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The Use of Technology to Combat Plagiarism in Business Communication Class.

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An article review of Robert H. Stowers and Julie Y. Hummel (2011). The use of Technology to combat plagiarism in Business Communication classes. Business Communication quarterly, 74(2) 164-169.

  Robert H. Stowers is a clinical professor of management and leadership communications at the Mason School of Business of The College of William and Mary. Julie Y. Hummel is a MBA programs administrator at The College of William and Mary. The article entitled “The Use of Technology to Combat Plagiarism in Business Communication Classes,” by Robert H. Stowers and Julie Y. Hummel; attempts to inform the reader about plagiarism on a whole but microscopically about its presence in Business Communication classes. They start out by giving credence to what the act of Plagiarism is and highlight the fact that this act may be committed out of sheer ignorance or by intention.

Technology is the main argument posited for plagiarism. They blame the internet for being an open platform where other people’s work can be exploited. In this regard, they exemplifies Business Communication students as using the internet to cut and paste entire papers for submission to professors because of the subject’s high writing intensity. They places grave concern on this matter and cite a solution as being necessary.

They briefly speak to the dilemma faced by classroom professionals in lieu of plagiarism. The process alluded to when one commits the act, seems to be so laborious on the part of the educator that they more times than often decide to overlook the offence. In essence the act goes unnoticed because the educator’s job is not impacted.

In exploring solutions, they ironically cite technology as being the gatekeeper for college professionals when turning in an assignment. Development of software programs such as Turnitin and SafeAssign, have curtailed the high number of incidences where plagiarized reports have been submitted.

There seems to be an item of conscience on the part of the educator also when plagiarism is identified. He cites the text Whicker and Kronenfeld’s (1994), Dealing with Ethical Dilemmas on Campus when he speaks of intention. It is taken into consideration whether or not the student plagiarized with intent or was just careless or ignorant to the fact of citing references.

An interesting fact observed is the differences in practice between the Eastern and Western Hemisphere. It is a perceived honour in the Eastern Hemisphere that one’s work will be copied, while in the Western Hemisphere, there exists a highly litigious society for persons copying and using another’s work without permission or making reference to them. Students from Asia are highlighted as recurring cases of plagiarists and are almost experiencing a culture shock in being made aware that plagiarism is unacceptable.

This is a cause for concern as it could impact the intake of students coming from the Eastern Hemisphere. Prospective students in submitting essays along with their application for approval to degree programs in American colleges are being turned away for plagiarized essays. To further compound the problem, the writing of papers is becoming a more cumbersome task for persons who speak English as a second language. If continued there could be a considerable situation for cultural diversity in these colleges.



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