Intellectually Feeble, and Pedagogically Evil

David Parry bio photo By David Parry

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.