Automated Plagiarism Detection as Opportunity for Education on Copyright and Media

Authored by: Clancy Ratliff

The Routledge Companion to Media Education, Copyright, and Fair Use

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138638891
eBook ISBN: 9781315637549
Adobe ISBN:


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In education circles, teachers and scholars have been talking and writing for over a decade about two technologies: plagiarism detection services (PDS) and automated essay scoring (AES). These have, however, been separate conversations, even though the two types of software perform essentially the same function of automating key parts of writing instruction. A key part of media education is teaching about copyright and ownership of intellectual and creative work, and this chapter contributes to that purpose. By using ideas from George Landow’s speculative fiction short story “Ms. Austen’s Submission” and the legal challenge to Turnitin from students and by submitting one of my own undergraduate essays to a plagiarism detection service, I show the embedded ideas about pedagogy and authorship that connect both AES, which has been met with strong criticism from educators, and PDS, which tends to be viewed more favorably, as a helpful tool that saves teachers’ time.

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