March 15, 2005 (Vol. 25, No. 6)
Strong Points: Broad educational view, novelty
Weak Points: Needs Still broader focus
Only a caveperson would not know that the Web has had a tremendous impact on education. Providing access to virtually unlimited amounts of information, the medium can help well meaning students put together reports easily. On the other hand, ready access to information also provides less-than-honest students with extensive plagiaristic opportunities. How does a teacher balance opportunity and dishonesty? One approach is on view at the Turnitin site, where a proprietary system provides scanning of student reports for comparison across the Web as a means of identifying plagiarism. Other aspects of the site provide online markups of student papers, a gradebook tool for managing grades, an interesting peer review component that lets students collaborate with each other, and a digital portfolio archiving system. With its several creative online tools, Turnitin provides a glimpse of the virtual classroom of the future.