Introduction: How does digital culture affect and/or reimagine the concept of plagiarism?

It is no question that claiming another’s work as one’s own also takes place outside of learning environments. Cheating assumes many forms, but in academic circles discussions of cheating focus on plagiarism. Plagiarism in one form or another has always been a problem within the academy, but technology and new teaching environments have changed both the ways that cheating is done and caught as well as how we think about plagiarism. New learning environments, like MOOCs, also change the discussion. What does it mean to plagiarize on an assignment where the student receives no course credit? Also, what are experimental studies finding out about undergraduate, masters, and professional academic perspectives on plagiarism? What is the difference between paraphrasing and patchworking? What does it mean if classes demand that students turn in individual work, but many workplaces and digital encouraging borrowing, sharing, and collaboration? Are citation methods keeping up with technology and operating in a way students and scholars understand? What does plagiarism look like across the disciplines of the humanities?

For the month of March, the Front Page Survey will take a look at plagiarism in the academy, how we are identifying it, teaching students about it, and taking into account digital cultures. The question we have asked our contributors to respond to is: How does digital culture affect and/or reimagine the concept of plagiarism?

Our survey will run from March 10th through March 28th and include new contributions as well as former content from MediaCommons. We hope you join us in a discussing a topic we all face in the classroom.


Below is a list of the scholars who will be helping us in surveying the topic of plagiarism.

Ileana Rotaru, University of Resita, Romania 

Gary Moorman, Appalachian State University

Carla Meyer, Appalachian State University

Robert Youmans, George Mason University

Jeff Karon, independent scholar

Wendy Sutherland-Smith, Deakon University

Chvonne Parker, Old Dominion University

Megan McKittrick, Old Dominion University

Rebecca Moore Howard, Purdue University

Sarah McGinley, Wright State University

Robert W. McEachern, Southern Connecticut University


Image by Will Lion and available on Flickr. 

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