Edward O. Wilson is Pellegrino University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University. In addition to two Pulitzer Prizes (one of which he shares with Bert Hölldobler), Wilson has won many scientific awards, including the National Medal of Science and the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
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Earlier this week NPR’s All Things Considered ran a story on Turnitin, which describes itself as “the most innovative and effective online technology for evaluating student learning.” Its main feature is an enormous database against which instructors can check their students’ writing for “originality.” As the NPR segment explains, students are directed to upload their work straight to Turnitin, which compares the text against over 45 billion web pages, more than 337 million student papers, and well over 100 million articles from academic books and publications. Turnitin determines how much of a submission matches content from the database, flagging potential plagiarism f…