PlagScan took part in the successful paste© conference of the Media and Theatre Institute at the University of Cologne on April 21. The dynamic ten men team of students wanted to make their fellow students aware of what it means to copy and paste in our digital world. They covered the vast topic in more than one aspect: from the apology of copying to ghostwriting, through the copy practices in the fashion industry. Presented by university scholars, journalists as well as a businessman like Markus Goldbach CEO of PlagScan, every opportunity was taken to broaden the subject and fuel the debate. We contributed to this discussion by demonstrating why plagiarism software is fair.
Interview with the organizational team of the conference paste©
I was wondering about the origin of the project and Johanna and Hannah as organisers kindly told me more about it:
How did you come up with the idea?
Hannah: The topic came from our supervisors, but it was much more about art and especially music. We wanted to expand the topic to include both theoretical and practical point of views. We would like to know more about what companies are doing in this area nowadays.
Johanna: It was important for us to address the issue of the digital world changing our concepts of copying. We created the program on purpose for more debate. It was about pairing controversial themes such as: copyright law versus the ethics of copying with cultural aspect, ghostwriting versus the fairness of a plagiarism software, likewise.
Opinions on the conference from a teacher perspective
Although I saw mainly students in the audience, teachers were present as well. I asked Armin Broich, teacher at the High School Gerresheim in Düsseldorf how this conference gave him insight on the topic of copying and plagiarism:
How did you like the conference?
Armin: I found the topic of the conference interesting, due to the currentness of the subject. Interviewer: During the Conference PlagScan talked about how plagiarism software is fair.
What did you think about it?
Armin: I find it is not fair towards students who are writing their papers by themselves to be discriminated against because of those who plagiarized. PlagScan as software is a way to check students’ work more easily. It could slacken a lot of workload off teachers. It’s important for school students who are currently doing their A Level or High School diplomas to understand the consequences of the act of plagiarism for their own personal development.
What did students have to say?
Then I wanted to know more about students’ point of view on the event and I met Annette Allerheilen, student at the University of Bonn, and currently writing her Master thesis in cultural anthropology.
What brought you to the conference?
Annette: For my line of studying it was interesting to learn more about the ethical aspect of copying and its cultural background. The part on ghostwriting theory with the example of Donald Trump was emphasizing the influence of the phenomenon of polishing a political image compellingly. Interviewer: How do you define the role of plagiarism software?
Annette: I was surprised to hear that 94%* of plagiarized texts are not detected. Some universities ask their students if they want to be checked for plagiarism or check themselves. Some students do not want to be checked for the fear of the data being retained on the server, which they are mislead. My point of view is the one, plagiarism softwares rightly pressure students in order for them to have a proper look at their paper. Therefore, it rewards students who research and quote correctly, and write by themselves. According to the two interviews, plagiarism software are perceived as fair. In our next BlogPost we will explain the three main reasons why.
*Source: Sattler, Sattler, S., Graeff, P., Willen, S. (2012) “Explaining the Decision to Plagiarize”