Plagiarism: From High School to the Halls of Congress

Friday, July 25, 2014

U.S. Senator John Walsh (R) meets with Staff Sgt. Luke Dryden from Plains, MT. (Senator Walsh/Facebook)

The advent of the internet has had a profound impact on the rate of student plagiarism. From high school to graduate school and beyond, the impulse to copy and paste a sentence here and a paragraph there has only grown over the last few decades. This week, Takeaway partner The New York Times discovered that even senators aren't immune.

The Times found that Senator John Walsh, a Democrat from Montana and a decorated Iraq War veteran, plagiarized a significant portion of his master's thesis—a paper required to receive his advanced degree from the United States Army War College, in 2007. The college is now conducting a full investigation. 

Louis Bloomfield, a professor of physics at the University of Virginia, had to conduct a plagiarism investigation of his own, back in 2001. He uncovered an extensive network of cheating and plagiarism in his lecture class by students under UVA's well-known honor code.

Bloomfield describes how the advent of the internet and plagiarism has changed students' writing, and how he maintains high ethical standards in his classroom.


Louis Bloomfield

Hosted by:

Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

Jillian Weinberger


T.J. Raphael

Comments [1]

tom LI

Of course the Internet has been the most influential catalyst in corroding the American mind and ability to think and of course write. Once IMing took off, then all the texting shortcut acronyms became actual words (LOL being the biggest crime) the "bust" had begun, and its not stopped since.

I get the weirdest looks every time someone, especially younger people, sees me writing in my notebooks. Its like I pulled out a weird ancient artifact - like an abacus - and started manipulating it.

The Internet now provides instant answers - "Google it, if you dont know!" Which is fine, but what is lost is the learning process that will inculcate the knowledge base, so you not only have a single answer, but you have dozens more, because you learned not a single thing, but many more. Which allows a person to reason and work-out a lot more problems then finding a fact, and acting like an expert on it.

Then the problem of people seeking online mostly agreement to their already established opinions, and of course prejudices - the end results will be more people purposely cleaving off into small "special interest" groups that tend to promulgate false beliefs. Based on a narrowly gathered set of "factoids".

Jul. 25 2014 03:39 PM

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