Tips for longevity

August 14, 2014

Your article “Turnitin ‘nears end of charmed life’ amid complaints over cost” (News, 31 July) might be because Turnitin has diversified from being a focused plagiarism detection service to become a comprehensive coursework submission, grading and feedback service.

The demands of providing this significantly enhanced service are probably what has led to the recent reports of poor customer service and increased licensing costs. There are alternative systems available for the electronic handling of coursework, but few alternatives to Turnitin for plagiarism detection.

The department of computing and information systems at the University of Greenwich has had its own in-house submission, grading and feedback system for more than 10 years, and staff have uploaded work in bulk from this system to the Turnitin plagiarism detection tool. This has been useful in detecting unacknowledged copying and in finding matches between students for the same coursework.

If Turnitin wants to extend its charmed life it might consider a two-tier pricing structure so that those who just want its excellent plagiarism detection service are not forced by its pricing policy to seek alternatives.

Ray Stoneham
Principal lecturer
Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Humanities
University of Greenwich

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