Plagiarism A "Learning Tool" Versus A "Policing Tool"

A. Plagiarism as a learning tool:

-One cannot deny that plagiarism scanning acts to force students to respect others’ intellectual property rights by rightly citing and referencing others work; plagiarism scanning can be incorporated in educational institutions to help teachers enforce ethical responsibility. Yet, students may perceive scanning their papers for plagiarism from another angle.

B. Plagiarism as a policing tool:

-Sally Feldman in the article titled “To Catch a Plagiarist” , writes about the thrill of chase, the pleasure plagiarists derive by escaping detection tools, and the power enjoyed by academics in being able to track plagiarists; plagiarism detection has become a game. Also Sara Lipka in the article titled "Colleges Sharpen Tactics for Resolving Academic-Integrity Cases” contends that the main aim of academic integrity codes is not to “punish” students via plagiarism detecting services, but rather to “teach” students.

-David Gewirtz in the article titled “Turnitin: if you're a student, all your intellectual property might belong to us” writes “many students obviously feel untrusted when using this service (turnitin.com)”. Moreover he describes how students perceive Turnitin “just another case of “The Man” being out to get them”. Thus, Gewirtz asks teachers to “think about what kind of message you’re (teachers) sending when you demand that your students use this (turnitin.com) service”. Similarly, Caleb J. Clanton in the article titled "A Moral Case Against Certain Uses of Plagiarism Detection Services", contends that teachers ought to ask for Turnitin submissions merely from suspected students and thus it is immoral to have all students, whether they are suspects or not, submit their work to Turnitin.com. Clanton reasons his claim on the fact that a teacher asking a student for Turnitin submission is analogous to requiring proof of originality which if not backed by suspicion is thus rendered immoral. Clanton further asserts that plagiarism detection services for non-plagiarists “conflicts with one of the aims of educational institutions: to cultivate students' characters”. Also, “it doesn't create an environment conducive to the formation of honor, and it may even be a hindrance”.

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