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Do you want to avoid plagiarism in academic activities? This startup figured out how to do it

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Do you want to avoid plagiarism in academic activities? This startup figured out how to do it
Do you want to avoid plagiarism in academic activities? This startup figured out how to do it

Turnitin is an online plagiarism prevention service that promotes academic integrity, efficient assessment and feedback, and helps improve academic outcomes in all subjects and levels of education.

The company was founded in 1998 when four students from the University of California at Berkeley filed a motion to review work between students.

Students had to submit their projects and comment on each other, but these young people found that their classmates had borrowed and copied their work. To end this situation, they introduced this review tool in 2000.

Today, Turnitin is an ally in promoting original thinking and authentic learning by developing cutting edge technologies that enable institutions to prevent plagiarism, provide formative feedback, receive comprehensive reports, and investigate academic misconduct. The company currently serves more than 15,000 institutions around the world and is headquartered in Oakland, California with international offices in the UK, the Netherlands, Australia, Korea, India and all of Latin America.

How does it work?

Turnitin uses cutting edge technology to perform various activities. One is to check the correspondence and similarity between texts. “A script is being written that we check against databases on the Internet that have published articles, academic journals, and works by other students. Similarly, we have additional technology to determine the authorship and verify that it is the student’s own words and work, ”says Catalina Londoño, the company’s professional and educational services manager for Latin America. They also have technology to evaluate student work.

Comprehensive and remote evaluation

Gradescope is Turnitin’s tool to ease the burden on teachers. “It’s a way of gathering information, reviewing it, and making it digital. After doing a transparent and quick assessment of the students and then checking the students’ performance in the activities we are assessing, ”says Londoño.

Gradescope strengthens the entire assessment process, works digitally and even with the help of artificial intelligence to group the students’ answers. It also reduces evaluation time by up to 80% and offers advanced learning statistics. This means that the one who does the evaluation is not the machine but the teacher, but the former helps them to group the works. The use of dynamic rubrics for the evaluation and the flexibility of the tool promote a transparent, fast and qualitative evaluation.

The teachers’ experience has been positive, as has the case of Rómulo Chumacero, Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Chile, who tells his students how to use the tools.

“With the Turnitin similarity checker I can quickly and thoroughly check the work submitted by students and compare it with databases containing documents from around the world,” said a statement by Chimacero.

“Gradescope was the most pleasant surprise I’ve had when it comes to digital tools. It’s a tool that allows you to design and correct reviews from an easy-to-use platform. It allows the same standards to be applied to all student assessments, it is very flexible about the type of assessment to be performed and it is very easy for students to use, ”he adds.


Courtesy of Turnitin

Academic Integrity

originality was released in 2020 and uses similarity checking technology. On this platform, through Draft Coach, students can self-manage and review the quality of their sources, their citing and referencing practices, observe the percentage of similarity of their works, and support their learning process, improve their writing and citing habits.

With this tool, teachers will have more time to ensure the quality of projects and academic integrity in their classes by providing relevant and timely information that will allow them to identify opportunities for dialogue and spot mistakes from students who will help more need.

Academic and educational trends

The interviewee points out that the pandemic accelerated digitization in the academic world. “We have seen changes in the way our customers have implemented their services in times of pandemic. We have seen changes in the way we use them. Obviously we are forced to move into this virtual world. It seems that digital is a trend that will last until we are comfortable returning to the classroom and personal world. We will probably end up in a hybrid and well globalized model, ”explains the executive.

The great thinkers of institutions in Latin America and around the world may see an opportunity to communicate and have the opportunity to share courses between institutions. “Certainly a mixture can be made at some point, and the idea is that integrity can also be guaranteed in these new virtual and ultimately hybrid versions, which seems to be the trend from now on,” adds the expert.

Pursuing and promoting academic integrity has three important components, says Londoño. The first has to do with institutional and government measures to promote the integrity of good practice, the second with pedagogical tools, that of the teacher with the student in his daily work; and the third is the technology to blend these three elements in such a way that promoting academic integrity complements all of the ingredients.

From Mexico to Latin America

Currently, the company has customers that include more and more higher education institutions, an average of 15,000 worldwide and more than 34 million students worldwide. Turnitin supports institutions and enables teachers to efficiently evaluate and protect the reputation of institutions.

The most famous customers in Mexico include: Editorial UNAM, Metropolitan Autonomous University, University of Monterrey, Autonomous University of Nuevo León, Anáhuac University.

The main and largest Turnitin office in Latin America is in Mexico, where there is a dedicated Latin American team that will serve the Mexican and Spanish markets.

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