Starting April 2018, Turnitin.com, the popular plagiarism prevention tool used by many professors, will start accepting submissions by fax and begin shutting down the online portion of its service. This move is a major part of a larger initiative by Turnitin to streamline its entire service and make the tool more accessible for all students and their instructors.
With its new system, Turnitin promises to make turning in essays and lab reports a breeze for students and grading them simpler for teachers and professors. Students can turn in their work by faxing it to (512) 879-8839 with a cover page listing their teacher’s fax number along with a few other submission details. After Turnitin completes its plagiarism analysis on the submission, the annotated essay will then be faxed to the teacher. The Chief Executive Officer of Turnitin.com, Chris Caren, predicted the new fax service will result in “a huge leap in efficiency and accuracy of our plagiarism prevention service and an intuitive experience for high school and college students that are more comfortable with fax technology.”
In the modern, ever-changing technological landscape, fax is quickly emerging as a leader, and Turnitin advertised that it “champions the use of fax.” Fax, short for telefacsimile, uses America’s already installed and extensive network of phone lines to send copies of documents to any other fax machine connected to this network. According to Turnitin Chief Technical Officer Ron Park, this technology has several advantages over the widely used internet which connects computers and other devices with its own network of tubes. “Fax is more secure and can’t be easily hacked, unlike computers connected to the world wide web,” explained Park. “In addition, faxing a document prints out a warm printed sheet of paper which feels and smells really nice.”
The general attitude by college campuses across the nation was generally positive with many excited for the new change. In an exclusive one-on-one interview, Samantha Carr, a nursing major at California State University, Dominguez Hills, told reporters, “I like to use fax machines because sometimes they make a fun beeping noise.” Chris Hatrick shares the same sentiment, tweeting: “thanks to the new fax system at turnitin I can finally get rid of this piece of junk”; attached was a video of him tossing a MacBook Pro out of his second story window. However, not all are as optimistic about this change. A student of the University of Texas at Austin, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from Turnitin.com, told reporters, “I hate Turnitin’s new system. It can go fax itself.”
Turnitin has started sending out information on fax submissions to instructors and their students in hopes that everyone is ready for the switch to fax in April. However, its website will remain functional and continue accepting submissions for a few months after the flagship fax service launches to allow instructors to catch up and adapt to the latest technology.