Bad news for cheaters
By Rachel Levy
The use of Turnitin.com at Brock University is being reviewed
by a task force which is also looking at alternative ways to
catch students cheating their way through university.
When a student submits an essay, Turnitin.com checks for plagiarism
by comparing the paper to others submitted by students on the
“The site uses [a student’s] essay as a way to
make its money, and [the students] may feel they are required
to submit their intellectual property to a site that they don’t
support,” explained John Lye, chairman of Brock’s
Senate,adding students may be insulted by the presumption of
Lye said there were some benefits to Turnitin.com, such as
the fact the site date-stamps the essays and reduces the risk
of plagiarism that arises when a course has more than one section
“[The Senate committee at Brock will] take a look into
the whole area of using this site and develop a policy for
the university,” he explained.
“[Western has] been using it for almost three years — we
were the first in Canada to adopt it,” said Debra Dawson,
director of the Teaching Support Centre at Western.
She noted that an alternative to Turnitin.com, called a “close
procedure,” exists; in which every fifth word of an essay
is taken out and students have to fill in the words. “[However],
Turnitin.com is the best program that exists currently for
detecting [Internet] plagiarism,” Dawson said.
“I don’t have a problem with it,” said Mat
Abramsky, a third-year honours business administration student. “I
much prefer that the school spend money on [Turnitin.com] to
ensure that everyone around me [is] doing what they need to
for their degree so that those awarded with it are of the calibre
that can maintain it.”
“I think it’s ridiculous. I think that Western
should be putting more money into resources on campus rather
than using external companies,” said second-year media,
information and technoculture student Dave Reiss.