Schools Up to One of a Kind Work? - TurnItIn and WriteCheck

Image Source: http://byphaeth.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/oneofakindfriend.jpg
Turnitin is the leading academic plagiarism detector, utilized by teachers and students to avoid plagiarism and ensure academic integrity. Source: https://turnitin.com
Fascinating conflict of interest for TurnItIn?
Students are being scanned as well to make sure that the words in their papers were not swiped from other sources.  Scanning papers began a decade ago when anti-plagiarism software was created to compare the phrases of student papers with other sources.  The leading anti-plagiarism software is Turnitin, which compares student papers with academic journals, Internet web pages and its library of previously submitted papers.  On its home page, Turnitin quotes an instructor as saying, “I used to spend hours on Google searching for unusual wording when I suspected that the paper was not written by the student. Now, I can search quickly with Turnitin!”
Read the rest of David Harrington's blog entry via Slashdot
David Harrington points out that another service TurnItIn offers is known as WriteCheck, and helps "authors" create content that won't be detected as having been plagiarized by their TurnItIn product. 
Developed by the creators of Turnitin, WriteCheck helps students check for plagiarism and correct grammar, style and spelling errors with user-friendly reports and helpful resources to improve writing.
Hmm...a bit problematic.

David's whole piece is worth reflecting on as educators, but from a teacher perspective, the money quote is this one:
One of the best ways to suppress plagiarism is to come up with creative assignments that are literally one-of-a-kind. 
At a time when encouraging one-of-a-kind work is critical for an economy under siege by outsourced knowledge workers, why aren't educators doing this more?

Maybe, we need to issue magnets to teachers?
Estonian researchers claim that magnets can either force you to lie or make it impossible. Subjects in the study had magnets placed at either the left or the right side of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and the results suggest that the individual was either unable to tell the truth or unable to lie depending on which side was stimulated. From the article: "Last year, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology also used powerful magnets to disrupt the area said to be the brain's 'moral compass,' situated behind the right ear, making people temporarily less moral."Source: Slashdot on Magnets and Truth-telling
Where's my magnet collection?

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Comments

Bretta Wright said…
I agree with most things in your blog, but I have a problem with TurnItIn. As a student, I feel that those type of websites are unfair. I feel this way for many reasons, but I have a simple example that would explain it all. As an elementary and middle school child, we are taught to summarize book reports, and while summarizing we use words from the book without citing the author. Later in life, high school and college, we are taught that we must cite things. I am not making excuses, but for some individuals learning to adjust to do extra things that they did not have to do before is hard. This has never been taken into consideration. I am just wondering what do you think about this.

Thank you,

Bretta Wright

Visit my blog anytime at Bretta Wright

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