Some students believe that they can "beat" Turnitin by employing various tactics. Instructors should rest assured that these tactics do not work as our algorithms take such "tricks" into account. In addition, the best practice for ensuring that students are not able to "beat the system" is to review all Originality Reports - regardless of the percentage shown as the Similarity Index. Instructors who look at the Originality Reports will be able to tell if something untoward has occurred.
What tricks do students try?
One trick is to replace a common character like "e" throughout the text of their paper with a foreign language character that looks like an "e" but is actually different (for example, a Cyrillic "e"). This method does not work because our algorithms replace such characters with the corresponding standard English character. The special character will still appear in the Originality Report; however, the word it is in will have been matched against words containing every character that looks like that character. This allows us to show you matches to words with both the special character and the standard character.
A new study from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln examines the prevalence and perceptions of cheating among high school students.
Key findings of the study show:
- 89 percent said glancing at someone else's answers during a test was cheating, but 87 percent said they had done that at least once.
- 62 percent said doing individual take-home tests with a partner was cheating, but 51 percent said they'd done so.
- 23 percent said doing individual homework with a partner was dishonest, but 91 percent had done so.
Over 80 percent of college faculty are using social media, according to a survey released by Babson Survey Research Group in collaboration with New Marketing Labs and Pearson Learning Solutions on May 4th, 2010. The study found that a majority of respondents (59%) said they have more than one social networking account and nearly 25 percent have four or more accounts. Thirty percent of respondents use social networks to communicate with students, and 1/3 use them to connect with peers.
"College faculty have embraced social media and a majority have integrated some form of these tools into their teaching," said Jeff Seaman, Ph.D., co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group. "While some faculty remain skeptical, the overall opinion is quite positive, with faculty reporting that social media has value for teaching by over a four to one margin."
"Want to get students away from simply commenting on grammatical or punctuation errors? They can conduct in-depth peer reviews using Turnitin [which] provides peer review questions that link critical thinking skills with writing skills. You can even create your own questions and require a minimum word count for students. This keeps down the yes/no answers and forces them to think about the essay in front of them."
In our first blog "Does Turnitin Detect Plagiarism?” we said that Turnitin does not detect plagiarism but, rather, generates a similarity index indicating text matches to the Turnitin databases. Instructors and their students can use that information to determine if there are issues with intentional or unintentional plagiarism. So, while Turnitin does not specifically "detect" plagiarism, instructors can work towards plagiarism proofing their written assignments by implementing Turnitin in their courses using some well-documented best practices.
Research suggests that assignments can be made more difficult to plagiarize if instructors:
Reality: Turnitin receives over 200,000 papers daily, and no human reads the papers at Turnitin. All papers are processed by our software, servers and databases.
Misconception 14: Turnitin automatically evaluates and grades papers . . . eliminating the need for instructors to grade them.
Reality: Turnitin matches text similarity and does not grade papers for the instructors. It is up to the instructor and/or student to determine whether the assignment exhibits plagiarism.
Misconception 13: Turnitin has expertise in plagiarism and can render judgment on specific cases.
Reality: There is no "threshold" Similarity Index that is either "good" or "bad"--each Originality Report needs to be examined to understand what a student did and whether or not there is a problem.
Lots of people have impressions about Turnitin - what it is, what it does, how it works. Unfortunately, many of these impressions are based on misconceptions. So to kick off our new blog, we’ll tackle the #1 misconception: that Turnitin detects plagiarism.
But isn't that what Turnitin is - a plagiarism detector? No, Turnitin does not detect plagiarism per se; Turnitin just finds text that matches other sources in the vast Turnitin databases and shows those matches. It is up to a human being to determine whether those text matches are a problem or not.