CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Academic Integrity in the Internet Age

Date of Award

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Timothy Ellis

Abstract

The problem addressed in this dissertation was the availability of resources easily cut and pasted from the Internet had facilitated widespread plagiarism in the submission of academic documents. The research project created a reusable, computer-based application that supported instructors as they taught college students to write ethically. A custom learning experience, based on a CD-ROM, was developed to explain the importance of academic integrity in the use of print and electronic resources and allowed students to test their knowledge about proper source attribution. The learners were first year college students in core courses. Multiple instructors administered the treatment during regular class time.

Two versions of the product were developed; one version included student files while the other version for instructors included student files and additional plagiarism education resources. Participating instructors taught two sections of the same core courses; a random selection process was used to determine control and experimental groups. Students in the experimental groups used the CD-ROM to access files and online tutorials and participate in follow up class discussions. Students in control groups did not use treatment materials. Identical pretests and posttests were administered to students in both groups, and results were analyzed to determine if the treatment affected their views about plagiarism. Students' papers were tested for plagiarism with Internet search engines and plagiarism detection software. Instructors rated the treatment through use of a post treatment survey instrument.

The CD-ROM product contained readings and links to online tutorials and was structured according to recognized development and delivery models. Students in the experimental group regarded some activities as more serious forms of plagiarism compared to students in the control group, but results were not statistically significant. An analysis of student work for plagiarism revealed that many students from both groups had problems attributing sources properly. Through the post-treatment survey, instructors indicated the treatment was an effective plagiarism education tool and they recommended its further use.

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