Plagiarism & AI Detection

Changes to Turnitin AI Detection Tool at SMU

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As we constantly adapt to the changes in educational technologies, we have an important update regarding our use of the Turnitin anti-plagiarism tool. Since last year, SMU has been participating in a beta trial of Turnitin’s AI-based anti-plagiarism detection tool. However, as of December 31, 2023, SMU’s temporary license will expire for this specific function of Turnitin due to its extremely limited success and negative track-record.

Key Changes:

  • Turnitin’s Standard Features Remain: We will continue using Turnitin at SMU, but the AI writing detection scores and the AI writing report will no longer be available.
  • Transition Strategy for Instructors: With the AI detection tool disabled, we encourage instructors to adopt alternative strategies to address concerns about students using AI writing tools.

Strategies for Instructors:

  1. Early Communication: Engage in early discussions with students about the acceptable use of AI in academic work. Clear guidelines can help navigate AI’s role in your courses.
  2. Disclosure and Citations: If AI usage is allowed, ensure students disclose this and properly cite sources as per APA (2023) and MLA (2023) citation formats.
  3. Assignment Reformulation: Consider redesigning assignments to reduce reliance on AI. This can include in-class writing or topics that AI tools are less familiar with.
  4. Utilize Campus Resources: SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence offers resources on adapting courses to artificial intelligence. Visit their page on “Adapting your course to artificial intelligence” for more information.

Detecting Inappropriate AI Use:

  • Comparison with Previous Work: Check if the submitted work aligns with the student’s usual style and quality on previous drafts or assignments.
  • Fact-Checking: AI can sometimes create inaccurate or fictional information. Be vigilant for such inconsistencies.
  • Open Dialogue: If you suspect AI misuse, a straightforward conversation with the student can often clarify the situation.

Looking Ahead:

AI tools are becoming increasingly integrated into various platforms, including search engines and office software. As educators, it is crucial to stay informed and adapt our teaching methods accordingly. We appreciate your flexibility and commitment to academic integrity as SMU navigates these changes. For further assistance or inquiries, please feel free to reach out to SMU’s friendly academic technology support teams.

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Published by

Jason Warner

Associate CIO, Academic Technology Services