15 October 2015: Changes in the learning support landscape
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Google plagiarism and Turnitin
publication date: Jul 1, 2007
author/source: Richard Taylor
In 2005 we reported on software Turnitin, licensed by JISC to pick up plagiarism in student work. Now Google has told firms advertising essay-writing services on Google that they will no longer take their money. This has upset companies like Essaywriter.co.uk who get 80% of their business from Google ads and offer a ‘no plagiarism guarantee’ targeting the same university software. They claim to have 3000+ qualified British writers from top UK universities to meet an expanding customer base. They can even deliver an essay to the student’s specification within 24 hours (for a price).
Google’s move is supported by the soon-to-retire President of Universities UK, Professor Drummond Bone and by the JISC Plagiarism Advisory Service. Realistically however, students who’d rather pay someone to write their essays will still find the sites and services to help them.
Meanwhile, four US high school students are suing Turnitin for copyright violation, claiming that the archiving of their essays after they go through a plagiarism check, required by the school, violates their rights. Turnitin receives about 100,000 student papers each day, and serves more than 7,000 educational institutions worldwide. The students are seeking $900k (£450k) in damages from iParadigms, owners of Turnitin software. This may be significant, not only in relation to plagiarism software, but to the trend towards performance monitoring, where a student’s work, attendance and results are logged into a management system. If schools are not able to archive this material to follow student progress throughout their years in attendance, they will struggle to keep up with the standards of performance and accountability increasingly applied.