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TurnItIn: How Does it Work for University Students


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When you get to university, there will be a large amount of software that you will use at university, one of the most likely of these is the software known as TurnItIn. This is one of the very definitions of a necessary evil, if you want to go far at university. It is a requirement to be implemented by most universities for their various courses, and you will need to learn everything about it, but first of all, let’s tell you a little bit more about what TurnItIn is (However, if we use any terms that you’re a little unsure of, be sure to check our a university terms glossary, that can help you, if you need).


Well, Turnitin is a university software that is mainly used by students to submit student essays to the Turnitin website, which will then check the uploaded document for unoriginal or any sort of plagiarised content. This is mainly used by universities that are looking to mark student essays, but plenty of high schools have been adopting the software too as they introduce students to the ideas of essays and also to the world of university, with many high schools offering a crash course in the software. TurnItIn is not the only software that universities will be using to check your essays, but this is the most likely one to be used.


The software has come under a fair amount of criticism over the years, students often criticise the software as they feel that the software (And others like it) indicates a presumption of guilt on behalf of the university.


The presumption of guilt means that university students often refuse to submit their work onto the platform, however, this often doesn’t turn out to be quite the dramatic gesture that they had hoped for, because many universities will refuse to mark essays that are no uploaded onto the platform or that has not been checked through it.


The software itself is made by a company called iParadigms, and they themselves have been accused of “Arming both sides of the plagiarism war” – according to Alex Tabarrok, for the part that they play in their other software WriteCheck, which informs students if they will get caught out on plagiarism.


Plenty of students have tried to argue against the use of the software in their universities and have argued against the ruling of copyright infringement over student’s work and also whether or not the presumed guilt that the software implies is due course to have their work uploaded. Many students have won cases over the software and others have lost as a result of no reading the terms and conditions.


We don’t take a side in either side of the argument, but we feel that you should know the ins and outs of the subjects before you sign up to the software and before you allow your university to use your essays in this way. That being said, there are plenty of students who are in full support of the software, as they are aware of plenty of students that do use plagiarism as a way of achieving higher grades, TurnItIn will always have a place in most universities, but we recommend that you use the software, as most universities will decline to mark work that is no submitted through the platform.


The software itself will help you to check for plagiarism, and will also have a grammar check in many editions of the software as well, which can also help you out with various elements of your essays outside of plagiarism, however, another good software to use for grammar-checking is that of Grammerly, which will check your work in little-to-no-time and will show you the mistakes you have made.


So there it is, TurnItIn, the software that you’re most likely to use when at university, we recommend that you use caution when using any third party software that you’ve not used before, but don’t worry, you’ll be fine using anything that university tells you, just remain cautious at all times and good luck!

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