I'm the main university lead for doing this and also institutional contact for Turnitin so I thought it would be a good idea to introduce briefly what I am doing and why....
What are we doing?
As the title suggests, we're looking at creating a central support service for users of the Turnitin text matching service. “Users” in this case includes both staff (academic/professional services/managerial etc) and students.
Why are we doing it?
Our Learning Technologies Team offers staff and student support for Turnitin already - and this includes resolving technical issues, pedagogical/learning and teaching advice and providing “how tos”. We also have a small set of online resources.
However, there are a number of reasons why that site is not as useful as it might for us or our users. These include:
1.) The site is out of date by 4 years, some of the information is now inaccurate
2.) Content is mostly static text
3.) Key areas of support are missing - particularly with regard to turnitin functionality,
4.) It is quite difficult to find the information you want,
5.) It doesn't cater for all of our audience- i.e mostly staff facing
Turnitin has “grown up” a bit from the early days into a useful electronic learning and teaching tool. Its add ons, GradeMark and PeerMark, contain some functions that can ably support teaching, whether it be areas such as e-submission, provision of feedback or peer review exercises. Creation of this support service I hope will provide us with a platform to dispel some of the more negative press that Turnitin gets as just being a “plagiarism detector!”*
What central support might there be instead?
This will include enhanced resources, along the lines of:
- Introductions to Turnitin
- How tos: including screencasts
- Links to Submit.ac.uk resources
- Using Turnitin in Learning and teaching
- Links to copyright information
- Links to 'Unfair means' information
- Information about integration with our virtual learning environment, MOLE
- Current issues and updates
- Support Contact number/s and email response
- Using Turnitin direct
- Links to discussion
That's all for now folks, I wouldn't want to swamp you with information! Stay tuned for more updates as we go.....
* Which of course it's not... it's a text matching tool. I would suggest it's teachers who detect unfair means, but a text matching service can help. I wonder how others would define Turnitin? Comments welcome!