New Turnitin features – August 2015

In this summer’s upgrade to VITAL there were a couple of enhancements to Turnitin worth knowing about.

1. New 40MB file upload size limit. The previous limit was 20MB. Students can now submit one file of up to 40MB to a Turnitin assignment.

2. ‘Email late submitters’ facility.​ Send an email to all students who have not yet submitted to an assignment. This feature also works with anonymised assignments.

And as a refresher, there have been a number of useful new features introduced into Turnitin over the last couple of years which are listed below along with some links to more details. Any questions about any of the below please do contact the eLearning Unit (

1. Submit PowerPoints, Excel and Google docs for originality checking. The range of file types that can be submitted by students and which Turnitin will scan for originality and create an Originality Report includes PowerPoint, Excel and Google Docs as well as Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, PostScript, PDF, HTML, RTF, OpenOffice (ODT), Hangul (HWP), and plain text. They should be less than 40MB and contain at least 20 words of text. When creating the assignment, on the page where dates and titles are entered select the option “Allow only file types that Turnitin can check for originality”.

2. Submit images. Students can submit images in the JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, BMP, or PICT formats. These are not originality checked so will not generate an Originality Report but can be opened directly in GradeMark for comment, feedback and grading. They should be less than 40MB. When creating the assignment, on the page where you add in the dates and title select the option “Allow any file type”.

3. Submit any file type. A new option at the assignment set-up stage will let students submit any file type they wish to the Turnitin assignment. (When creating the assignment, on the page where you add in the dates and title select the option “Allow any file type”). Originality checking cannot be guaranteed here. The Originality Check facility will try to scan student submissions but will not return a value or report if it cannot. GradeMark will also try to display the file directly in the Turnitin document viewer but again, if it cannot do this for a particular filetype then it will display the submission as a link to download the file to open in the relevant application. You can still use all of the GradeMark feedback facilities and a blank page for QuickMark comments is available in the case where the file is only available as a download. Files must be less than 40MB.

4. Grade without submissions. You can use the GradeMark facilities with no need for the students to submit work. An example context of this kind of use is an assessed presentation – GradeMark could be used during the presentation on an iPad or laptop to make grading notes, notes on any criteria marking, and offer the overall comment, grade, criteria marks and/or audio comment afterwards.

5. Link inline comments and marks with Rubric card criterion. If using a rubric card and also the QuickMarks to comment inline on student work you can choose to link a particular QuickMark/comment with one of your criterion which is then visible to the student on the rubric – extremely useful for evidencing the levels attained by students in the criterion. For more details of this feature see this blogpost from Turnitin.

6. ‘Grading Forms’ (simple criteria marking sheets). Essentially a scaled-down rubric/criteria electronic marking sheet, as exemplified in the screen shot below. For full details on this new feature see this blogpost from Turnitin.

An example of the new grading form for use with Turnitin Grade Mark

7. Upload criteria from Excel. Use the Turnitin Excel template to import your criteria from Excel which can make creating Turnitin criteria cards much faster when you have the cards existing in other digital formats. See this Turnitin item for details.

8. Student assignment submission ‘workflow’. The student submission workflow is a three stage process as it always has been. The stage where students check their work before submission is a paginated and expandable window on the submission confirmation page (stage two) containing the fully formatted work as submitted by the student (it used to be an unformatted view of the submitted text only). Students click on the image of their work if they need to enlarge it, and click through it using the on screen arrow icons to check their work.

This is an important detail as students need to confirm that the content displayed here corresponds to what they expect to submit (i.e. there have been no glitches etc in the upload process) and any submission guidance should be updated to reflect this. Students can also now submit directly from DropBox and GoogleDocs, as well as upload from their desktop machine. For more details please read this Turnitin blogpost.

9. Quantitative % grading schemes – do not need to add up to 100%. They can be less than 100% if required.

Turnitin continually seek ideas and feedback from users on how to improve the system (which includes GradeMark and PeerMark also). You can see the current list of ideas, vote for them, add you own etc on the Turnitin Roadmap forum from any Turnitin assignment classlist. See this blog post for more details on the Turnitin Roadmap.

