International students in plagiarism probe

Nearly 80 foreign Masters students at a Swedish university are facing disciplinary measures after being accused of copying large parts of their coursework from the internet.

The students at the centre of the allegations are studying Network Management at Blekinge University of Technology (BTH) in Karlskrona, southern Sweden, according to local paper BLT. The alleged plagiarism was contained in project reports by 79 of the 150 students on the course, the paper said.

Concern about the students’ work was raised during routine checks. They have now been reported to a disciplinary tribunal; if the tribunal finds that they indeed plagiarised parts of their work, they could face suspension for about two months.

Markus Fiedler, lecturer in the telecom systems department, said the students were not deliberately trying to cheat. “Many of our international students are educated in systems in which it is seen as respectable to add other researchers’ texts to your own coursework,” he said.

The head of the affected course told BLT that the university had been “very clear” in outlining Swedish rules regarding copying, but added that it was not always easy to get students from other academic cultures to understand the message.

Blekinge Institute of Technology, which has a total of 7,300 students, is a popular college among international students. It specializes in applied IT and sustainable development.