On Thursday, October 6, 2011, the District Technology Advisory Group (TAG) recommended that the district enter into a site license agreement for Turnitin. The plan is, first, to have the agreement approved by the board and, second, to have full implementation and Blackboard integration for both SAC and SCC by January 1, 2012.
Turnitin is a suite of three integrated products, which make it much more than simply a “gotcha” tool. The first, and most well known and most utilized, product is the Originality Check that checks for instances of plagiarism. If the instructor chooses, students can check their own originality reports before final drafts are due in order to assist students with the revision and editing processes. In this way, Turnitin becomes a tool to assist students in catching quotation errors that they otherwise might have overlooked.
In addition to the Originality Check, PeerMark is the second product that manages assignments and allows student-to-student as well as instructor-to-student collaboration. Instructors can allow students to share their papers with classmates for a peer review process so that they can learn from others, and instructors can also review the drafts. This is a very useful tool, for it allows students to have their projects reviewed before they have to submit a final draft into Originality Check.
The third product is GradeMark, which now contains e-rater. In addition to providing automated grammar and punctuation comments via GradeMark’s e-rater feature (not all automated comments correctly identify errors, and instructors can disable the feature), GradeMark allows instructors to provide electronic feedback to the students by providing editorial highlights, custom comments and editing marks directly into the student papers. Electronic grading has the potential to save time for the faculty while providing enhanced comments with links to online resources for the students. Furthermore, electronic grading will save paper, which aids in supporting a green environment.
These three products are packaged together into one rich suite of software, which is called Turnitin. To learn more or to view product demos or training sessions, visit their web address:
Training is one of five headings on Turnitin’s home page with five sub categories. There are two good trainings titled “Getting Started” and “Instructor Training,” and it would be great to view these before any use of the product as it would provide an excellent jump start on the entire suite. You can “get started” with training now— even before our contract begins. In addition, on the right hand side of Turnitin’s home page, there is an approximately five minute demo that you might also find valuable. Finally, be on the lookout for spring 2012 flex week activities where faculty will enumerate the benefits of Turnitin.com that make it a rich resource for students and faculty rather than simply an anti-plagiarism tool or connect with one of our English faculty as they have been using this system for the past two plus years.
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