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#1 LizDevil30

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 09:19 AM

Since Star Ledger contacted DM regarding copyright, I thought this was a good time to ask how everyone (or anyone that is aware of) the Turnitin.com "service" felt about it. For the first time since I returned to college 3 years ago (yes I go part time) a professor has "requested" our research paper be submitted into this website. I say "requested" because if we don't submit it we fail the course.

The research I've done on this site says it not only violates the 1974 FERPA laws protecting students but it denies students' intellectual property rights.

This is a comment from essayfraud.org:

Determined cheaters and people who want to protect their copyrights can easily beat Turnitin (i.e., trick Turnitin, fool Turnitin, or cheat Turnitin) in a few simple steps, directly through Microsoft Word™, so what's the point in paying Turnitin millions of dollars per year and treating like criminals the vast majority of students who do not cheat? In response to the McLean / Turnitin lawsuit, we've been disturbed by many professors' opinion that honest students' papers are so utterly void of intelligence and innovative ideas that their intellectual property does not warrant or deserve copyright protection. For the sake of debate, let's presume that a certain percentage of student essays are terrible, in every aspect. What if that type of essay is exactly what someone wants to buy? What if an author decides to publish a new book entitled, The Worst Student Essays Ever Written, and the author wants to buy hundreds of "terrible" essays written by students in all states—including Virginia—to include in the book. This could mean substantial royalties for the student authors. However, due to numerous legal restrictions, the author can pay students for their essays only if the essays are not already stored/published/indexed in any database. Conclusion: This is merely one scenario in which Turnitin severely diminishes or completely eliminates the marketability of students' intellectual property. (Five Other Scenarios)

______

I do not write papers or essays utterly void of intelligence and innovative ideas but quite the contrary. Therefore my work could have value to someone and I want compensation for that value. Also Turnitin makes it's millions due to it's archive of student work and on that basis alone intellectual property is being used for profit without the author receiving compensation.

For further reading on Turnitin I found an excellent article from UCLA Office of Instructional Development. http://www.oid.ucla....tin/turnitin-2b

Has anyone dealt with this problem? I really don't want to submit my work to this site? Any advice on what to do? I'm willing to jump through hoops to get a degree, but this hoop reeks of being illegal. I plan on becoming an educator, but I tell you all this, if education as degraded to the point where ethics and trust have left the building I don't think I want any part of the profession.

Edited by LizDevil30, 08 November 2007 - 09:20 AM.

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#2 Eltab213

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 06:27 PM

Whats funny is the schools that use Turnitin.com have to pay something stupid like $4,500 dollars to use it.

I've only had one teacher that used it. I didn't care, for all I know my teachers use Turnitin.com or something similar without telling anyone anyway.

I'm assuming that you just learned you have to use Turnitin.com for your class. In which case you should still be in the first week or two of classes and should be able to drop the class with no extenuating circumstances. I'de just drop the class and sign up for the same course under a different teacher.
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#3 Nature's Minister

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 06:31 PM

I had to suffer it as well during high school, but none of my university professors have ever requested its usage. While I agree it's rather unethical, I'd probably just deal with it, as anything I've written that hasn't been intended for publication is very, very unlikely to ever be published anyway. You could protest it and you'd probably be in the right in every sense of the word, but you have to weigh your sense of dignity against the very real possibility of a long and ugly battle with your professors and administration, which is almost never worth the effort.

A very simple and elegant solution is to save innovation for journals connected to your field of interest, and to parrot others' work (with all necessary citations) when that is all that is required of the assignment.

Edited by Nature's Minister, 08 November 2007 - 06:39 PM.

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#4 XxLancerHockeyPridexX

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 06:45 PM

I am FORCED to use turnitin.com for some papers that teachers assign...and I hate it. Lmao. It's not that I cheat or anything, it's just a pain in the ass to try and remember that you need to put a paper on the site and not only that they don't use certain files so I have to be careful about what to use.
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#5 LizDevil30

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 07:43 PM

Whats funny is the schools that use Turnitin.com have to pay something stupid like $4,500 dollars to use it.

I've only had one teacher that used it. I didn't care, for all I know my teachers use Turnitin.com or something similar without telling anyone anyway.

I'm assuming that you just learned you have to use Turnitin.com for your class. In which case you should still be in the first week or two of classes and should be able to drop the class with no extenuating circumstances. I'de just drop the class and sign up for the same course under a different teacher.

Classes started two months ago, the window for dropping has passed. The professor doesn't say on her syllabus that she intends to use Turnitin for papers. I've already done 2 essays for her that received A's and now for the third assignment, a research paper, she says she wants it submitted into Turnitin. BTW some schools pay as much as $22,000 a yr for the "service." The more student papers they get into their database the more money they can charge schools.

lol, I hear what you are saying, but it is very difficult for me to parrot anyone. I very much march to my own drummer and I am very proud of my writing ability. Although I will admit the assignment is mind-numbingly dull and trite and probably very easy to parrot and cite, parrot and cite, but it pains me to write in such a manner.

I really think students of the US need to unite and just say no to Turnitin.
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"Why is a puck called a puck? Because dirty little bastard was taken."-New Jersey Devils Goaltender Martin Brodeur, of whom I am happy co-keeper with poohbear.
His lean, limber muscles tensed under the skin are ready to contort his body into unnatural goal stopping positions. Tara Sullivan, Bergen Record.
A person's a person, no matter how small. Horton the Elephant, "Horton Hears a Who"
NEW JERSEY home of the Devils, Giants, Jets, Red Bull, Nets and the Statue of Liberty--standing on our front porch waving to the neighbors.

