Thursday, 1 July 2010

Report on Anne Flood's workshop

Turnitin 2

Anne Flood previews Turnitin 2

Anne began the session with a rundown of some of the new features in the new version of Turnitin. The key changes are:
  • The format of the original submitted document is preserved
  • There is a new intuitive menu structure
  • Search results in the originality report are clustered (by Primary Sources) to reduce ‘noise’. An improved drill down system allows you to click on these clusters to see the matches within
  • There is a single view for all tools – the originality report, Grademark and Peermark can all be displayed on the screen together or separately
The Classic view will also still be available.

Anne then went on to discuss the various Turnitin implementation methods. Screening all submitted work for plagiarism ensures that the work is that of the student who submitted it, and means that plagiarism should be easily identified. However this can lead to an increased work load for staff involved in the submission of work and in dealing with the plagiarism cases thereafter. Some institutions prefer only to screen work that appears suspicious for some reason – this leads to less workload but some well-written plagiarised work may be missed by the initial checking. Screening a fixed percentage of work as a sample is a good method for quality checking but will miss most cases of plagiarism. Some institutions even pay the licence fee for Turnitin and use it as a deterrent to prevent students from plagiarising their work, but do not actually make use of it.

Anne recommended that Turnitin be implemented in a formative way, and that students are fully supported in its use. This way students will be more aware of the issues surrounding plagiarism and how best to avoid it in their writing, and will receive formative feedback in a timely manner. In a survey of 3,000 students, 87% of students supported the use of Turnitin for plagiarism checking, and 76% felt it would discourage the submission of unacknowledged content. Anne also stressed that the interpretation of originality reports is very important as the match percentage does not always tell the whole story.

Paul Smith
e-Learning Support
Middlesex University

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