We’re offering workshops on GradeMark and Turnitin this academic year. Keep an eye on the CLL Booking site or our twitter feed for dates.


Turnitin GradeMark on your iPad…

…and hurrah! it includes a facility for working offline.

This summer the iPad app for Turnitin GradeMark was generally released after a long period of Beta-testing and a lot of anticipation.

Available free from iTunes ( this app will let you carry out all of the grading and feedback functions you are used to with GradeMark.

Before you can use the app you will need to make a settings change which is detailed in this FAQ from our VITAL Self Service tool (click the link). The FAQ also explains how you create a class code so that you can link from the VITAL module containing the assignments to the iPad app.

We’d be very interested in hearing any reports from staff trying this app out so please do get in touch with the eLearning Unit to discuss your experiences.

Augmented Reality

Imagine hovering your smartphone camera display over a poster on a wall and seeing a video appear on screen related to the content of the poster. Augmented reality (AR) works in this way. See the video below for an example. It merges content created virtually (videos, images, animations, graphics) with real world environments. This virtual content is layered over a real-life object, whether that is a picture, a person or even a building, the options are endless. Viewed through the camera display on a smartphone or tablet device, these AR ‘overlays’ can be triggered by a GPS location, a sound, or through the recognition of an image (usually a photograph, graphical display, painting or poster). This is dependent on the application used but if content is synchronised, using an AR app, then content can ‘overlay’ information, for example, onto a famous landmark, or help someone to navigate around an a city area.

Newspapers, magazines and advertising agencies have already made use of AR. I’ve seen one app used to animate logos and text displays in the headlines of newspapers. It is fun seeing an advertisement in a newspaper come to life as an animation, however, this use of AR appears, in my opinion, rather gimmicky and the ‘fun’ effect was one that quickly waned. In terms of using two forms of media together, I think that comes down to preference. Certainly in my own experience I’m unlikely to use my phone or tablet for AR purposes whilst simultaneously reading a newspaper. AR in the context of entertainment will inevitably face practical questions as to why audiences should use AR in conjunction with other firmly established forms of media. Will the technological development of AR echo the anticipated rise and now more recent fall of the 3D TV? I do believe AR has a place that, once identified, will integrate it into certain elements of everyday practice. My hope is that this practice includes education and the interactivity found in learning environments.

AR in Education

It’s hard to know where to start when choosing an app to work with AR. A brief search through the Google Play and online App stores reveals an explosion of AR apps all focusing on different types augmented experiences. This ranges from live virtual views of someone’s location, using map software, to producing music using a hand-drawn piano layout.

After trying a lot of different AR apps, I came across Aurasma. Aurasma is a smart device app that was demonstrated by Judy Bloxham at the e-Assessment Association hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University in November 2012. Judy’s involvement in an AR project, supported by JISC and their RSC Northwest Network, is powered by Aurasma and has utilised AR for the purposes of enhancing educational content. The project compiled a series of posters that aided formative assessment and became interactive when students used the Aurasma app alongside them. This helped students to engage in a reflective thinking process drawing upon some of the key principles they had covered in their learning of the subject. Using AR and interactive content like this can also provide an ideal entry point for a learning activity to begin – with options to break down content into a series of options that students can choose to follow.

A good example is outlined in the poster below (provided by Judy Bloxham), allowing the user has to use Aurasma to interact with a series of buttons and videos to see which is the correct shelf for storing raw meat in the fridge.

fridge[Link to the original website for this poster:]

You can use Aurasma’s image recognition tool and see how this poster can trigger interactive learning content. This can be tested on a computer screen or using a printed version of one of the posters linked below. There are two ways to do this depending on the smart device that you are using. Some instructions are outlined below.

