Turn It Down

Concordia has implemented a policy on social networking that grants students the right to not submit their work to a third party website in an academic context.

In a written statement release on Jan. 17, Provost David Graham said that “it can’t be a requirement to have students submit their work to websites that ultimately would cause them to forfeit the ownership of their work.”

Vice-Provost Teaching and Learning Olivier Dyens said that Quebec and Canadian Laws are strict about privacy, and that the law requires the university to advise students about the dangers and potential issues that might come about when using social networking for academic purposes.

“Our biggest dilemma,” said Dyens, “is that [social networking tools] can really enhance students’ experiences. There are many positive things about them, and we want to use social tools—but we have to be careful.”

The policy will also affect professors who use Turn It In, a plagiarism detecting website that compares data from millions of papers submitted by students from all over the world. According to Dyens, Concordia is looking to replace Turn It In with a similar tool that can be accessed through MyConcordia, but that will scramble the submitted information so that students’ privacy is kept untouched.

This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 20, published January 25, 2011.

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