University of Colorado faculty have long had access to a software program that can help spot plagiarism, and now it will offer evaluation of grammar, spelling and punctuation errors.
The software – Turnitin.com – has been at CU since the 2002-2003 school year. The service recently announced a new tool called the “e-rater” that can spot grammar issues to help teachers evaluate student work. Turnitin.com boasts that the software’s functions are based on more than 10 years of linguistic research. It can give teachers input on grammar, spelling, writing style and more.
However, the idea doesn’t sit well with all students – who are wary of software scanning their work for errors vs. the human eye. About half of CU’s instructors use Turnitin.com to catch cheats.
Some say the service will help teachers save time. Classes are getting larger and that means more work to evaluate. Supporters of the idea say the ability of software to check for grammar and spelling frees up teachers to focus on the ideas and content that students are presenting.
Nationwide, about 3,000 schools use Turnitin.com. Still, some say they don’t like the idea of machines helping grade their work. Others say students should just use spelling and grammar checkers that come with software like Word.