Plagiarism checking or chequing?

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For under $5 students can check their own work on the Turnitin US site before submitting to their University's account. To the cynical student (and suspicious academic) this offers unsupported and asymmetric access to reports, encourages a mechanistic approach to writing, undermines the deterrent and detection effects of Turnitin, and supports attempts to disguise plagiarism rather than avoiding it.

There is no reason to suspect that this is an essay harvesting exercise, as is the case with other 'checking services'.  The submitted essays are not added to the Global database, students' subsequent submissions are not then compared with the 'original', and no such matches are flagged-up.

Should the 200+ UK HE customers aim to address this?  Are HEs driving their students to this by not supporting them adequately with academic skills support?

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