Saturday, October 07, 2006

GSVU profs argue that turnitin may violate "student intellectual property"

According to a Muskegon Chronicle article, in a position paper, Ellen Schendel and writing professors Charles Lowe and Julie White of Grand Valley State University argue that Turnitin "makes questionable use of student intellectual property" and discourages good teaching practices concerning writing. Their online statement has made their names known at several educational Web sites where the issue is discussed.

Turnitin processes about 75,000 papers a day from 9.5 million students in 90 countries. It also keeps students' papers on its database for future comparisons.

IPBiz notes that the most direct intellectual property issue is that of copyright. IPBiz does not know what Turnitin has done about copyright, but the schools could easily obtain a release from the students (the authors) for this use. But are student papers more like a "work for hire" in which case the schools already own the copyright?
Any comments?

The Chronicle article also noted: The intellectual property caucus of the 6,000-member Conference on College Composition and Communication issued a statement questioning such programs. The group said the programs cast students "as in need of being policed rather than as trustworthy learners."

A far different view on student plagiarism is expressed in Great Britain.

James Meikle wrote in the Oct. 6 Guardian:

Traditional GCSE coursework will be abolished in 10 subject areas as
part of a government campaign to stamp out cheating, internet plagiarism and
help from parents and teachers.


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