Turnitin.com, Plagiarism and other issues

25 May 2005

At Whitecliffe College, Auckland, New Zealand, Aotearoa, student’s assignments must be submitted as MS Word documents, the lecturer then submits the files to Turnitin.com. Should 25% or more of the content of the essay be highlighted by Turnitin as coming from another source, regardless of whether it is correctly referenced and cited, the student must resubmit their assignment, -no discussion. The highest grade a resubmitted essay can then receive is a C-, a pass grade.

My issues with this are:

The school is spending student fees on this service, with out any consultation with the student body. Lecturers and students ought to work together on this issue.

Indirectly it is assumed that all students must be plagiarising unless proven otherwise, using Turnitin’s software.

Student must submit MS Word documents, making purchase of this software compulsory, we must either purchase, or in most cases, pirate a copy.

The hardline taken, particularly in this trial period is unnecessary.

Computers and technology fail us everyday, so why invest so much in this system, it is fallible just like other technology.

Turnitin retains all the data it collects, maintaining the monopoly, if stopping plagiarism was really their goal the data would be available for other uses free of charge. Do we want our assignments being used by a corporation to increase their market share and make make more money?

Is there anything we can do about this?

Some interesting articles and sites have further information on such issues, including a case where a student who refused to submit his essays through Turnitin had his case upheld in court.

Student’s case upheld

Students can still pay for someone else to write their essays without being pick up by Turnitin.com

Plagerism at University

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