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Anti-Plagiarism Tools

Turnitin Developing Tech to Detect Contract Cheating

Contract cheating — the use of custom writing services to produce coursework — may soon be harder for students to get away with. Turnitin, a provide of plagiarism detection, online grading and peer review tools, is developing new technology to help identify and investigate the practice. 

Slated to be available in the second half of 2018, Authorship Investigation will use "a combination of machine learning algorithms and forensic linguistic best practices to detect major differences in students' writing style between papers," according to a news announcement. Turnitin has partnered with a number of higher ed institutions in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia to advise on product development: Deakin University, Griffith University, University of California San Diego, University of New South Wales, University of Northampton, University of Queensland and University of Wollongong.

"Academic integrity is at the foundation of the educational enterprise and contract cheating poses a serious threat to that foundation," said Tricia Bertram Gallant, director of academic integrity at UC San Diego, in a statement. "Ultimately paying attention to pedagogy and assessment design is the best method for preventing contract cheating, but when it happens regardless it would be useful to have a tool to help identify it."

"Educational institutions around the world stand united in our commitment to academic integrity. We must constantly adapt and adjust our approach to it in the face of new challenges as they emerge such as contract cheating," commented Cath Ellis, associate dean (Education) in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales. "A new industry is servicing a demand for assessment work to be completed to order for students so it goes unnoticed by existing detection tools. Something that enables institutions to identify when this is happening in a way that is both efficient and effective is going to be a big step forward."

For more information, visit the Turnitin site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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