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
    Peter Jones, 24 Sep 2006 @ 2:40am

    Feeble excuse for cheating

    The argument that students are angry because they are "assumed to be guilty" is just a smokescreen because they don't like getting caught cheating. Does airport secruity, video cameras, or the detection devices in most stores these days assume guilt? Are they going to start railing about being checked at the airport so anyone with any kind of weapon, bomb, whatever can just walk on with the rest of us? Good argument. How about the fact that many of these students don't think it's actually cheating, just like downloading music is not actually stealing. These people make it necessary to check. Maybe they should be complaining about them instead.

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