Plagiarism detection software: legal and pedagogical issues
The Law Teacher, 44, (2), . (doi:10.1080/03069400.2010.486165).
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The results of our assessments, apart from providing us with an assurance of the quality of our own provision, make representations to employers and other organisations that rely on our results. If universities are to continue to use essay-based coursework as a basis of assessment, we have to have confidence in it. The ease with which students can compile essays from Internet-based sources is a known and probably growing problem. Knowing of its existence, as professionals we are surely under an obligation to employ the best available techniques to counter it. In any event, it would send an unfortunate message to the world if, being aware of plagiarism possibilities, we have methods to counter them but choose not to use them. The only reasonable interpretation would be that we were condoning it. In principle, at least, the Internet can be used to conquer plagiarism, at least as successfully as, up to now, it has facilitated it. But using the Internet to fight a problem exacerbated by the Internet raises issues of both a legal and pedagogical nature. It is these issues which are examined in this article.
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