Reliable Turnitin alternatives for K12 – Ask a Tech Teacher

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Turnitin has long been the go-to resource for uncovering plagiarism in student work, but there are reasons why that may not be a good choice for you or your students. Here is a good discussion on the pros and cons of Turnitin as well as options available, from the Ask a Tech Teacher crew:

Reliable Turnitin Alternatives for K12

It was never a mystery that teachers get so many papers to check before a specific deadline that they’re often ready to drop everything and fall asleep at the end of the day. Irritation and stress from such tasks are like poison that makes instructors lose energy and harms their nerves. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has made the workload even heavier, many instructors have felt how awful it is to use an unreliable plagiarism checker. Many institutions still rely on Turnitin, but the professionals who must check dozens of essays on a daily basis know that this expensive service can be way too slow. 

Although it’s nearly impossible to find a Turnitin alternative free, there are cheaper and more reliable options. In this article, we’ll look at the reasons why Turnitin is so popular, and then we’ll examine several replacement options to choose the one that can truly increase your efficiency.

Turnitin dominates the market: Pros and cons

There are the people who claim that there’s no use trying if you can’t find a free plagiarism checker like Turnitin. Experienced instructors might believe this service is indispensable because it has been a huge success. Still, let’s take a look at the actual pros and cons of Turnitin.

Pros

  • Turnitin is the biggest and the oldest anti-plagiarism tool currently available. This is certainly a huge factor when it comes to popularity. Many instructors and administrators prefer a time-tested solution over something new and unknown.
  • This is the only service that can access the libraries like Elsevier/Scopus and Springer & Nature. In other words, Turnitin uses CrossRef databases indexed by IThenticate, which also belongs to this company. That’s quite an advantage since copied materials often come from peer-reviewed articles. The possibility to find the copied text and its exact source is worth a lot for many HigherEd teachers because their students use various and complex sources, unlike the high-school learners. 
  • The popularity of Turnitin also comes from acquiring competitors like Ephorus, VeriCite, Unicheck, and Ouriginal (that’s the name for Urkund and PlagScan too). When you own so many different brands, you can surely attract more customers. That’s a smart corporate strategy, although it means that users don’t get too many other plagiarism check services to choose from. 

Cons

  • The high price can irritate even the most profitable institutions. The pandemic has imposed massive economic challenges on all organizations, and higher education isn’t an exception. Consider additional payments or trainings, and you’ll understand that it’s an excellent idea to look for a quality Turnitin alternative.
  • Low flexibility is another major disadvantage. If you’ve ever needed to add more learners in the middle of the school year, you know what this is about. Not to mention that you’ll have to spend several hours teaching your students to write without plagiarism, and the program won’t offer too much help with that. 
  • Obsolete design isn’t just bad-looking, it’s inconvenient. It takes longer to use Turnitin because the service is behind in terms of interface understandability. As most instructors know, this means that their work will be very tiresome, which is terrible for everyone involved. 
  • The Turnitin support can get too slow when you need it most. The internet is full of guides on how to resolve various issues with Turnitin, but that’s still not enough to cover all possible problems. Many people say that the customer support of this service needs improvement because you might spend more time waiting than actually using the site.

3 popular Turnitin alternatives 

If you’re already on the quest to find a plagiarism checker like Turnitin, there are several popular alternatives to choose from. Let’s see what each of them offers before assessing which one is the best.

Everyone has heard of Grammarly. This service is famous for fixing grammatical errors, typos, and stylistic mishaps, but it can also scan texts for plagiarism. This 2-in-1 solution seems pretty nice, especially knowing that it has access to the ProQuest databases. 

Nevertheless, it’s not much of a tool that would suit teachers and their institutions. First and foremost, checking for plagiarism isn’t a priority for Grammarly, which means that teachers will see the mistakes of their students better, but they’ll still need to double check the originality of every essay. This process can definitely take a lot of time without optimizing anything. Hence, all you get from this alternative is unreliable plagiarism detection at a steep price. 

