By Wenxing Yao
Most students from Monash University complain about the inefficiency of Turnitin which is an online plagiarism-prevent service used by many Australian Universities for checking students’ essays against texts from others’ work.
Typically, Monash University requires students to submit essays to the system for identifying similarities to existing sources, which aims to help students learn how to avoid plagiarism and improve their writing.
However, a number of Monash Students consider it as an inefficient service as they all have had bad experiences by using this checking system.
Rebecca is now majoring film at Monash University, but she was failed during studying at Monash College because one of her essay’s similarity was over 20 per cent as she wrote on Twitter said Turnitin messed up her life.
“I did paraphrase a lot of my work, but the system was so dull as it highlighted many common words and even like the assigned topic which I couldn’t change, which influenced the rate for sure,” Rebecca said.
Many of international students whose first language is not English, admitting that they would rephrase as less as possible if there is no need to use Turnitin to check the similarities since they find it difficult for them to paraphrase sometimes.
Yet, Turnitin service believes that education and literacy must be a right, not a privilege.
The essays submitted by students are stored in the database used to check for plagiarism. This prevents one student from using another student’s paper, by identifying matching text between papers.
Nevertheless, it’s not a perfect mechanism to check the similarity said by many students.
Daniel Castellana, who is a local student majoring Biomedical Science at Monash University, said he used Turnitin frequently for checking the similarity as if five times this semester but he always felt annoyed by it.
“I do worry about the similarity before the result comes out not only because Turnitin takes a long time to work but it also always points out some irrelevant sentences or words which makes me annoyed so much,” Daniel said.
But not all students hate Turnitin as some students think that they have always tried to rephrase a lot to bypass the plagiarism-checking, and they also consider it as a tool to protect their original works.
Graham Henderson who runs the Twitter homepage of Turnitin said the Turnitin protects students’ work from unauthorized use and gives students who want to do their own work a good reason not to share their work with others.
“Many students have stated that they like the fact that Turnitin helps maintain a level playing field,” Mr Henderson said.
Dave Armstrong works at Monash College as a tutor said personal’s work should be original and protected so he will take the similarity result as a reference when marking essays but will identify the text’s originality.
Turnitin is just a teaching tool to help students develop a range of academic skills in an original, honest and responsible manner, but should not be a threat for detecting plagiarism.