Report: e-Learning Network Meeting – January 2017

We were delighted to welcome Professor Helen O’Sullivan, APVC Online Learning, as speaker at the first e-Learning Network meeting of 2017. Helen spoke to us about the University’s new Education Strategy, giving the network an overview of the structures, leadership teams and immediate priorities. The recording of that talk is linked-to below. Helen then led a discussion workshop on what an institutional Digital Education vision might look like (this part of the session is not recorded). We also managed to make time for a couple of extra items: a first look at Turnitin Feedback Studio, the new design for GradeMark we will be moving to in July; and an introduction to the Go Mobile user group that began meeting this academic year. A pretty busy lunchtime for the forty staff members who came together for this valued networking event.

Professor Helen O’Sullivan

So much is going on at the University at the moment it was a welcome opportunity to spend some time thinking through and discussing how current strategies relate to our own interest area and Helen did a great job of this, even in the sweltering conditions of our meeting room. The Education Strategy’s core values, ‘Liverpool Hallmarks’, of ‘research-connected teaching, active learning and authentic assessment’ are immediately appealing to anyone interested in learning and teaching, and learning technologies can play a critical role in these. I won’t go into micro-detail but what I found really useful was an update on the top priorities for the coming year, including the setting-up of a new Programmes Development Team, a media technical support team, continued work on the Electronic Management of Assessment project, and also hearing about less familiar things including the focus on the London Campus portfolio and degree apprenticeships. Click the image below for the (Stream Capture) recording, about 32 minutes long.

Click the image above to watch the recorded talk by Prof O’Sullivan (32 minutes)


We then moved to some group discussions to consider a Liverpool take on David White’s digital leadership framework which is designed to help high-level discussion and decision-making about all things digital, giving some coherence for thinking about the whole organisation and how decisions can affect all of these layers. The framework diagram below is taken from David’s blog post (click the diagram to read) and was the starting point for the activity. In my group we focussed quite a bit on the Digital Service layer, which possibly reflected the areas we work in but which we felt was the bedrock of an organisation’s culture and medium.

Turnitin Feedback Studio – Dan Roberts

There was also a bit of time for a couple of extra items. First up was a look at the new design for Turnitin GradeMark, called Turnitin Feedback Studio. This was an out-of-the-box walkthrough and we were only examining the feedback environment. Essentially the desktop version has been rebuilt and the design is very similar to the current iPad app version, but now you will be able to use it on any device. This video below maps the key differences between our current version of GradeMark and what we will see after this summer’s upgrade. You can also try out a live, online demo if you follow this link.

No horses seemed to be startled by this new look. From a design point of view I think it is a much-improved, cleaner system, tidying away a lot of the distracting array of menus and buttons we are used to, and instead putting the most commonly-used feedback tools directly in front of you whilst marking work; no more hunting around for different comment types for instance. The rebuild has also focussed on making GradeMark fully-accessible which is great. Asking about what kinds of things people would be interested to test in the lead-in time to the summer upgrade, long-standing functionality/workflow requirements such as double marking were top of the list. Looking through the release notes whilst writing this post I can see that there is a Beta version of the multiple markers facility for which Turnitin are looking for some testers, so we will organise this through the network and the e-submission/EMA project board. Get in touch directly if you want to be a part of this testing.

Go Mobile Usergroup – Alex Spiers

We rounded off chatting about the new user group for anyone interested in anything mobile that Alex  has set up and has met a couple of times already this academic year. It is as wide-ranging as that sounds, so we’ve looked at apps, devices like the iPad pro and pen, and the kinds of things staff and students from all parts of the University are doing with mobile technologies for learning and teaching. Look out for the next meeting which we hope will be this side of Easter and we’ll release details ASAP or keep up with #LIVUNIGO.

Next meeting – April 27th

Many thanks to Helen for the valuable and engaging insight into the strategic thinking and work going on for the University’s Education Strategy, and the role that Technology-Enhanced Learning has to play as it moves into its implementation phase. It was also a great opportunity to have a first say on some emergent ideas around a Digital Vision for the University of Liverpool. This is an ongoing process and Helen would welcome more comments and feedback on anything covered in the presentation or discussion.

The next e-Learning Network meeting is scheduled for Thursday 27th April 12:30 – 2pm. The network lunch is intended primarily as a sharing event so if you have an idea for one of our meetings or anything you want to share about something you have been doing with TEL and to get some feedback and discussion from the group then please let us know.


Online marking and feedback with Turnitin GradeMark

The eLearning Unit recently ran a couple of demonstration and training sessions on the use of the Turnitin GradeMark system for the online marking of student work. GradeMark can be accessed instantly from any Turnitin assignment and is a system that is quickly picked up and straightforward to start using.

For a quick demonstration and introductory video on the main features of GradeMark, visit this page and scroll down to the Instructor Videos section. Click on the “Using GradeMark” link.

As a very quick overview of how GradeMark works:

  • Students submit their work to a Turnitin assignment.
  • As well as viewing Originality Reports for plagiarism-checking, staff can switch to the GradeMark mode to view the student work. The screenshot below shows the main commenting/feedback tools (click to see image enlarged).
Example GradeMark comment types - click to view large image
    • Add short text comments directly on the page.
    • Add ‘pop-up’ comments directly on the page for longer feedback comments (can include hyperlinks)
    • Add ready-made comments to the page (and create your own libraries of these for ‘frequently-used’ comments)
    • Highlight text for comment
    • Add an extended general feedback for the assignment
  • You can also utilise criteria marking cards of your own making to automatically mark work.
  • On the pre-set release date these marked assignments are made available to view, print out and download in the same place students submitted originally.

Some of the perceived advantages of using such systems include:

  • Feedback can be given to students in a timely manner.
  • Administrative burdens reduced – no need to collect in, distribute, return etc. paper copies.
  • Typed feedback is easier for students to read, and online marked scripts allow students to access in their own time and in private to engage with written feedback.
  • Costs savings on printing out papers.
  • External examiners can be given access to modules to view directly.
  • GradeMark generates statistical information on QuickMark comments to help identify potential problem areas for individual students and across groups.

If you would like to find out more about using the GradeMark system (or any aspect of online feedback and marking) then please do get in touch with the eLearning Unit. Look out also for our Winter School session about electronic feedback, which will largely feature the GradeMark facility. We are also very happy to talk through how GradeMark works at our Studio Wednesday drop-in session – just drop us a line to let us know you are planning on visiting.

Dan Roberts

Turnitin Usergroup Meeting – 3rd February 2011

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:

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.