Students Run Their Essays through Cheat Detectors; Reprieve for Plagiarism Culprits

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), July 9, 2009 | Go to article overview
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Students Run Their Essays through Cheat Detectors; Reprieve for Plagiarism Culprits


Byline: BEN TURNER

STUDENTS are being allowed to run essays through electronic cheat detectors - before they hand work in.

Liverpool Hope and Edge Hill universities, who between them logged 156 cases of cheating this year, are behind the unorthodox approach.

Most universities now have Turnitin, clever software which scours billions of data to detect electronic plagiarism and students cutting and pasting their way through assignments.

But now lecturers at Edge Hill and Hope have taken it a step further.

With lecturers' blessing, students are being given access to the technology prior to submitting work.

It means any passages or sections the computer recognises as plagiarism will be flagged up, allowing the student to go back and alter their work. Last night, academics defended the move, saying most incidents of plagiarism were pure ignorance.

They said staff will continue to use the software and their own marking skills to weed out plagiarism.

But traditionalists are appalled at the self-regulation, saying students will be marking their own exams next.

Edge Hill university has allowed students access to the software since September, 2007, and said it was already paying dividends, with cases of cheating dropping from 83 to 56 within a yea r.

Hope University followed suit in September last year.

Around 1,000 students from a raft of courses piloted the scheme, which is set to be rolled out across all departments in September.

Although cases of plagiarism in 2008/9 stand at 100 - nineteen more than in 2007/8 - cases are expected to drop once the system beds in.

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