#6 njdevils_info

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 02:05 AM

Classes started two months ago, the window for dropping has passed. The professor doesn't say on her syllabus that she intends to use Turnitin for papers. I've already done 2 essays for her that received A's and now for the third assignment, a research paper, she says she wants it submitted into Turnitin. BTW some schools pay as much as $22,000 a yr for the "service." The more student papers they get into their database the more money they can charge schools.

lol, I hear what you are saying, but it is very difficult for me to parrot anyone. I very much march to my own drummer and I am very proud of my writing ability. Although I will admit the assignment is mind-numbingly dull and trite and probably very easy to parrot and cite, parrot and cite, but it pains me to write in such a manner.

I really think students of the US need to unite and just say no to Turnitin.


I had a professor require a class I took use it, but the purpose was because this was easier to submit papers since e-mailing papers to teachers can be unreliable, and also to thwart plagerism since it scans papers for originality.

What was interesting was the class was about Digital Life and one student's report was on copyright and this very same subject. As it turns out, the professor would allow other forms of submission and by the middle of the semester didn't really care if you didn't post it there, just handed it in.

My suggestion: inform the teacher of your concerns. College is the place to learn and question what you don't think is right- and this scenario is no different. I'm sure if the teacher gives you trouble, talk to your advisor or maybe even the dean and see if they will help you out. for what its worth, what if you didn't have the internet at home where you could use this service?
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#7 LizDevil30

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 10:46 AM

I'd think you'd be able to submit the paper via the computers at the college?

I am going to voice my concerns because if I don't I'm just another of the sheep that follow the piper and college is where we are supposed to just the opposite, right?

What really galls me is that they also defend this service by saying a student can't plagerise themselves, ie use a paper they wrote for one class for another. That's tantamount to telling an architect she can only use her design once. Or telling an author oh your story was read already and it can't be read again. One semester when I first went back to school, I had two classes one World Lit, the Other Eng Comp and they both required research papers at the end of the sememster. I had to do an oral report for World Lit and hand in a term paper questionaire for the comp class regard the thesis or the works. The thesis was accepted by both professors so I wrote one paper, still my work. The thing is it turned out very advantageous for me to do this because the World Lit prof didn't like the paper giving it a B and the comp prof said it was graduate level work and gave it an A and told me to submit into a writing competition in which it was a finalist and extremely well received by the audience and judge. The judge even wrote me a letter again complimenting me on the paper and telling me he looked forward to reading other papers. The professor that gave me a B on the paper was there for the presentation and was stunned, he loved and couldn't explain the grade he gave it. Perhaps he was having a bad day the day he graded it. The point of this story is not to brag, but rather to expose how subjective grading literature papers is, and I am convinced that Lit professors in particular don't want "twofers" or papers handed in to multiple sources for fear it will just further prove the bias of the discipline. No other discipline gets the grading latitude Lit does. As a writer I am entitled to have my work reviewed by as many people as I want.

Anyway thanks for listening. :)
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"Why is a puck called a puck? Because dirty little bastard was taken."-New Jersey Devils Goaltender Martin Brodeur, of whom I am happy co-keeper with poohbear.
His lean, limber muscles tensed under the skin are ready to contort his body into unnatural goal stopping positions. Tara Sullivan, Bergen Record.
A person's a person, no matter how small. Horton the Elephant, "Horton Hears a Who"
NEW JERSEY home of the Devils, Giants, Jets, Red Bull, Nets and the Statue of Liberty--standing on our front porch waving to the neighbors.

#8 HelenaHandbasket

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 02:18 PM

In my neck of the woods, a group of students is suing TurnItIn for violating their intellectual property rights, since the selling point of the company is their database, but the students are not compensated for their work. Maybe you could find some resources through them?
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#9 LizDevil30

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 04:22 PM

The fact that Turnitin is in litigation over their website is reason enough for a school or professor not to use them.
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"Why is a puck called a puck? Because dirty little bastard was taken."-New Jersey Devils Goaltender Martin Brodeur, of whom I am happy co-keeper with poohbear.
His lean, limber muscles tensed under the skin are ready to contort his body into unnatural goal stopping positions. Tara Sullivan, Bergen Record.
A person's a person, no matter how small. Horton the Elephant, "Horton Hears a Who"
NEW JERSEY home of the Devils, Giants, Jets, Red Bull, Nets and the Statue of Liberty--standing on our front porch waving to the neighbors.

#10 LizDevil30

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Posted 13 November 2007 - 08:42 PM

If anyone is interested I did pursue this matter with my professor and well she thanked me for my thoughtful email on Turnitin, she was saddened to use this "necessary evil" and assume that students are all plagiarists, and didn't like the fact that colleges wasted valuable funds to pay for Turnitin when the money could be used elsewhere. But she feels she needs to use it and wishes me to come by her office so she can explain. But as for my paper-- I do not have to Turnitin. :)

Lesson, never fail to express your misgivings for a policy. Hopefully this company will be deemed illegal and and honest an open dialogue between teachers and their students will continue. You cannot have education where there is mistrust.
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"Why is a puck called a puck? Because dirty little bastard was taken."-New Jersey Devils Goaltender Martin Brodeur, of whom I am happy co-keeper with poohbear.
His lean, limber muscles tensed under the skin are ready to contort his body into unnatural goal stopping positions. Tara Sullivan, Bergen Record.
A person's a person, no matter how small. Horton the Elephant, "Horton Hears a Who"
NEW JERSEY home of the Devils, Giants, Jets, Red Bull, Nets and the Statue of Liberty--standing on our front porch waving to the neighbors.




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