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I'm building a case for our principal to invest in Turnitin.
It's rather expensive so I can understand any reluctance.
Who has it?
Who thinks it's good value?
British International school, Vietnam

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We've used it for several years (independent high school: grades 9-12 in the US)

Our teachers have found it useful in the following ways:
- Making it easier to talk more deliberately about issues of poor citation (not just someone trying to cheat, but also students not realising how to cite, use info from other sources, etc. inappropriately).

- Students are aware that we take these issues seriously - this in itself is a deterrent to a lot of casual attempts to get away with something that might otherwise happen.

- For the rare cases when someone does copy, making it much easier to track that down.

- Making it easy for faculty to handle electronic submissions: Turnitin allows you to download a specific assignment from an entire class into a single folder, then review them and grade them, all without printing, and more tidily than relying on a teacher drop-box on the server (where the teacher still had to do some sorting by assignment, etc. )

- The way the due-date features work allow teachers to quickly see who's turned in a particular assignment or not.

We also really like the flexibility: most options are under the teacher's control, so they can adjust as they prefer. Some of our teachers want students to see the originality reports, others prefer not to. Some allow multiple drafts, others don't. It all depends on their teaching style (and sometimes on the specific assignment), and the site allows all of those variations (and more) easily.
You may be asking the wrong question, Alan. Many argue that it destroys the constructive relationship between students and their teachers.
Thank you everybody who responded.
I posted this on several forums. General response was positive, with some critics. Most critics are against it being used in a simple way as a big stick.
To me this was strange because I'd assumed its application as an aid was a given. Using big stick these days is just plain stupid.

My next question is, has anyone seen any viable alternatives?
I looked at the Shambles website list, but none seem half as impressive as Turnitin, nor as transparent I might add. The fact that Turnitin as getting critical press can only be good in my mind. It means a) they are worthy of attention, and b) criticism often leads to improvement.

So, what do you think?
Have you found any alternatives?

Cheers Alan
We use it at my school. I am at a Lutheran school that serves grades 6-12. We don't really use it with sixth graders but we do use it with grades 7-12 especially with essays and the research paper.
We use Turn It In and as the TL, I am in charge of setting up accounts and training staff and students in its use. This Tuesday, I worked with 142 students in Biology using the system. The importance of Turn It In is not just plagiarism. It is very instrumental in visually demonstrating to students the need for them to provide their personal analysis and synthesis of information. Many students are not aware of how important it is to synthesize the materials they review. Embedding quotes and citations is valuable but not if the finished document is disproportionately the work of outside sources. Some teachers do set a threshold of material from outside sources. Therefore students have to reconsider what they have written and how to add more of their individual work to the overall document.
Our district has it, and a few teachers in my school use it. Usually they sign up for an account but don't use it until they suspect plaigarism. I don't really see the negatives against it others have noted, but I'm not sure it's worth the money. There are open source applications out there that are similar.

If you do get it, make sure teachers get trained to use it. I think our teachers and students would have more of the benefits if the teachers took the time to use it. That being said, there's only so much time we have to train teachers on such technology and I'm not sure if this is the best use of that time.
We use and we love it as a preventative rather than punitive tool. The teachers also like the editing and rubric features. I have the principal pay for it.
This is the first year for our high school to use it. i subscribed to it for the school out of our library budget because I was seeing so much unintentional plagiarism. I thought we were really doing our college bound students a disservice if we didn't teach them to write well and to understand the difference between plagiarized and original work. We also needed to make them comfortable with submitting their work electronically and Turn It In is a good vehicle for that.

Our English teachers use the peer review and editing modules all the time; other teachers, not as much. All teachers give students the opportunity to submit their papers multiple times before the due date so students can self correct as much as they want and they can consult with their teachers if they don't understand the results. It is as much a teaching tool as anything else. There has never been a message of "I'm going to catch you cheating" associated with it as far as I can tell, at least in our school.

I offered a summer inservice, and the teachers who attended that are more comfortable with it than others so training seems to be important. Those teachers have pulled others in through their enthusiasm for the program. I will be evaluating its use sometime in January. I will be interested in what both teachers and students say about it.


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