The Problem Is Not With Plagiarism

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As technology continues to be integrated into modern day education, it is often found to be detrimental rather than beneficial. Recently, issues of plagiarism in science laboratory papers have arisen, as students share and copy labs. The science department felt that some discipline was needed, and began requiring students to submit all of their labs via turnitin.com, a website that detects plagiarism.

 

Previously submitted Google Drive labs are required to be submitted to Turnitin. While the website does a great job of detecting plagiarism and assures that students are handing in original work, Turnitin should not have had to be implemented in the first place. Teachers should be able to trust that their students are handing in work that is original. Likewise, students should be able to have confidence in their own work and not rely upon the words of someone else. Although certain teachers argue that this is “the way” in college, the value of each student’s work is reduced in that they are more focused on avoiding plagiarism rather than handing in a well-written report. Turnitin presents an illegitimate way of detecting plagiarism, picking up the most trivial of phrases. For instance, lab students generally follow the same general procedure, causing issues with Turnitin.

Some students have complained that Turnitin views common, short phrases as plagiarism. Students who have submitted original work sometimes find that their lab is marked as 15% plagiarized. Any work that appears to be similar is marked as plagiarized and students often dread nights when their labs are due as they have essentially  been discouraged to hand them in. Complete originality is almost impossible because we live in a society where a number of sources are available to us, and everyone else, at the touch of a button.

Additionally, plagiarism is a serious allegation and score reports from Turnitin should be fully evaluated by all the teachers so that a student is not falsely accused. Not knowing how to use the website can prove to be problematic. Turnitin can really only detect verbatim copy, which students will almost never do. There are several ways plagiarism can be handled in an academic environment and Turnitin does not seem like the way to go. Although it does accomplish its goal, Turnitin should not be used in the science department

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