The Growing Backlash Against Automated Cheating Detectors

from the but-for-a-good-reason dept

It's been nearly four years since we wrote about students and parents being upset that online services that check student homework for plagiarism were also uploading and storing a copy of every paper they checked. It got to the point, earlier this year, that at least one university banned the use of Turnitin, one of the most popular services in this field. It seems that the student rebellion against such tools is growing, as many more students are questioning the legality of such tools, and asking their schools to stop using them. They're not just upset about the uploads, but about the assumption of guilt. While there clearly is plenty of plagiarism to go around, that doesn't mean this is the right solution to it. It's often easy to just throw technology at a problem, but it's worth recognizing that doing so always raises unexpected issues -- and those issues may not be technological on their own, but legal and cultural issues. It seems like many of the schools who jumped on the Turnitin bandwagon didn't spend much time thinking about those additional consequences, and are now facing student anger because of it.

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  1. identicon
    Egat, 22 Sep 2006 @ 4:43pm

    First link is broken.

    Also, it's good to see the often exuberant pro-technology attitude often exhibited here tempered by a story like this. If society doesn't carefully evaluate when technology is appropriate and when it isn't we are liable to enter another anti-technology backlash similar to the one seen a few decades ago in the US. Environmentalism and other movements placed all blame for any problem they percieved squarely on the shoulders of technology, and were believed by the masses.

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