If assignments are given at short notice and with a time limit, plagiarism is inevitable, say students

Is it possible to live in the information age and not practice plagiarism? There is a lot of debate on eliminating the old theoretical structure of education and revamping it with a practical and project-based, internal assessment system of evaluation. But in this process, are students gaining or losing? How seriously are their assignments taken in terms of their own contribution and originality in the work?

All the students The Hindu EducationPlus spoke to, even while giving their reasons, admitted that they have practised plagiarism at some point or the other, to a greater or lesser extent. Here are their takes.

Prabjoth Saini, first year, MS in Communication, Garden City College, Bangalore

We use Internet content to ease the load of timely submissions. Teachers are more concerned with timely submission of work for quick assessment. It reduces the importance of creative writing and the thinking ability of a student. The topics given demand help from the Internet and leaves no other option but to copy the content due to lack of comprehension and scope for making changes. I have practised plagiarism in my work as the topics demand answers which cannot be made up. Also, assignments are given at short notice and with a time limit; it leaves no other option. In my opinion, plagiarism is not a compulsion; it is a choice made by the writer who may or may not practise it in his/her work. It must definitely be discouraged at the primary level in schools and colleges. The assignments given should be more practical and have scope for application of thought.

Ruchira Kondepudi, final year, B.A (Journalism, Psychology, English Studies), Christ University, Bangalore

We are dependent on the Internet for our work. We often do not have the time to look for books in the library. Our teachers have no issues with it provided the sources are reliable and the facts are correct. A few assignments are put through a software that checks for plagiarism. This practice of lifting material off the Internet makes us impatient. Initially, I didn’t understand the importance of mentioning sources, but now I think it is extremely important.

Preeti Ravi, final year, M.Sc Mass Communication, St. Joseph College, Bangalore

We first look up for information on the Net. Our teachers do warn us about the consequences of having plagiarised content. I feel students should be explained about plagiarism as it hinders one’s thinking. It also makes one lazy and lethargic as everything is easily available. Now I make a constant effort to write my own work and if I take contents from the Internet, I give credit to the sources.

Shilpa Johar, final year, B.A (Psychology, Literature, Journalism), Mount Carmel College, Bangalore

I believe technology must be utilised to the fullest as far as it is for reference purpose. But students just copy and paste most of the content from various reference sites just to get the assignment over with.

0Sometimes we don’t find the assignment interesting or maybe we procrastinated too much and were only an hour away from the deadline. We do get away with it by editing it smartly. I have practised it purely out of lack of interest. The teacher has over 60 assignments to correct and I doubt she has the time to sit and verify every source. It’s the quality of the finally compiled document that matters. Though it is unethical for students to use someone else’s work as their own, with respect to college assignments, I don’t think anyone could really care any less, be it student or teacher.

Abhishek Patil, final year, M.Tech (Machine Designing), B.L.D. Engineering College, Bijapur

Sometimes we show Internet content as our work. Our faculty ignore it. It is affecting the quality of education in terms of coming up with original ideas. As a result of it, students don’t learn anything or improve. They are habituated to plagiarism. They will put efforts to plagiarise but not to come up with their own ideas.