Android devices:

1. Visit the Google Play store to search and download Aurasma
2. Open Aurasma and press the ‘A’  icon at the bottom of the screen
3. This takes you to the Explore section. Press the magnifying glass at the bottom of the screen to go to the Search page.
4. Type in RSC Northwest to find the RSC Northwest Channel. Click the image and then click the ‘Following’ button on the next screen.
5. Now press the bracket icon [ ] on the bottom line to return to the camera view. Then view over one of the posters below.

Apple devices:

1. You can download Aurasma in the same way as above (for the Android devices) and follow the options to connect to the RSC Northwest channel.
2. Alternatively, search RSC Northwest in the App Store and install it to your Apple device.
3. Use the camera view and hover one of the posters below. Make sure the whole of the poster is displayed on your smart device.


[Link to the original website for this poster:]


[Link to the original website for this poster:]

These are examples of how an image can trigger an Aurasma ‘aura’. Open one of the PDF files to full screen and hover your smartphone device over the image. If the app has joined the channel correctly the image should trigger the interactive ‘aura’ content. Do let us know in the comment box below about your experiences using this app.

To read more about the use of AR used in education then visit the following sites below. These were recommended by Judy Bloxham, who I would like to thank on behalf of the eLearning Unit here at the University of Liverpool, for allowing us permission to make use of the above posters, demonstrating the use of Augmented Reality in education. Her work in raising awareness about the potential benefits of AR in education is ongoing and well worth following. Below are some further links related to the information above and to other AR projects, if you would like to delve further.

Guardian Blog Post –

Scarlet Project –

cARe Project

Living Learning: Plumbing from Kendal College

written by Phil Walker

An Eye on the Future

Orthoptics LabThe eLearning Unit have been working closely with the Directorate of Orthoptics and Vision Science within the School of Health Sciences over the last few months.

The overall aim of the collaboration is to enhance the student experience within the department with the effective use of technology. We hope this will have an impact on attracting new students to the Orthoptics course and produce a more stimulating and innovative teaching experience for existing undergraduates.

During an Orthoptics post application visit day event in February pen drives were distributed which Touchscreen Computerscontained a variety of files and resources highlighting the enhanced learning experience offered at Liverpool. Prospective students will be able to view a video advert, an eye test flash animation, a recent range of photographs taken in the Orthoptics lab (some of the images displayed in this post) and a presentation which contains interviews with current students and alumni from the course.

The interactive animations currently being developed will allow students to practise and simulate the range of tests performed to detect a wide variety of eye defects and conditions. Some of the conditions can be quite rare so a student may never have an opportunity for the real life testing experience during placements. The animations will assist a student in refining their core skills and becoming familiar with rarer conditions.

The animations have been designed in consultation with Dr Anna O’Connor who eye animation demoapproached the eLearning Unit for support after seeing a range of oncological surgery animations produced for a postgraduate module. A test version of the Orthoptics animation is available here. The resource is still under development but this version should give an indication of the range of interaction and functionality aimed for.

Future plans include potential extra funding to support the production of more advanced animations, 3D eye modelling creation and a NHS bid to fund the purchase of a suite of tablets which will help to enhance undergraduate student placements.

The resources produced could become commercially viable as theeye website planned functionality would be unique in the HE sector. At the moment there are only a few resources publically available such as this website which simulates eye motion and demonstrates the effects of disabling one or more of the eyes muscles and one or more of the cranial nerves that control eye motion. However, resources like this only highlight a few elements of the eye movement disorders and do not completely reflect a true clinical picture. Any online resources produced at Liverpool would be a welcome addition to the current material available supporting academic staff and undergraduate students.

If you are interested in further details about these developments or if you would like to share an idea, request support or ask a related question please get in touch with the eLearning Unit at

Ophthalmoscope Digital Letter Chart 9 times moving light_7 big eyes

(Photographs by Phil Walker)

Here are some further images captured by the eLearning Unit, in the Orthoptics lab on the Liverpool campus, which will be used as the background for future interactive animations.

