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The Pros and Cons of Using a Plagiarism Checker for Teaching or Learning

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Currently, the influence of IT on the education system keeps progressing. The positive aspects of such a pattern are indisputable, taking an increase in the accessibility of data as well as an acceleration and simplification of different modes of communications. Today, students have the possibility to quickly and almost with zero extra cost use the sources and the required information, while only less than a decade ago it would force them to spend a much longer amount of time and resources. A similar principle applies to communication: a student can contact an educator from home, another region, and even from another country. Information technology also enables presenting material in a more visual way using different animations, diagrams, tables, and other interactive means. 

Thus, the main privileges of using information technologies in the academic realm encompass acceleration, simplification, and broadening of information exchange. However, all this also reflects an unfavorable circumstance and a negative side of informatization processes, because such easiness gives an impetus to a problem that has kept acquiring urgency in recent times, namely, the issue of plagiarism in the educational field. Accordingly, taking all these points, it will be useful to review pros and cons of plagiarizing for teaching or learning.

Detecting plagiarism as a demand of time

Plagiarism has turned into a really alarming problem in higher education in most countries. The proportion of the student’s projects with some apparent signs of plagiarism seems to progress geometrically. It is explained mainly by the spread of the web and digital technologies, the growing workload of teachers, plus total and absolute disrespect for copyright and a decreasing level of academic culture or the fear of being expelled. Accordingly, numerous educational institutions remain aware of the necessity for accepting a stringent policy of inadmissibility of plagiarism and taking strict measures to detect it in time. 

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Cons of using a plagiarism checker

Theoretically, a prevailing part of universities already  have a strict academic ethics policy, which touches upon the problem of plagiarism. Yet, there are particular cons of plagiarism check use that prevents its utilization by educators and learners in many universities:

  • Economic cost of high-quality plagiarism checkers;
  • Issue of compliance with privacy;
  • Weak regulation in academic realms.

The primary “con” in this list addressing plagiarism software for teachers seems to be an economic cost of plagiarism detection proposed by numerous services today. Major players in the field tend to offer various types of subscriptions for different clients. If this is an academic institution, teachers share the costs of implementing the policy, usually on a voluntary basis, striving to optimize their workflow. The latter suggests exclusion of plagiarized projects from the assessment process at the very start. Due to the voluntary basis, this approach does not usually apply to all subjects listed in the university curriculum, and students manage to find out relatively quickly which are the exact items that are exempt from control. 

Hence, when a university subscription is used, all teachers get comparatively flexible access to a plagiarism detection service, but a high-volume subscription is expensive. In each case, when all functions are added together, the cost of using a commercial plagiarism service for all disciplines taught at university can be unbearably high. 

Another “con” for being reluctant to use plagiarism tool for teachersis compliance with privacy and property laws, including retention policies for papers submitted for checking. The terms of such services include a clause that the service provider is granted rights to store copies of papers “forever,” justifying it by the need for an actual verification of the document. Also, the faculty or university also remain responsible for complying with all privacy and property regulations. Plus, the teacher and university tend to be granted the copyright of the content they scan.

Pros of using a plagiarism checker

Keeping in mind the reasons mentioned above, some institutions still ignore owning a proper toolkit for checking the originality of submitted assignments, preferring to pay higher attention only to graduate courses and theses. This is ironic considering that the junior year is the most efficient period for students to absorb all details of academic ethics and culture of responsibility. Specifically, as a result of some investigations of this problem, there was formulated a conclusion that plagiarism detection instruments represent a vital part of the strategy aimed at ethical reinforcement of the learners and teachers. The pros of it are as follows:

  • Training of ethical writing skills;
  • Bolstering an ability to use all sources within the allowed sets of rule;
  • Upgrading of a muscle of original ideas formulation;
  • A guarantee of a positive image as a student and teacher: 
  • For students, you are seen as a responsible learner;
  • As an educator, you demonstrate your dedication to the pedagogy and rising up of an ethically strong understudy.

Accordingly, the best plagiarism checker for teacherswould be the one suggesting an ethics training that they can propose for their students as well as those suggesting an active and qualitative participation of teachers and reviewers. Also, the anti-plagiarism systems should be self-sufficient, which means that they utilize specialized search algorithms, legally own databases with potentially unique content that is not openly available throughout the web spaces, plus operate on a relatively high speed if one compares it with meta search engines. Principles of work of self-sufficient systems suggest conversion of the checked paper or document into text and indexing the result. The indexing stage may imply selecting elementary textual fragments and lessening its number and, actually, constructing an index. Ultimately, when searching, systems similarly transform the reviewed project and search for “matching” parts, sorting the result.

Why use a plagiarizer for students

Considering all the pros and cons for teaching, it is easier to formulate an answer to the question “Why use a plagiarizer for students?” The points for and against are actually similar, which is the cost of the plagiarism checkers subscription and zero wish to grant copyright for your work to the commercial service or to the educational institution who checks the text. Yet still, it’s pros definitely outweigh the other points: the student gets an assurance that their project is fully original and that they have used the rules of references appropriately on every single page of the submitted document. Plus, it is understandable that the potential of the machine with access to digital databases is much higher than if a person attempts to check the text themselves.

Plus, the plagiarism checking services continually progress, overcoming all the problematic issues of checking the paper for uniqueness. To illustrate, the word-by-word search for text matches represents an extremely resource-intensive operation; the one can be simplified by searching not for separate words but individual fragments. The latter could be sentences; yet, they give a comparatively low search efficiency, so there was a solution of breaking the one into several parts or connecting the adjacent ones. This is why the checkers opt for using sequences of words extracted from a single submitted text.