Rebecca Moore “Schenectady Synecdoche” Howard, who has published quite a bit on issues having to do with plagiarism, tells the story of using Turnitin.com for the first time. As she explains, it turns out that she largely plagiarized herself.
We have a site license for Turnitin.com at EMU, and there has been some controversy about its use– the usual issues having to do with the “policing” function, ownership of the text, etc. I have used Turnitin.com a grand total of one time, and I used it to help me vet a couple of student essays I am (hopefully) including in my textbook as examples. These were already good essays and these students were long done with my class, so it wasn’t me trying to play policeman. I just needed to go through both essays to make sure everything was fine.
Now, maybe it was because I was working with some strong examples, but I found Turnitin pretty useless. I mean, all it did was highlight parts of the essays where the students include quotes. Sorta. Big deal.