Does the plagiarism program Turn It In violate student intellectual rights?
How many of you out there go to schools that use the program Turnitin.com for tackling the problem with plagiarism in the classroom? Well, in doing some research it seems as if Turnitin is a violation of students’ intellectual property rights on a large scale. Yet this hasn’t been proven in a court of law as reported by the website Essayfraud.org. Essayfraud.org had further incited that Turnitin is in fact unreliable, ineffective, and misleading in terms of finding plagiarism. The professors and instructors in many colleges and universities may have disagreed about the effectiveness of Turnitin, but yet they know of instances of actual intentional/unintentional plagiarism and the secret is that they’ll never know about the ‘intelligent’ plagiarism that’s totally undetectable to Turnitin. What some professors are clueless about is that Turnitin only seems accurate in catching the word for word plagiarism. The program is rendered useless if a student uses a dictionary or thesaurus. According to Essayfraud.org Turnitin is also completely incompetent in detecting work done by ghostwriters (someone paid to do the writing and research) from scratch. This kind of why it’s easier for professors to use their own method of checking papers for plagiarism and copyright infringement than to rely on a software program to do the work for them essentially taking the lazy way out of actually doing the job of a real professor or instructor. If school officials actually took the time to weigh their options with the pros and cons of using Turnitin through communication with educators on Internet forums, message boards, articles, blogs, or any kind of system to give their honest opinion. They wouldn’t really see any logical option, but to consider discontinuing the use of Turnitin in their educational institution. There are more cons than pros and as Essayfraud.org listed this is the full con list of why the Turnitin program is rendered ineffective: It’s no longer effective in deterring plagiarism The larger the database grows, the greater the frequency of false positives Emails word-for-word copies of students’ papers to third parties upon request Causes students to engage in self-censorship Professors intimidating, extorting and coercing students to cede their rights Rendering students “guilty until proven innocent” Professors becoming too dependent on machines to do their jobs Makes students feel like second-class citizens Invades students’ privacy Teaches students that rules do not apply to big corporations Violates students’ intellectual property rights Creates an atmosphere of distrust Fosters a negative learning environment Teaches students that it is acceptable to take advantage of the “little guy” Makes schools vulnerable to lawsuits from students and their parents Essayfraud.org interviewed Paul Wedlake, Director of Sales for Turnitin.com and in his opinion the program is pointless and that it serves no point and is a waste of time and money for schools to invest in. He feels that professors would fare better if they spent the time relying less on a pointless computer program and spending more time getting to know their students at the individual level. A lot of educational institutions can avoid the steep Turnitin price tag by forcing teachers to familiarize themselves with each student’s writing style. There’s too many other options out there for schools to utilize in terms of finding out if a student’s maintaining academic integrity that’s more cost effective than wasting tax dollars which supports many state junior and 4 year colleges and universities on pointless tools for enhancing the quality of academic integrity in their institutions. Plus doing this is making more professors lazy and that’s when the quality of their standards goes down which shows when they teach their classes. This maybe the reason why the American education system has pretty much gone to crap and yet college students in foreign countries seemingly outdo us in the classroom. One way for teachers to really get to know a student’s writing style is to have them do in-class essays to have something to compare to when future essays and term papers are turned in. Plus the website had even listed quotes of Turnitin.com’s founder John Barrie to where he’s said things that it would be improper to use Turnitin as a ‘gotcha’ to monitoring the recycling of research papers in large scale undergrad classes. It seems Essayfraud.org had actually gone and did the research on the website Turnitin.com and found these contradictory statements made by Barrie who founded the website. They cite that the comments were almost comical than logically intelligent. There’s a higher increase of students that are in fact refusing to relinquish their intellectual property rights to Turnitin.com out of concern for their right to privacy, but when Barrie was asked his opinion about what professors should say to concerned students and his response to that question was for students to stunt their own creativity or basically to dumb down their work (basically declining to divulge information or ideas). Ian Boyko, National chairperson with the Canadian Federation of Students commented saying that Turnitin is the worst tool invented because he feels that it’s really not about catching students cheating, but an inadequate means to hiring enough teachers who take the time to read students work. CBS news was the source that conducted the interview that was reposted on Essayfraud.org. Then in further reading Essayfraud.org noted that professors and instructors have no right to transmit or use the paper for any other purpose and if they do they have to seek permission from the student who wrote the paper. The only thing noble about Turnitin is that they do respect a student’s right to consent to who sees their paper and whether it’s distributed or not. If this program does interfere with students’ rights then it could mean a class action lawsuit because students do have a right at the intellectual property level when it pertains to their work in class. Mike Edwards, an English professor-school unknown had commented this quote that was featured on Essayfraud.org “TurnItIn.com is an inherently suspicious technology of surveillance, sending to our students the message that none of them are sufficiently trustworthy in our eyes. . . . Turnitin appropriates the value of student writing for the sake of its own profits, while at the same time criminalizing students for the very same practice. In other words, TurnItIn.com stands as a monument of staggering hypocrisy — and that's not a monument I'm going to erect in my classroom.” John Barrie thinks that using Turnitin is more like an academic digital fingerprint when it’s derived from students’ intellectual property. This is probably by far the worst thing invented because now students will feel like they’re walking on eggshells just to pass a class with their work instead you got teachers who aren’t even doing their job by relying on an ineffective piece of technology to tell them whether someone’s copying previously published work or not. If professors and instructors are speaking out about how the program is possibly a waste of money to not only the institution, but the students who fork up a good chunk of change in activity fees to support this kind of waste in their money. Many schools and educational institutions invest buku bucks into this program as a hope of slowing or eliminating plagiarism when they’re letting a single computer program make the determination of a student passing or failing. A teacher will pass a student if he or she has proven their worth by going to class and doing the work and passing their tests and exams. By now most teachers who have been teaching for a while have developed a pattern of identifying students who actually put forth effort from the ones who just slack off in class. They don’t need a computer program to tell them that because if it’s being noted that it can’t even fully acknowledge work that’s plagiarized what kind of system has Turn it in become in the eyes of a seasoned educator? Nothing, yet using a program to track work that’s already published. If that’s the case they might as well use Copyscape to find that out.
Tags: Plagiarism , Intellectual Rights , Student Rights , Student Privacy Issues
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