A new Israeli development, recently implemented in universities and most colleges in Israel, can verify the level of originality of works in any language in the humanities, social sciences and most life sciences.
Originality Ltd developed a system that includes a database of about 7,000,000 exams and papers submitted in Israel in the last ten years. The solution has become particularly popular in light of the transition to distance learning due to COVID-19 and social distance requirements.
"A study conducted at several Israeli colleges and universities showed that in the humanities and exact sciences there has been a significant drop in the level of integrity compared to only a moderate decline in the social sciences and health sciences," the company says.
A cheating pandemic
They add that before COVID-19 the level of integrity in private colleges was higher than that of universities, but this trend was reversed during the Coronavirus lockdowns, meaning that the level of integrity in private colleges became lower than that in universities. So cheating is also happening in smaller colleges.
“If students had invested all their creativity in studying for tests and not in how to cheat, our situation would have been wonderful."Dr. Omar Flick
In most cases the punishment for plagiarism isn’t dramatic. In Israel, it’s at the discretion of the disciplinary committee of each academic institution and is supported by the institution's regulations.
It ranges from a warning or reprimand, disqualification from an exam, a ban on starting a course on a certain date, perhaps the next semester or revoking the right to take a course. The most severe sanctions, suspension or expulsion, rarely happen.
Cheating and copying methods have become more creative in the last two years and the proof is exams taken by Zoom. The camera angle is relatively limited and students can take advantage of this to transmit answers via WhatsApp without control or supervision.
The head of the science teaching department at Achva Academic College Dr. Omar Flick claims: “If students had invested all their creativity in studying for tests and not in how to cheat, our situation would have been wonderful. When trust is damaged, tech can solve the problem and show us if work has been copied or not. We scan all exams and papers through the software to ensure that the work is original."