It seems there is something called the Conference on College Composition and Communication and at this year’s meeting one hot topic was how to teach students “academic integrity”.
Generally, the speakers advocated for a balanced approach to the topic as they “spoke of the importance of not relying on plagiarism-detection software, which they said may scare but doesn’t instruct”.
Of course, that kind of rational, not to mention instructionally sound, discussion of the issue is bad for business.
If you notice more positive discussion of plagiarism-detection software at next year’s meeting, in San Francisco, it might be because Turnitin.com is hoping to pay for some instructors to go there. The company sent out an e-mail message this week to professors at colleges that use the popular service, telling them that if they apply to be on a panel at the conference to talk about plagiarism-detection services, the company will consider paying for them to go. The company also asked that instructors send it copies of their proposed papers – but the company didn’t inform the 4C’s (as the association is known), which will be judging proposed topics.
And there’s something else we should be teaching students: always ask questions about who is presenting information to you and why.