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Reports of academic misconduct increased at University of Oklahoma last year, fell at Oklahoma State University

According to the University of Oklahoma, there were 380 reports of academic misconduct during the 2011-12 school year, nearly 100 more than the previous year.
by Andrew Knittle Published: February 25, 2013
/articleid/3758440/1/pictures/1961231">Photo - Students study in the Michael Price Business College Building at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman Archives
Students study in the Michael Price Business College Building at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman Archives

During the 1998-99 school year, when the Internet was still in its early stages, there were only 74 reports of academic misconduct.

OSU reports decline

The 201 reports of cheating and other academic misconduct last year at Oklahoma State University was the lowest total in the past four years. The year before, during the 2010-11 school year, OSU fielded 281 reports of academic misconduct.

According to OSU records, reports of cheating or other academic misconduct have stayed between 185 and 285 for the past six years.

OSU officials say they aggressively address cheating on campus. The hope, they say, is to make professors more likely to detect and report such behavior and students more likely to avoid it.

Amanda Droste, in her first year as coordinator of OSU's academic integrity panel, said that technology, while important on campus, continues to be used by students to cheat on tests, research papers and other class assignments.

Plagiarism, or trying to pass off someone else's work as your own, remains the most common type of case, “by far,” to make its way before OSU's academic integrity panel.

“Plagiarism is a direct result of the technology available to students,” Droste said. “Using resources online, paper mills, things like that.”

Both OU and OSU use websites like Turnitin, a website-based company that scans research papers to safeguard against plagiarism, the largest form of cheating at both schools.

As for students being allowed to formally report cheating or other academic misconduct to university officials, OSU uses a slightly different approach than OU.

“Usually, that student is going to report first to the faculty member,” she said. “We want the faculty member to be able to substantiate those claims and be able to bring forward the evidence that needs to be there to move forward.”

By doing things that way, Droste said, “we can avoid a domestic dispute situation.”

“You know, ‘I'm mad at my friend today so I'm going to accuse them of cheating,'” she said. “We don't want that to happen.”

by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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