Turnitin.com is a subscription website that can be used to detect plagiarism. Students and faculty submit papers to the website in course-specific folders. Students’ submissions are viewable only by the faculty member for the course. Because Turnitin.com checks each submission against a database of websites and previous paper submissions (within the course, from other courses and from other schools and universities), instructors can detect inappropriate use of sources and unauthorized collaboration among students. Each submitted paper receives an originality report that highlights passages that are similar to other sources and provides links to the original sources.
Turnitin.com can be very useful for administering paper submissions in multisection courses. Instructors can create a “master class” in which each Teaching Fellow maintains his/her own folder. All TF folders are viewable by the faculty member.
The use of this tool is covered in introductory Blackboard 8 training.
Google and Google Scholar
Google can be a simple, free, initial step in plagiarism detection. Samples of passages that differ in language or tone from the rest of a paper can be entered into Google’s search box. If there is a match with website content, a link to the source will be provided. While using Google for plagiarism detection can take only minutes, this process only identifies web-based sources. Other sources will not be identified including other students’ papers and scholarly work like journal articles and books. To detect plagiarism from scholarly works, instructors can try Google Scholar, which links to many scholarly databases.