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  June 30, 2008

Promotional USB sticks in Education


Back in April the BBC reported that at two well respected universities, almost 1% of their students were caught plagarising. Chances are the true numbers were even higher. When I was at University, I caught a flat mate of mine on the same course as me copying large chunks of one of my essays (before slightly rewording them) when I placed them in the shared folder to print. That case, for instance, was dealt with “In house”, and my shamed flat mate found himself stuck in front of his PC all weekend while the rest of us went out and had fun.

What, you may wonder, does this have to do with USB Sticks?


Well, one method of checking for plagiarism is the use of various software packages, which can compare thousands of essays, as well as checking Essay banks to make sure none are sourced from them. However, for this software to be of any use at all, you need an electronic version of the complete essay.

So, why not offer your students a branded USB Stick to put their files on? They can then drop it into an envelope and hand it in to the office?


Better yet, why not have each USB Stick customised with the student’s own student ID on the back, along with the department and/or university logo on the front? That way, even if the stick is lost it’s likely to find its way home, and can then be returned to the student for future essays. When the student graduates, they also have something nice to remember you by.

In addition, we can pre-load the sticks with your university policies on Plagiarism, and perhaps A couple of PDFs on the correct usage of referencing styles, how to avoid plagiarising and any other essay related tips you may already have flyers for in the library or offer for download from the department home page.

You may even decide not to ask students to print a copy of their essay at all, both easing the strain on your IT Department on deadline day but also easing the strain on the environment.

Reduce cheating and your carbon footprint in one move? What more could you ask?