growth rates were and so on, of course, it improves the mood. And the work should be further corrected.

There is another reason. How exactly does student want to do a given work? Typically, as it is required by the lecturer. Requirements for works are usually written in the guidelines, where, of course, there is a list of recommended topics, the volume of material, terms for defence and so on. But, nevertheless, acceptable level of work is ultimately determined  by lecturer. Students of different years communicate with each other, and often receive information about the demands of the lecturer before being acquainted with him. And then they go through the path of least resistance. Got a task, did copypaste, went to defence with hope: it will blow over. Dear colleagues, let's do it in the wat that it won’t be blown over, and next year will know that copypaste is not appropriate.

About the subject of tasks. Of course, if each year the subject of tasks does not change, and students have their own virtual communities for sharing the works electronically (look at the servers in dormitories), then we have an opportunity to read the same works every year, only increasing our level of repetition of material. And our science and technology sphere at KPI is knowledge-intensive, high-tech, it is a fast-paced ... Author periodically visits various exhibitions and forums, held in Kiev in the exhibition halls of the Nyvky, Livoberezhna and so on… What is the purpose, you may ask? I have the desire to keep up with the progress, I want to see by myself what this world lives with, what are the technologies, what new technique appeared. Especially in the field of radio electronics, because I graduated the radiotechnical faculty.

On these informative exhibitions you have an opportunity to see new products as of domestic industry and foreign manufacturers. And after the impression of world novelties, I form the topics for the essays, term papers, theses, dissertations. Then this course works and diplomas receive prizes in competitions at various levels, since the theme is relevant. It's nice for the students! It is also nice for those lecturers and students I meet on such exhibitions. Thank you, associates. Glad to see you there.

Unfortunately, someone gets used to copypaste already at the school, where are also essays. I teach my son-pupil not to take already written texts for essays and properly work with a variety of materials and to write them in the essay with his own interpretation. Of course, we, parents, are always busy. But personally I think that those minutes we save for the younger generation result (or may result) in the loss of hours, days in their adult lives. We still have time.

Let me give you some other arguments. As a reviewer of scientific papers of conferences I observe the following. For admission to master courses students to improve the rating have to post several works (theses of the reports and articles). Some students don’t care about the quality of the materials if the topic is suitable, they can even take a part of someone else’s text and to pass it as their own. Shame! For about five years I am engaged at plagiarism, maybe this process led me to pour out my thoughts in our newspaper. And it all started with the fact that as to scientific advisor of the thesis, students started to bring me for the preparation of  articles or theses borrowed materials. What is more, they offered to be published in collaboration...

Even in this (2011) I faced a case when from the 28 peer-reviewed papers of students and graduate students from Ukraine 12 was with plagiarism, moreover all 12 – from KPI. It's a shame for our students. Of course, I gave them a chance to improve, to provide new theses to conference written by themselves (or with scientific director). But only 2 students did it. Others either did not want to, or have decided that they can not do this. One postgraduate, probably the smartest, sent the thesis to the other sections, where they were taken ... Unfortunately, I noticed it, already looking through the printed book. At the beginning of my fight against plagiarism the situation was even worse, with 14 submitted theses, 12 were suspected in plagiarism.

And this year I finally started to check on borrowing the thesis works of our students. Of course, to the theoretical part, which has relevant references to the literature, I had no complaints, and to the introduction, research and advisory sections and conclusions I had some. I think that it is impossible for two people, on the basis of one section of the text (in this case the author’s and borrowed) have written exactly the same conclusions, including commas and periods, and even the whole paragraphs. It is impossible, I think. There is already a notorious information among students is that it didn’t work. Perhaps there will be less plagiarism. Students will learn how to build sentences for scientific papers, write down their own opinions. Of course, it is not so easy for the scientific director of the diploma work, who is not as good in all the Internet-technologies as modern students, to find borrowings without links. That’s why our department entered, except normcontrol, the control on borrowings from the Internet. It works! We can see results!

This work is difficult. There are offended ones, who have no time to change, at least somewhere change the words in the sentence so as existing software did not notice plagiarism. Or Is there another thing that some students do not know how to do? Haven’t learnt how to write works and retelling? Let us help you! Lets eradicate this phenomenon together. Lets raise the level of graduates and future professionals, managers, government officials not with quantity, but with quality. Perhaps, as in Russian Federation, where students are expelled for plagiarism so as others didn’t want to copypaste. And in Germany there is one minister less ... As an example, I explain to students that their future may be associated with high-level positions, and others, on request or on its own initiative, will look for compromising material on them. I they’ll find it inin theses reports or articles. What will happen to career?

Of course, the following actions will not change situation absolutely. We have to start with ourselves. Form the unique themes of works, for example, Export with the countries of South-East Asian of high technology products sphere of price range from 100 to $ 200, from 1995 to 1997. And then for counselling comes the student and says to the lecturer that there is no such topic online ... Ff course there is not. We have to work, to find and process the material. Perhaps the student will enjoy scientific study on the proposed topic. But you can limit the amount of abstract to 2-3 pages, where should be only specifics, calculations, tables, graphs ...

Finally. I propose to create a system that will save us from the shameful phenomenon not with revolutionary, but with evolutionary way. Of course, the development of the Internet as an information base will continue. Quick access to libraries, directories allows students to gain knowledge. We should evolve along with the student, take the student with his information and communications capabilities such as he is. You must use Internet search tools for the common goal of training highly qualified specialists, to adapt the tasks to these opportunities, considering needs of society.

S.V.Voytko, docent of the Department of International Economics, Cand. Of Economic Sciences Editorial. Considering the importance of the problem, we propose readers to speak out on the issues raised in the article, in particular, to talk about their methods of dealing with copypaste.
Translator: Недотопа Ірина ЛА-12

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