To Aston University for the February Turnitin User Group meeting. (It’s always fun to try and spot fellow attendees at the venue train station: look for clues like tightly-clutched GoogleMaps and Google Walking Directions – beta only – and the general air of harassed bewilderment at being let out of the office that marks a typical learning technologist..!)
These user group meetings take place twice a year and are an excellent forum for quizzing Turnitin representatives on the future direction and development of the software, to find out about issues and bugs in the system, and to eat like a prince! They are also an excellent space for hearing about and sharing excellent practice with the Turnitin suite of products. This year GradeMark and electronic marking generally are being increasingly adopted as one part of institutional strategies to deal with large marking loads, improving the quality and timeliness of feedback to students, and reducing the administrative burden of student submissions management processes.
One particularly persuasive presentation detailed the experience of shifting to electronic marking with GradeMark and we are planning to invite the speaker to come and talk at Liverpool in the near future (details will appear via Twitter, the eLU website, mailing list and e-learning network meeting).
Otherwise, amongst the news of Turnitin updates and improvements we noted some significant developments on the pixelated horizon:
- A group assignment facility is being planned for Turnitin
- GradeMark stats is getting an overhaul
- Turnitin will start handling translated plagiarism (late 2011)
- Blackboard direct integration, which will eliminate some annoying bugs which occur in Grade Center columns for Turnitin assignments.
We were also reminded that Turnitin run online training sessions and seminars which are freely available as follows:
- Introduction to Turnitin2 (no need to register): schedule and password details here
- Seminar series (run on Wednesday afternoons) on general plagiarism-related topics – pre-session registration required here
Finally, if you do have any comments or thoughts on how Turnitin, GradeMark or PeerMark could be improved to suit your needs, you have access to the Turnitin User Voice forum. This is accessed from any Turnitin classlist in any of your modules that contain a Turnitin assignment. Go to the Control Panel, Course Tools, click on the TurnitinUK Assignments link, open an assignment page. There is a link at the very top right of the page called ‘Feedback’. This is where you will find lists of ideas and requests for improvements to Turnitin. You can vote for ideas you like and add your own for people to read and vote for in turn (please do get in touch with the eLearning Unit if you need any advice on this).
Turnitin do take note of and act on these suggestions, using them to refine and develop the software so it is well worth getting involved with the user voice site.