This Turnitin user group meeting came at an important time for the Learning systems team, as we think about how best to support the goals of our institution and our users with tools for managing assessments.
A lot was covered in the discussions, but I’m just going to pick out the areas that were particularly relevant for us.
Support issues – challenges and how they will be addressed
Tom Rees (Product Specialist Lead in Newcastle) talked about the challenges that the support team had faced over the last year, caused by unpredicted high growth in the user base. Support hours based in the UK were being extended to 7.00 to 17.30 Mon-Fri with some weekend cover too. A nasty reminder that using Turnitin can involve support issues outside of the control of your own institution, and that this needs to be factored in to any policy.
There was also a detailed conversation about how Turnitin should communicate information about specific problems. The general approach is to offer a number of channels so that institutions can pick what suits them.
https://twitter.com/TurnitinStatus (option to enable mobile alerts)
Strategy, implementation and training resources
Strategy, policy and procedures
Helpful resources available at http://www.plagiarismadvice.org/
- 10 key resources for an institution developing its academic integrity / plagiarism policy – looks like some very useful stuff, extremely relevant for Sussex at the moment
- research papers
- blog – plagiarism in the news
Grademark online tutorial: http://www.turnitin.com/demo/dv
The tutorial is set within the Turnitin document viewer and invites the trainee to carry out a series of tasks that enable them to use Grademark features in a real marking exercise. For Sussex, where we are keen to give our lecturers and senior managers a flavour of using Grademark, this could provide a very easy, low stakes way of doing it.
Marking schemas in Grademark
One of Grademark’s strengths is that it makes it relatively easy for marking schemas (Grademark calls them rubrics) to be shared with appropriate staff. For large class sizes where a number of faculty and associate tutors will be marking work, the use of schemas can help with maintaining consistency. The US Common Core State Standards (CCSS) initiative has authored some rubrics for assessment of maths and writing skills at levels K9-12 (translation – secondary school age), and Turnitin has built these into Grademark for its US market. Some of these have been made available for UK institutions. They aren’t directly relevant, but they give a good idea of how to implement a coherent rubric.
ACTION: embed into Grademark on test platform for demo purposes.
Turnitin – new developments
Will Murray, VP of International at Turnitin, presented the product development news.
Keeping up to date with information about product
Quarterly product talks from Tabitha Edwards (Product Manager):http://pages.turnitin.com/talk.html
Document viewer memory leaks – March 2013
Will confirmed that there had been some real issues with the document viewer in Turnitin (this is the screen that you use to view the Turnitin report or to mark within Grademark), including some memory leaks that had been particularly challenging.
Will acknowledged that the Turnitin platform had creaked at times, and had caused significant inconvenience to users with assessment deadlines.
Christopher Minson had been appointed as VP for Engineering, with a remit to make considerable improvements to the QA process. “We are going to start testing software before releasing it.”
iPad app for Grademark – May 2013
This was probably the announcement that generated the most interest in the room, judging by the tweets at any rate.
The iPad app is due to be released in May 2013. The date at the meeting for it being publically available within the App Store was 3 May 2013, but the circulated notes from the meeting indicated that this had slipped, but not what the new target date was.
It uses “class based authentication” – in other words, the tutor needs to get a code for the assessment they wish to mark from their usual Turnitin grading screen. They then enter this code into the iPad app in order to download the student work and associated materials including marking schemas.
The iPad app will make it easy to see which student work has been marked and which has not.
From the iPad app, the tutor will be able to view the Originality report, and see which text in the student’s work matched sources within the TII database.
The app will allow tutors to add Grademark’s quickmarks – the pre-prepared marking comments. It also supports the use of marking schemas.
The great news is that this will provide an offline tool for marking using Grademark on an iPad.
Is this going to be our tutors’ preferred marking style?
Interestingly though, Will confirmed that there were no current plans to produce an offline version of Grademark for laptops / desktops.
There is also no current plan to release an Android app.
Document viewer version 2 – Q3 2013
This project is due to run for the next 6 months, based in Newcastle. The aim is the rewrite the document viewer so that it uses the HTML5 Canvas element, and to improve the speed and fluidity of the viewer.
Support for multiple markers in Grademark – Q4 2013
This sounds like a useful feature that brings in the idea of review layers. Review layers enable multiple markers to work independently. The initial release will not implement privacy, so all markers will be able to view all layers, but further releases will enable this.
Changes to marking will be tracked, and an audit tool provided.
Admin tools – Q4 2013
As we move to supporting more complex setups in Turnitin than we do at present, the new admin tools are likely to be extremely useful. The tools are basic admin tools that really should have been there all along. When we are using Turnitin more widely across the institution, we will need to factor in the costs of additional support for staff and students. We will need Turnitin admins who can bridge the gap from moodle into Turnitin and be able to confidently manage Turnitin assessments within the Turnitin interface when necessary. These tools should help with that.