Despite the doors to the usergroup meeting being obscured by thick clouds of smoke from a barbecue for new postgraduates, and my somehow first ending up in a student union bar, I attended the second Turnitin usergroup meeting of the year this Wednesday 21st September.
The first session of the day detailed some of the new features in the next few releases of Turnitin over the coming year (a few of which had come from the Turnitin Feedback Forum – see this post) including something for fans of the iPad. Not included in the current plans is any kind of facility for double marking, which was noted with some dismay at the meeting. We were encouraged to use the Feedback Forum to raise the profile of this much-desired feature and get it on the development agenda.
- Integration of the ETS e-rater – an automated spelling and grammar checker
- Facility to grant extensions for Turnitin assignments
- Removing maximum term lengths for Turnitin classes (useful for modules running over a number of years)
- Audio comments in GradeMark papers
- Expanded GradeMark Rubric work area
- GradeMark – improved analytics and reporting functions (by student, by class and by institution)
- Originality checking – translated matching (checking across languages)
- GradeMark – support for tablets including iPads
Some interesting numbers were crunched for us:
- 45 million content matches were made between June 2010 and 2011 for papers submitted in the UK
- Of those matches:
- 54% were from academic sites (journals, e-books etc)
- 14% were from social networks/content sharing sites
- 6% were from essay banks
- And the most frequently matched site…Wikipedia…
After lunch members of the usergroup presented sessions on:
- ‘Efficacy of Turnitin in Support of an Institutional Plagiarism Policy’
- ‘Routine use of Turnitin for PhD and Masters submissions’
- ‘Reducing accidental plagiarism: how we did it at Imperial’
- ‘Implementing Grademark: Lessons from Cardiff University’
If anyone wants to find out more about any of the above sessions then please do get in touch, either leaving a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It was certainly interesting to hear about the top-level thinking at other institutions around services like Turnitin and GradeMark and how these can be used to used to further strategic aims and goals, from the reduction of staff administrative burdens to improving the quality and timeliness of feedback to students.
The final session of the day was a link-up with one of the development team in the USA. It was extremely useful (and re-assuring) to hear about some of the latest infrastructural upgrades made, from disaster contingencies (they have an entire ‘spare’ set of servers they can switch to in minutes) to planning for the galloping increase in use of the service at the moment.
The next meeting of the usergroup will be in Edinburgh, February 8th 2012. As ever, if you would like any comments or questions taken up with the Turnitin team then please do get in touch so we can take these to the meeting for you.