Tuesday, April 16, 2013

College writing profs denounce plagiarism detection software

Members of the Conference on College Composition and Communication have passed a resolution denouncing the use of anti-plagiarism software like Turnitin on the ground that. among other things, it creates a hostile classroom environment in which students are presumed to cheat.   An excerpt from story at Inside Higher Ed is below.  But what sayeth you, law profs, about the use of products like Turnitin to detect cheats?

Turning on Turnitin

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According to the resolution [passed by the CCCC], "plagiarism detection services can compromise academic integrity by potentially undermining students' agency as writers, treating all students as always already plagiarists, creating a hostile learning environment, shifting the responsibility of identifying and interpreting source misuse from teachers to technology, and compelling students to agree to licensing agreements that threaten their privacy and rights to their own intellectual property."

The resolution formalized a long-simmering faculty resistance to the services, which come in the form of software. While many faculty members use the software enthusiastically, some -- especially in composition -- argue that the software oversimplifies a complex issue, shifts responsibility from people to technology and breeds mistrust between students and teachers.


CCCC Chair Chris Anson said there were a number of problems with the detection services, including instructors who rely on the software to do key parts of their job.

“Their job is to pay attention to assignments," Anson, a professor at North Carolina State University, said of faculty members. "They shouldn’t be finding ways to get around that responsibility, which is an important one."

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Continue reading here.



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