Kairosnews has an article about the use of plagiarism detection software. Kairosnews and the related Cyberdash recommend against the use of these services. These two articles breakdown a host of reasons why using these services is a bad idea. For me the major concern here is this reflects a poor use of technology: technology to police. Here are just a few reasons this is a bad idea:

  • The students are being required to submit to a service that is then turning a profit off of there work. While the service pretend to be about protecting intellectual property, in the end it is a fundamental violation.
  • This presumes students are guilty of plagiarism. Even if turnitin.com’s own stats are correct (and what do you want to bet they inflated them) over 70% of students work is not plagiarism. Why would you presume a student is guilty rather than presume they are innocent?
  • The technology doesn’t work. Not only does it miss cases, but returns false positives.
  • The number one browser they list is Internet Explorer, and their screen shots are of Internet Explorer (never trust a tech company that is using Internet Explorer-they should know better).
  • This is all a trap! Basically it allows Universities to increase their corporatization. Rather than reduce class size or hiring more profs. institutions purchase software designed to allow for large classes. Save your money hire a couple of extra writing profs. and educate students rather than policing them.