Tuesday, August 12, 2008

PR piece on Turnitin

One underlying theme in the Palo Alto High School plagiarism business was the unfairness of plagiarizing students to the students that did not copy. This theme is echoed in a recent story picked up by MarketWatch:

"My epiphany came when my son told me, 'I'm tired of competing against professional writers,'" said Becker. "He was right. No student should have to compete against material that others cut and paste from the Internet and submit as their own."

The story also notes:

As for solving the problem of plagiarism, Becker said, "In three years I have never had a student push back about being caught. I called one student to my desk and explained that I'd found plagiarism in his assignment. He asked, 'Where?' I just spun my display around to show the color-coded report. His response was, 'Cool!' It was cool all right: he was busted. Some kids start out thinking they can beat the system, a misconception that disappears as the deterrent effect takes hold."

This point evokes part of the recent University of Virginia/Semester at Sea plagiarism business. From the AP story by Zinie Chen Sampson:

One of the students, Ohio University senior Allison Routman, said she was shocked when a professor accused her of plagiarizing from an online synopsis of a movie.

"Had I thought I had done anything wrong, I, of course, would come forward," Routman said in a telephone interview Friday from her home outside Minneapolis. "I knew the consequences would not be good."


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