Copyleaks is the second plagiarism checker similar to Turnitin that caught our attention. This service offers to detect plagiarism and paraphrased content in more than 100 languages, which is definitely a plus. There are 3 types of similarity in the reports you can get from this site: identical, minor changes in the text, and related meaning. 

The website claims to have advanced machine learning technologies, however, Copyleaks “keeps” your texts after checking them. You can change this parameter in the settings, but that’s the standard option. Moreover, there’s an AI grading tool embedded in this system, but not many experienced teachers would be ready to use it. After all, no machine can evaluate like humans do, considering all the factors in the rubric and beyond, giving every student personalized feedback. 

PlagiarismCheck.org is the third option that’s not Turnitin but can be better in many key aspects. With a modern, flexible algorithm that’s all about saving your time, responsive support, and unlimited training, this one has quite a few advantages to offer. 

With PlagiarismCheck, you can find out if your students copy fragments of texts from each other, give them a chance to pre-check their essays for accidental plagiarism, and see if the stylistic patterns correspond to the alleged author. Administrators also note that this service is easy-to-integrate, with flexible assignment settings in Canvas and Moodle. Add the subscription prices that allow saving up to half of the money you’d spend on Turnitin, and you’ll get the general idea about this anti-plagiarism tool.

Which plagiarism checker is better than Turnitin?

After reviewing several websites like Turnitin, we’ve come to the conclusion that there’s one alternative that stands out among the rest. That’s PlagiarismCheck.org, and here’s why. 

  • This service spots exact matches and manipulations such as paraphrasing and stylistic changes. These features give you the possibility to detect almost any masked cheating, no matter how hard a dishonest learner tries. 
  • PlagiarismCheck never distracts you by flagging small words. Instead, this service focuses on semantic similarities that really matter without bringing out commonplace constructions. However, no cheating techniques like adding special symbols will escape your attention with this checker.
  • The search across the internet includes several authorized databases and the repository of your institution for peer-to-peer checks. That means that you’ll definitely catch plagiarism between students and from any other sources. Then you can save time you could spend grading the unoriginal work or googling “Turnitin alternative Reddit.”
  • No cooldown period or limits. PlagiarismCheck is really fast, so this service allows you to automate your work as a teacher without sacrificing precision. You can explain your grades better and get an hour or two to spare. 
  • The price is considerably lower, while flexibility is higher. On average, the subscriptions for this service cost 2 times less than the similar solutions by Turnitin. This is one of the main factors that make PlagiarismCheck the best Turnitin alternative.
  • Success dashboards for students and institutions. This element helps educators and learners collaborate more effectively and see their space for improvement. Your students will get more responsible, and you’ll receive another opportunity to build mutual trust with them. 
  • Google docs add-on that makes your students more aware of their issues. As a teacher, you probably know how much stress learners undergo when thinking about accidental plagiarism. This feature can make them feel more secure and improve the quality of their papers. 

As you can see, PlagiarismCheck.org has a comprehensive approach to the issues that educators commonly face. The education professionals who need a reliable anti-plagiarism tool often struggle to find something that combines flexibility and versatility with affordability. That’s why this Turnitin alternative will definitely satisfy most of your needs. 

Moreover, PlagiarismCheck saves the time of teachers and supports their students, helping them craft original essays and avoid accidental mishaps. That’s why this tool can help you individualize your approach to each learner and eliminate cheating once and for all.

The best alternative is at your disposal

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to find a free plagiarism checker similar to Turnitin, but there are nicer alternatives to this service. At the end of the day, a limited number of checks, inconvenient design, and low flexibility can infuriate almost anyone, and these are the chief disadvantages of the most popular anti-plagiarism tool. Unresponsive support doesn’t add much positivity to everyday routines when you often need information as soon as possible.

We’ve reviewed several options for the teachers and schools who are dissatisfied with how slow and inconvenient Turnitin can be. After all the observations, we can say for sure that PlagiarismCheck.org is the most convenient option available. Lower price and an advanced range of features for teachers are the advantages that make this plagiarism checker the best alternative to Turnitin

–image credit DepositPhotos


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

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