The mind of a plagiarist
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The ease with which material may be "copied and pasted" from the Internet into written work is raising concern in educational institutions, and particularly in those disciplines that use online courses and methods in their curriculum. A case of "serial plagiarism" is discussed, in the work of a graduate student in an online distance education program. The complexity of the student's thinking is emphasized, and the manner in which the case was handled by the teacher and the university. The use of an online plagiarism-checking technology (Turnitin.com) and the value of such services are discussed. The case illustrates the importance of explaining the precise nature of plagiarism to students, of providing clear warnings about its consequences and of developing a careful institutional approach to plagiarisn detection and prevention.