There were two new things the Fall 2010 semester:First, it was my first semester that I was teaching being a tenured faculty member. Thisallowed me to be a little bit more relaxed and also stricter on things related to cheating.Second, for the first time, our
installation had full integration with
.For those unfamiliar with these, Blackboard is a course management system, andTurnitin is a plagiarism-detection software. The integration meant that when studentswere submitting assignments, these uploaded documents were automatically processedby Turnitin to product originality reports.Turnitin has a huge database of assignments (all assignments submitted to Turnitinbecome part of their database) and also checks the Internet to locate parts of theassignment that may be copied from a web site. (For those curious about thetechnicalities, the detection seems to happen by checking for unusual n-gramsappearing in two or more documents.) For essay-based assignments, you can beassured that Turnitin will detect most cases of plagiarism.So, given the ease of deployment, I decided to use Turnitin, for the first time. I loaded allmy past assignments on Turnitin, from all prior semesters, and configured Blackboard toautomatically process all new assignments through the Turnitin software.
First assignment out: Essay about WiMax, LTE and the future of wirelesscommunications
The first assignment of the semester was asking students to study the technologies for"4G" wireless data transfer, and understand how the choice of the underlyingtechnologies by the wireless carriers can affect their strategies. To make theassignment different than the one distributed last year, I also added questions aboutLTE, in addition to the WiMax questions that we were using before.The assignments came back, and here is how the Turnitin report looked like: