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
    The Man, 23 Sep 2006 @ 1:27pm

    For profit

    If you Turnitin is making a profit by saving and then comparing your essay to others then in essense they are making a profit from your and everyone elses essay. It really doesn't matter what is the content of your essay. If I write an essay regarding death dealing robots and you use that paper for profit(regardless to whether or not you built said death dealing robots) then you are liable for copyright infringement. It does not matter how you use it. If its for profit and I did not give provable consent then you are liable.

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