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
    PhysicsGuy, 24 Sep 2006 @ 8:15pm


    while "perusing" my college's network (go figure, in the library all the computers have admin access) i just happened to assign the c$ admin share to a drive and it just happened to be my physics teachers computer with all of his tests and assignments (it's a bit of a long story so i'll refrain from all the detail, needless to say the network admin messed up). of course, i told my teacher and the network admin about it. it's supposedly fixed, but i haven't had the chance to "browse" the network again.

    i'm an honest person. i do not like my own papers being cached somewhere. the college i attend does not own the rights to my papers either (i feel sorry for the people whose colleges do, as you write your masters thesis on a thought experiment that correlates to a real experiment that shows the existence of the graviton only to have a greedy professor steal it and win the nobel prize). i've been accused of plagiarism before, it's not a pleasant experience. to be blunt about it, i simply do not like it due to the cache. someone brought up the argument about google, well google's not manditory. you can add a tag to your page so that google doesn't list it. you can't do such a thing with your papers.

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