Universities are reviewing their plagiarism policies to clamp down on students who use Facebook to cheat. Plagiarism experts have warned universities and colleges to be aware of students copying from each other when discussing coursework on social networking sites.
Gill Rowell, from the consultancy Plagiarism Advice, said universities needed to rework their plagiarism policies with “internet working in mind” but insisted institutions were taking cheating seriously enough.
The warning comes after almost one in two Cambridge University students in a poll of 1,000 admitted to cheating in their studies.
Student newspaper, Varsity, found 49% of undergraduates who anonymously took part in their poll confessed to passing off other people’s work as their own.
Law students were the most likely to plagiarise, with 62% saying they had broken university rules. Some 82% of those who admitted to plagiarising said they had taken sentences from online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Just 5% of the students admitted they had been caught.
“It is a depressing set of statistics,” Robert Foley, a professor in Biological Anthropology at King’s College, Cambridge, said.
University plagiarism experts will discuss cheating with Universities UK, the umbrella group for vice-chancellors, on November 19.