Monday, April 16, 2007

Don't Turnitin

The high school students who filed suit against Turnitin.com have created (or had someone create) a nice Website that lays out their perspective on the mandatory use of Turnitin for their literary works. The site is called dontturnitin.

I applaud their efforts in pushing the envelope to have a court decide this issue. As I have previously stated, I hope they win their suit and also hope that the end result is the start of a sea change in how educators approach the issues of plagiarism and academic dishonesty. During my study, research, and discussions about this issue over the past couple of years, I continue to return to one burning question that I cannot attribute to any one source - and it goes a little something like this:

“On what planet does it make sense to violate the intellectual property rights of the students to teach them not to violate the intellectual property rights of others?”

Apparently the students were told that an open forum was not the appropriate place to discuss this issue, thus they created their own forum on the Internet. Again I applaud their efforts, I only wish that they had used a system that would allow a more open dialogue through a comments feature or discussion board.

dontturnitin.com is a pretty good resource for information about the fundamental issues related to the use of Turnitin, a good source of links to other information about this issue, and THE source for information about the lawsuit filed by the McLean High School students.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

1 comment:

hanna said...

Ironically, just today I received an email from Turnitin.com, enthusiastically claiming to be responding to my recent request for an account. However, I had not made such a request, and I told them so. My request to be removed from the mailing list, thankfully, resulted in a prompt follow-up email, assuring me that my wish has been granted. I sure hope so! My department has tried Turnitin.com in the past, and honestly, I didn’t like the way it made some of my (former) colleagues act – carrying out a witch-hunt of sorts, far too determined to “catch” a student red-handed. Personally, I didn’t go into teaching to look for criminals. Instead, I want to teach students to develop, and trust, their own voice, and I do my best to design specific assignments for each semester that encourage this. As their teacher, I hold some responsibility in this.