Using Turnitin As a Tool For Attribution In Cases Of Contract Cheating


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This talk, from the HEA STEM Conference 2014, looks at research into the attribution of contract cheating cases found on agency websites. Previously, contract cheating detectives have struggled to attribute many assignment briefs found online. This presentation provides examples of assignment briefs that have been attributed through the use of Turnitin, adding a powerful weapon to the arsenal of the contract cheating detective. The full paper associated with this presentation, containing more details about the data collected, is available from the Higher Education Academy.

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Using Turnitin As a Tool For Attribution In Cases Of Contract Cheating

  1. 1. @MyBCU #contractcheating 1 Using Turnitin As a Tool For Attribution In Cases Of Contract Cheating Thomas Lancaster & Robert Clarke Birmingham City University HEA STEM Conference 2014
  2. 2. @MyBCU #contractcheating 2 Contract Cheating A student uses a third party to produce academic work for them
  3. 3. @MyBCU #contractcheating 3 Business Card Distributed During Induction Week At Birmingham City University
  4. 4. @MyBCU #contractcheating 4 Business Card Distributed During Induction Week At Birmingham City University
  5. 5. @MyBCU #contractcheating 5 Turnitin Turnitin is a text matching service, used to identify students copying from external services and colluding with other students
  6. 6. @MyBCU #contractcheating 6 Contract Cheating Work produced using contract cheating is original, so Turnitin will not identify sources for this work
  7. 7. @MyBCU #contractcheating 7 Attribution The challenging process where a contract cheating detective tries to identify the university that student contract cheating requests found online are from Most of our work is based around the agency site
  8. 8. @MyBCU #contractcheating 8 Some Success Running student contract cheating requests through Turnitin has started to show interesting results for a small number cases
  9. 9. @MyBCU #contractcheating 9 Turnitin Example 1 Large match to assignment brief
  10. 10. @MyBCU #contractcheating 10 Turnitin Example 2 Multiple small hits from the same source
  11. 11. @MyBCU #contractcheating 11 Turnitin Example 3 No matches when first posted But received request to view from another university when it matched one of their assignments 2 months later
  12. 12. @MyBCU #contractcheating 12 Turnitin Example 4 Turnitin Report from Posting in Jan 2014 Shows that same stock assignment has been used before in previous years provides stock answers
  13. 13. @MyBCU #contractcheating 13 Turnitin Example 5a Freelancer request to re-write assignment Source located by Turnitin
  14. 14. @MyBCU #contractcheating 14 Turnitin Example 5b We try to follow up other postings. This was made by the same person as before and matches the same source
  15. 15. @MyBCU #contractcheating 15 Turnitin Example 6 Multiple sources for EdExcel courses Example of “false positive” matches
  16. 16. @MyBCU #contractcheating 16 Turnitin Example 7 Turnitin also matches public web sites Particularly useful if “old data” not found by Google
  17. 17. @MyBCU #contractcheating 17 Turnitin Example 8 Multiple hits, but no response to Turnitin requests Possible problems: Staff Turnover University no longer registered with Turnitin
  18. 18. @MyBCU #contractcheating 18 Current Use Turnitin is now allowing contract cheating detectives to attribute work that has not been identified using other methods 29% success rate based on sample in paper Recommendation – academics should load all assignment specifications into Turnitin
  19. 19. @MyBCU #contractcheating 19 Resources Wikipedia: Contract Cheating Special Interest Group (supported by the Higher Education Academy): bin/webadmin?A0=CONTRACTCHEATING Materials from recent HEA STEM Contract Cheating Workshop: ng_Contract_Birmingham
  20. 20. @MyBCU #contractcheating 20 For More Information Thomas Lancaster Email: Website: Twitter: @DrLancaster Robert Clarke Email: Slides Available At
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