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Program protects against plagiarism, saves time

Heather Scott is an English teacher at Air Academy High School located on the grounds of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado. She is an advocate of using technology as part of the student learning process. The high school has a reputation for academic rigor and, with the help of Scott, began its technological transformation starting in 2005.

As technology became more widespread and intentionally used, teachers at Air Academy noticed that incidents of plagiarism were on the rise as well. The temptation to cut and paste was just too great, and after a few instances of plagiarism that were made stickier by the teacher not being able to pull up the suspected original material despite having a strong suspicion, members of the English department decided to look for a solution that would ensure that plagiarized papers did not become the norm. This, along with the over-arching goal of holding students to the highest of academic standards, was the deciding factor in looking for an anti-plagiarism program.

"We found that trying to Google excerpts from student papers was not a sufficient way to check for plagiarism," said Scott. "To streamline the process, we wanted to find a comprehensive program that would allow us to check for originality, keep electronic copies of student papers, manage paper load and easily transfer student work from year to year, and we found that with Turnitin." The program has been fully adopted across the English department and professional development days have been devoted to training teachers how to use the technology to facilitate peer review, to view originality reports and to use the program for student grading.

"With Turnitin, I'm at least 60-70% faster with my grading. As I become more proficient with using grade marks and rubrics my efficiency has increased even more. One of the hardest parts about being an English teacher is managing the grading load, however Turnitin provides me with a robust solution to help organize my files and significantly cut back on the amount of paper used in my classroom." The program also gives teachers a better grasp on how students are progressing with their writing and the peer review functionality gets students really engaged in the writing process. Air Academy plans to continue to use Turnitin as the school shifts toward a model of 21st century learning in the coming years where technology integration will be a key component to boosting student achievement.