Aussie student site denies promoting plagarism

Australian-based youth portal Setforstudy.com - which posts student exams over the Web - has hit back at criticism by academics that it's promoting plagiarism.

Australian-based youth portal Setforstudy.com - which posts student exams over the Web - has hit back at criticism by academics that it's promoting plagiarism.

SYDNEY (ZDNet Australia)--The Web site purchases educational material from tertiary students, which it publishes on the site as a reference tool.

Controversy surrounding Internet plagiarism has gathered steam among university academics since the site was launched in March this year.

Academics claim the publishing of student essays, study notes, examination questions and book summaries encourages cheating amongst students.

Setforstudy however, says it acts like a virtual study group, encouraging the sharing of study resources, opinions and ideas between students worldwide.

"The fact that the site material is so widely available, and in such a public forum, makes it the worst possible option for students who opt for plagiarism ahead of honest study and reference gathering," Setforstudy Director David Weinberg said.

"Setforstudy warns students on the dangers of cheating. We are a study aid, not a substitute for study," Weinberg said.

"A student would have to be pretty foolish if they did download an essay off the Internet. If a lecturer thought it looked familiar, they could go straight to the Web site and check," he said.

The portal says it is developing new technology which will enable its search engine to pick up whole documents, sentences and phrases which have been plagiarised from the site.

The tool to check material against student submissions will be available on the site later this year.

"It makes it a lot easier to detect, in the past they haven't been able to combat plagiarism through the use of books. Cheating has been going on forever, and has been really hard to track. This is all out in the open."

The site is proving to be very popular amongst university students, with one million visitors since its launch two months ago.

Academic and Australian author, Dr Magnus Clarke, has defended Setforstudy, saying for years lecturers have been setting the same exam questions and essays.

"This will simply force them to set more original assessments," he said.

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