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
    Cris, 31 Aug 2007 @ 8:40pm

    Turnitin

    Turnitin is not very useful. Least this is my opinion, as an older adult, who just recently went back to college. I am the type of student who writes the paper first, then finds the resources to back up my thesis/statements. I am required to process all my work through Turnitin. If it comes up 25% or higher in originality report, then I have to redo it or take a zero. The redo it option is only pertaining if I have time, before the due date, to rewrite the paper. Most of the time just by changing the title of my paper, finding a new reference and deleting a couple of sentences, my originality report can go from 39% to 18% (or least under 25%). The funny part it was my original work, even before I made the changes to the paper(s). There is no such thing as an original idea. Someone, somewhere, will conceptualize the same thesis and finding the same resources just like yours. Sadly a lot of my professors do not take this into account. They do not even read your paper if it shows above 25%. Therefore I think Turnitin is a joke.

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