The Internet and Education - Elementary And Secondary Schools, Colleges And Universities, Distance Learning, Cheating
students access online life
Knowing how to use an Internet browser has become as important a skill in modern life as knowing multiplication tables. Internet illiteracy restricts a person's access to job listings, e-mail communication, online information sources, and dozens of convenient, efficient tools that make work and life easier. Aware of this, high schools and colleges in the late 1990s increased efforts to expose students to the Internet before graduation. Most secondary and elementary schools installed computers with Internet access in classrooms and libraries. College administrations provided widespread broadband access to students on campus, and many professors began requiring the use of the Internet in college courses.
Due in part to these actions, high school students and college students were among the most Internet-savvy Americans at the turn of the century. According to Steve Jones in The Internet Goes to College (Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project, September 15, 2002), nearly 86% of the 14.5 million college students in 2002 had been online. A similar report released in 2001 by Pew/Internet reported that 73% of young people aged twelve through seventeen had gone online. The percentage of Internet users in both demographics were well above the overall percentage of adult Americans who had been online at the time.
Providing students with access to the Internet, however, has not been without problems. Not only did the Inter-net provide a great deal of distraction for many young people, but it also opened up an avenue for plagiarism. Largely because of the Internet, academic cheating and plagiarism skyrocketed around the turn of the millennium. Students appeared to have no qualms about copying text from the Internet and pasting it verbatim into reports and papers. A 2003 study conducted by Donald McCabe of Rutgers University in conjunction with the Center for Academic Integrity at Duke University revealed that 38% of students had used the cut-and-paste technique, and 44% regarded the practice as "trivial or not cheating at all."