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
    David, 22 Sep 2006 @ 9:59pm

    bashing the students

    Then you all won't mind if we put monitors in your bedrooms. After all, it's all about tranparency. If you're not sodomizing your wife, you have nothing to hide.

    Duh.. not everything is open to the public. There is such a thing as privacy.

    When the system cranks out a false positive and the student has no recourse, to whom does the student complain? The Internet? Or are you all using the computers in Maryland that don't fail?

    Last time I checked, in the country there is a presumption of innocense. If you prefer the presumption of guilt then move to Mexico and see how you like their system.

    Not everything in this world is about someone's convenience. Sometimes it's about rights, or privacy or simply not being subject to a potentially falutly and unmonitored technology system.

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