Screen Test Failures; Computer Science Students Caught by Plagiarism Detector

Daily Mail (London), August 28, 1999 | Go to article overview

Screen Test Failures; Computer Science Students Caught by Plagiarism Detector


Byline: RACHEL BLACKBURN

SEVERAL computer science students have been caught cheating by the very technology they are studying - the second such scandal to involve a Scottish university.

Course marks have been reduced after 59 students at Glasgow University were trapped by a computer software programme designed by one of their own lecturers, Dr Rob Irving.

He activated his Plagiarism Detection Programme after some first-year students complained that copying was going on in the department.

The cheating scandal follows a row at Edinburgh University which accused 117 computer science students of cheating. It has threatened some with expulsion while others face fines or suspension.

In Glasgow, the 59 students - out of 230 - were questioned after their work was matched against that of each of the others.

Of those, 11 received a written warning, 23 had their marks reduced and eight received reprimands as well as having marks reduced. Eleven were exonerated while six are still waiting for their cases to be considered.

Yesterday Professor Malcolm Atkinson, acting head of the computing science department, said he was 'disappointed' cheating had been discovered, but he said he was not entirely surprised.

'Students are under a lot of pressure both in what they have to learn and with financial pressures which mean they are perhaps working in the evenings, so some people will succumb to temptation. …

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