DCU records a significant decrease in plagiarism

Aine O'Boyle

The number of students recorded committing plagiarism has fallen dramatically.

Only one incident of plagiarism came before the Student Disciplinary Committee in 2019 according to a Freedom of Information request made by The College View.

In 2018, seven cases of plagiarism were brought before the Student Disciplinary Committee, highlighting a significant decrease in cases in the first half of 2019.

The data obtained through the Freedom of Information request examines cases of plagiarism up to April 2, 2019.

According to the DCU Academic Integrity and Plagiarism Policy: “Plagiarism is the act of taking and using another person’s work and presenting it as your own without adequate reference.”

“Most plagiarism is down to bad referencing and poor academic writing rather than malicious cheating,” said Dr Mark Glynn, Head of the Teaching Enhancement Unit (TEU) in DCU.

According to DCU Students’ Union Vice President for Academic Affairs, Callaghan Commons: “the Students’ Union has not currently introduced any new initiatives to reduce cases of plagiarism in DCU.”

“This is something I am mindful of and may potentially work with our colleagues in the Teaching Enhancement Unit to see if there is anything we can do about this issue in the future,” he added.

Commons noted that the libraries on both the Glasnevin and St Patrick’s campuses offer a wide range of supports to students when it comes to citing and referencing academic work.

“Knowing how to reference properly is half the battle when it comes to issues with plagiarism so it is important that we make the students aware of these supports that are there for them,” said Commons.

DCU TEU has used a software development tool to educate students on plagiarism by allowing them to submit draft assignments on Loop in advance of a deadline.

This software allows the student to obtain a similarity report from the text matching software, that allows them to flag areas where plagiarism may have occurred.

“We have used the software tool as an educative way rather than a punitive way to help educate students about plagiarism,” said Glynn.

The Freedom of Information request also found that five incidents of Exam Regulations Breaches were brought before the Student Disciplinary Committee in 2019.

2018 saw nearly twice the amount of cases of Exam Regulation Breaches brought before the committee than 2017, with a total of nine cases.

According to the DCU Examination Regulation 2016-2017, it is the responsibility of each student to ensure that they are familiar with all of the relevant examination requirements.

Aine O’Boyle

Image Credit: Sonja Tutty