Paul Duvall

Full house at the HEA seminar on ‘Devising, creating two-staged online tests’

Last Monday (14th May), had you popped in to the Taylor room in the Sydney Jones Library, the room was buzzing with colleagues attending a seminar funded by the HEA on online tests. The idea of the seminar came from Susanne Voelkel, who together with the eLearning Unit and Educational Development, organised the day’s events. Delegates from all over the country, as far as The University of Glamorgan, came to take part in a packed day, listening to the experiences of our staff who utilise online tests in their teaching.

Group discussion at the HEA seminar
Group discussion at the HEA seminar

Opening the day was Ruth Mewis, HEA, who talked about the changes to the HEA structure and the funding opportunities that university staff can tap into such as the conference travel fund.

There was so much expertise in the room which made the next activity, where delegates shared their experiences and questions about online tests, really useful.

Dr Susanne Voelkel, School of Life Sciences, University of Liverpool speaking about her learning journey with online tests

Dr Susanne Voelkel, School of Life Sciences, University of Liverpool speaking about her learning journey with online tests

What followed was the much-awaited session by Dr Susanne Voelkel, School of Life Sciences, who had the idea for the seminar. Susanne has developed a two-staged approach using online tests to solve the problem of feedback in large classes.

As Dr Neil Ringan, Manchester Metropolitan University, described Susanne’s and the following session by Dr Sue Fowell,  School of Medicine, on writing MCQs, it was

“excellent to see some concrete examples of the ways in which academic staff are implementing the well-known link between formative and summative assessment to enhance the student learning experience.  There is much research to indicate that students only see the full value of formative assessment and the associated feedback (or rather feed forward) when it is explicitly linked to summative assessment.  The session from Sue [Fowell] reminding delegates of the critical importance of designing good MCQs, whether for online use or not, was an excellent sense check that the technology should be seen as the enabler for good pedagogy, and not the end in itself.”

Using SMS response in Sue Fowell's session on writing good MCQs
Using SMS response in Dr Sue Fowell’s session on writing good multiple choice questions

After the usual lively lunch with plenty of networking, delegates were given a hands-on session demonstrating Susanne’s two-staged approach. Participants were able to see the online tests on the computers, the way adaptive release is used, the question types and the kinds of feedback Susanne is giving.

As another delegate summarised: “Having no prior experience of setting multiple choice assessments this workshop has given me the knowledge to be confident introducing computer-based multiple choice tests to handle our large cohort of students in an effective way.” (Dr Leah Ridgway, University of Liverpool)

Dr Lu Mello, School of Life Sciences, University of Liverpool sharing her experiences about podcasts and online tests

Keeping up the dynamisim of the day, Dr Lu Mello, School of Life Sciences, demonstrated the second case study on online tests, solving the problem of student diversity in a postgraduate cohort. Lu makes use of online tests in combination with pre-class screen captures/podcasts to bring students to the same level before her practical sessions start.

As Dr Matt Murphy (University of Liverpool) added:

“This really was an excellent event that opened my eyes to the expertise across the University, and more importantly sparked several ideas for my own teaching.   I plan to use Lu’s approach of pre-class podcasting to frame the lecture content, set the material in context, and make connections to prior learning.  This will surely improve student engagement and thereby enhance learning. I hope the podcasts might help create a sense of personal contact between lecturer and student; something important but difficult to achieve in my very large classes.”

All the sessions generated good discussions around the approaches discussed and the issues of online testing. In addition to TextWall, we also used PollEverywhere to stimulate and share discussions during the sessions, which worked well.

The national event was a brilliant opportunity for staff to share the innovative approaches they are using in their teaching. One of them is already planning another seminar for next year! Big thanks to Jade Jones, our event administrator, to make everything run smoothly on the day! If you were interested in sharing your teaching approach, look out for calls for thematic of discipline-specific seminars at the HE Academy. As facilitators, we are still buzzing from the day —

Tünde & Nick
eLearning Unit