Keeping students honest in and outside of class time is a challenge for most educators. Add in the movement toward online classes, and the challenge is only compounded. A recent story in U.S. News and World Report discusses the variety of ways that educators are dealing with academic dishonesty and plagiarism.
"In every single class, we have information on what plagiarism is, and a major piece is that we hold our students accountable if they're caught," says Diane Johnson, assistant director of faculty services at St. Leo University in Florida. She goes on to say that students have been disciplined in the past for copying others' work. "If you hear that one of your classmates has been reported for plagiarism, it gives you an impetus to not do it too."
- Develop an awareness of student study practices
- Discuss essay banks and custom essay writing services with students
- Engender a deep understanding of plagiarism
- Encourage an individualized approach to learning
- Make innovative use of technology
- Assess real life situations
- Use detection tools to encourage learning
In a blog posting by Dan Ariely (professor at Duke University and the author of "The Honest Truth About Dishonesty" and "Predictably Irrational") entitled "Plagiarism and essay mills," he explains the results of an experiment in which he purchased custom essays to check out their quality. After receiving the absurdly poor quality essays produced by these services, he concludes, "...the day is not here where students can submit papers from essay mills and get good grades for them. Moreover, we concluded that if students did try to buy a paper from an essay mill, just like us, they would feel that they have wasted their money and won’t try it again."
Instructors and students are most familiar with Turnitin as a plagiarism prevention tool. Many miss the opportunity to use Turnitin as a teaching tool to really engage students and provide them with meaningful feedback.
OriginalityCheck is an opportunity for instructors to connect with students to show them proper citation, to identify motivations for improper citation, and to address academic integrity. In other words, it gives instructors a teaching moment.
At this time of year, we hear a lot of chatter from students via Twitter (follow us: @turnitin) saying, "turnitin says my essay was 23% plagiarized," or "just submitted my paper to turnitin... 4% plagiarism is good right?," or "my Turnitin plagiarism percentage is only 18%."
There is a very distinct difference between what Turnitin flags as matching text (aka: similarity index) and plagiarism. Turnitin will highlight ANY matching material in a paper—even if it is properly quoted and cited. Just because it appears as unoriginal does not mean it is plagiarized; it just means that the material matches something in the Turnitin databases.
CBS Sunday Morning's featured story on plagiarism included intimate interviews with infamous plagiarists Quentin Rowan and Jayson Blair, and includes a brief conversation with Turnitin CEO Chris Caren.
Quentin Rowan authored his first novel, "Assassin of Secrets" in 2011 and was found to largely be a mash-up of 20 different books including popular James Bond titles. "There are stretches that go for maybe 10-15 pages, where the only thing changed are the names," Rowan said.
Some of your colleagues answered:
- "I think it's still good for kids to see other writing."
- "It helps students see if they are communicating well."
- "They are learning to objectively look at writing."
- "It is a rich source of feedback."
- "Enlarges their sense of audience past just thinking only the instructor is reading their papers."
- "The reviewer profits as well as the reviewee."
Turnitin will no longer support the Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) browser starting in January 2013. In order for us to continue improving Turnitin and offering features to help instructors improve student writing, our development team needs to make use of the capabilities in modern browsers. This is part of being a leading software-as-a-service.
We've always advocated Turnitin OriginalityCheck to be used as a tool to teach proper citation and source integration, to address academic integrity, and to make investigating potential plagiarism easier.
OriginalityCheck at its core is simple to start exploring and using in your classroom. By providing visual feedback, you and your students can get a good representation of how well they've integrated outside source material into their writing. At a glance, you can take a closer look into papers with higher matches.
Turnitin has released six writing rubrics that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These new rubrics are available now in the Rubric Library if you are affiliated with a middle school, high school, or community college account in the United States. If you are not affiliated with these eligible schools, you can download the Common Core Rubric Pack (.zip) and import the .RBC files into your Rubric Library.
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