Anti-plagiarism Software in an Irish University: Three Years Later

Anti-plagiarism Software in an Irish University: Three Years Later

Angelica Risquez (University of Limerick, Ireland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-879-1.ch008
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Abstract

A variety of anti-plagiarism software applications have appeared in recent years, but the pedagogical and institutional practices underpinning their use remains largely unexplored. It is essential to increase the amount of evidence-based literature that investigates the use of anti-plagiarism software in higher education. In the light of this, this chapter explores the integration of anti-plagiarism software in an Irish university since early 2006 and the progress made to date. We use data gathered from our own context to show how instructors are using this software to date, what trends emerge and what can be deduced about the adoption of the system to guide future research questions. Best practices are suggested for educators in order to help them to use anti-plagiarism software in proactive, positive, and pedagogically sound ways.
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Background

Turnitin (www.turnitin.com) is a widely used online tool which addresses academic honesty in students’ work (plagiarism prevention); formative and summative feedback (online marking); and student-centred assessment (peer review). The tool has also an important level of acceptance in Ireland, as the last conference of the Irish Educational Technology Users’ Conference saw the first meeting of the Turnitin user group, with around 20 attendees from Institutions across Ireland.1 The University of Limerick adopted the use of the software in 2005 and it has been used since 2006, with training and support provided by the Centre for Teaching and Learning. As it is the case with many other educational technologies offered by the institution, the use of the system has remained the prerogative of each lecturer, and voluntary training sessions have been organised on demand, with one-to-one support being offered on an ongoing basis. All seminars and support are underpinned by a positive, proactive attitude towards plagiarism prevention that puts student learning in the centre of the process. During this period, around 150 teachers’ faculty have attended training, and one-to-one support has been provided for many more. Appendix B shows a piece of documentation distributed across the institution which gives basic information about Turnitin, warns of its limitations, gives an example case scenario and provides further resources.

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