Turnitin: Turning Bane into Boon
Plagiarism has been one of the most consequential concerns of both teachers and students in a writing class. Numerous plagiarism checkers are available for free on the net that can ease their writing and marking tasks somehow. Turnitin, although expensive, is widely availed around the world due to its massive repository. Further, many institutions included this software application in their learning management system (LMS) when the pandemic forced everyone to take full online classes. Hence, it is important for both teachers and students to understand Turnitin's nature in order to maximize its usage.
Last November 2020, I published my second article on Turnitin. This article enumerated teachers’ three most common misconceptions and misuses on Turnitin. This November 2021, I shared this article to my students for them to be more acquainted with this software’s functions. To maximize the potential of the article, I asked them of their common misconceptions, too. This way, they can all properly categorize their learnings – eradicate the incorrect and invest on the correct concepts.
In general, my students admitted how Turnitin terrified and scared them away from the importance of the writing process and learning. However, they also acknowledged their realizations from these wrong perceptions. Below is the highlight of Von Billones’ work. He was able to encapsulate students’ most common misconceptions and realizations on the use of Turnitin into three:
1. Turnitin as an Antagonist
A number of students have the notion that Turnitin is the culprit behind their undesirable scores. However, the software is not to be shunned; instead, it is to be appreciated. That is the evidence of learning; through the percentage, students can recognize the shortcomings of their works. Ergo, in future writings, awareness and those learnings could be employed. If these points are applied, Turnitin is in fact a protagonist.
2. Turnitin as a Restrainer
The percentage of Turnitin can be intimidating, especially if the percentage is significant. Many learners are terrified upon seeing their percentage result and they feel restraint in writing and revising. However, as Bensal (2020) asserted, "Turnitin is a guide, not a decision-maker" ("A Thread of Torturing”, para. 3). The similarity index does not refer to the student's capabilities; instead, it highlights the student’s works that may need development or alterations. Therefore, Turnitin can be a good guide to writers, most especially for the novice ones.
3. Turnitin as a Downgrader
Downgrader (the gadget used when playing Completing the Mission) when used could lead to a complete failure. Students often see Turnitin as a downgrader. It is a demoting platform since some original phrases or common sentences are included in the total percentage result. Without complete understanding of its nature, this could disappoint or discourage students. Hence, they have to be told that Turnitin cannot only help them to detect accidental plagiarism, but it can also aid them to build humility because it allows them to revise their work in the most honest way possible. Thus, this software is an instrument to encourage students to be noble and esteem with their learning and writing approaches (Bensal, 2020, “Using it as a Death Sentence” section, para 4).
As his epilogue, he asserted that Bensal’s (2020) article on Turnitin is interestingly educating and gravitating because it broke the common stigmas associated with the use of Turnitin. He claimed that Turnitin should not be seen as the villain but as a powerful tool for us to grow and learn even more. With that being said, he emphasized the article’s essence which is academic liberty and highlighted that “learning is effective when they (students) see and experience it themselves" ("Using it as a Death Sentence" section, para. 3).
Reading my article and listening from our class lecture, many of their stereotypes were dismantled such as “typically using it solely for academic works, using fewer resources in order to reduce percentage results, and using it simply to meet the subject requirements” (Amazona, 2020, para. 1).
Indeed, full understanding of the functions of a software and its correct application are both paramount to achieve quality education. This will only be possible if there is a strong partnership between and among stakeholders. In this case, both students and teachers should use Turnitin as a means and not the end.
Amazona, R. (2020). Turnitin and plagiarism reflection. Canvas Learning Management System.
Bensal, E. R. (2020). A thread of torturing and tutoring in using Turnitin. Edwina R. Bensal. https://www.edwinarbensal.com/post/tuning-teachers-turnitin-the-connection-of-torturing-and-tutoring-with-the-use-of-turnitin
Billones, V. A. (2020). Turnitin and plagiarism reflection. Canvas Learning Management System.
***All three photos were hyperlinked to the owners' account as credits belong to them.