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
    Aggrieved, 2 Mar 2007 @ 6:51am

    Wrongfully Accused

    So, there needs to be case law on this and I may be the pioneer there!! My HS Jr. was required to do a 30-35 page assignment (for one class mind you) which included writing a 8-10 page essay after selecting 4 works on oppression in American society. After 15-20 hours of work, she is threatened with receiving a ZERO because she neglected to submit a work cited page -- none of the alleged plagiarism is contained in her 9 page essay but rather for submitting the 4 works that her paper was based on without the work cited page! This assignment had to be in a 3-ringed binder and every page needed a sheet protector. Specific details were given to include failure to submit the assignment instruction sheet would result in a 10 point deduction but it failed to mention the work cited page so I ask, should this teacher's position be vindicated merely because she's a teacher?

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