Teachers who use computer programs to fight plagiarism should do so with a heaping dose of skepticism, reports the Dallas Morning News. Researchers at Texas Tech University tested two popular software programs that scan students’ essays for signs of plagiarism. The programs compare students’ work against a database of internet articles and academic journals and other essays. If a student uses the same phrases as something in the database, the essay is flagged. But more often than not, the Tech team found, what the computer programs flagged wasn’t plagiarism–it was common phrases such as "global warming" or "illegal immigration" or "a recent MIT study found." "Our whole point in doing this is that faculty, administrators, students, parents, whoever’s involved really need to know what the software is capable of and what the limitations are," said Susan Lang, one of the researchers and the director of Tech’s first-year composition program…

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