Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Tech Tools Fight Online Idea Theft

The internet has delivered the world's libraries into the palms of our hands. It's also made plagiarism as easy as copy and paste.

Stealing ideas, phrases, sentences, or even whole paragraphs or larger sections from online sources is the simplest thing in the world to do and for many students has become a tempting way out from under the stress and pressure of heavy academic workloads. Understandable as the underlying motivation may sometimes be, plagiarism, the use of another's ideas or written expressions without attribution, is a high academic crime, a form of cheating.

In recent years, however, espial software that combs the contents of academic papers for exact online matches have been developed that makes it more difficult for students to successfully take credit for the work of others.

An interesting and informative piece by Christina Stolarz in The Detroit News goes into further detail:

To combat the problem, thousands of high schools in more than 80 countries have bought memberships from a plagiarism detection service — online software called Turnitin — in the past year to check whether their students are stealing sentences, and even entire paragraphs, from the Internet.

On average, Turnitin reviews more than 10,000 student papers nationally each day, of which 30 percent contain a significant amount of plagiarism, according to company statistics. Turnitin is used in some prestigious institutions, including the United States Military Academy at West Point and Rutgers University, but it is just one in a handful of online plagiarism detection services.

To read the article in its entirely, click here.

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