As regular readers of the blog know, student plagiarism is a challenging issue in education today. According to The School for Ethical Education’s (SEE) Academic Motivation and Integrity Survey1 (AMIS), almost 60% of US public high school students who responded to the survey self-report some form of plagiarism during a typical school year. As educators, we have three options to choose from as we consider how to respond to the problem we and our students face.
Summer is (finally) here, and everyone's favorite education conference is upon us. This year, Turnitin is shaking things up in San Antonio, Texas with some exciting new ways to share the latest and greatest in writing instruction. If you're passionate about writing and like to have a little fun while you're at it, then you won't want to miss three great ways to connect with Turnitin at ISTE.
Turnitin is proud to announce that both Turnitin Feedback Studio and Turnitin Revision Assistant were recognized with The ComputeED Gazette's 23rd Annual Best Educational Software Awards! The BESSIE Awards highlight programs that serve as tools for educators and/or parents that meaningfully promote educational excellence. Publishers nominate these programs, which are then evaluated according to multiple criteria such as "academic content, technical merit, subject approach and management system." (BESSIES website, 2017).
As this school year winds down and educators start thinking about planning for the next, we want to share a few tips on how to take advantage of our newest Spot Check and Expansion Pack assignments throughout the year.
A whistleblower at Indiana University, South Bend has emerged victorious in a protracted legal battle over alleged defamation, but the victory only comes after great expense and years of work proving his case.
The case began in 2012 when Mark Fox accused two business professors at IU of plagiarism. The first, Douglas Agbetsiafa, was the former chair of the economics department and was accused of plagiarizing some 15 papers, four of which have since been retracted or removed.
A recent study by Stanford University Graduate School of Education paints a very bleak picture about students’ ability to spot fake news and low-quality sources.
The study received responses from 7,800 students, ranging from middle school to college, and asked them to evaluate the quality of the information presented. The findings, according to them, were “shocking”.
Illuminating Writing Instruction: What Revision Assistant’s Spot Check Taught Us about Independent Learning
By Samantha Spencer
In the Fall of 2016, my fellow English teachers and I were determined to meet two major goals: 1) change how we teach writing and 2) develop new approaches to effective standards-aligned instruction and assessment. Towards this objective, we piloted Turnitin Revision Assistant, an online program that impacted us and our students in ways we did not expect. The tool helped us to change our day-to-day writing instruction practices, empowered students to direct their own learning, and made writing exercises more “real” and applicable to disciplines beyond English.
The modern teacher is being pulled in an infinite number of directions. Preparing curriculum and assignments, grading papers, and administering exams are all fundamental and time-consuming parts of an educator’s role. In addition, teachers need to know how to effectively use the digital tools and technology in their classrooms in order to support student learning and achievement. However, the ever-growing list of demands of these educators may diminish the time they have to learn about and efficiently implement these essential tools.
Turnitin Feedback Studio is here to help. It provides educators a way to deliver timely, formative feedback that engages students, promotes original writing, and drives college and career readiness. When used appropriately, Turnitin Feedback Studio helps educators to save time and deliver more effective feedback.
We asked some of our Feedback Studio “power users” to share their best practices. Together educators, Turnitin Consultants, and Curriculum Specialists developed an indispensable list of the top 20 field-tested tips for successfully using Feedback Studio in the classroom.
Class and Assignment Set Up
- “When naming your classes, include the year, class period, and semester information in the class name. This will help you more quickly locate your classes later, especially when looking for papers that are source matches. For example: 2016/2017 - Creative Writing - Period 1.” (V. Rodriguez, Turnitin Customer Success Consultant)
- “If distributing the class ID and Enrollment Password to students so they can self-enroll, go back and change the class enrollment password after you've confirmed that all the required students are enrolled in the class. This practice eliminates duplicate and unauthorized student enrollment in the class.” (C. McClure, Turnitin Customer Success Consultant)
- “Have clearly defined policies and procedures for students who happen to have high Similarity Score matches and be sure to include this information in your Syllabus.” (J. Haber, St. Petersburg College)
- “Have monthly calls with your Turnitin account manager. This check-in is important, especially for administrators, to ensure the successful use of the product. It’s a chance to discuss if the product is being adopted, that it’s being used properly and fully (based on the institution’s needs), any new changes, and any challenges they are facing. (V. Rodriguez, Turnitin Customer Success Consultant)
- “Email submission receipts, so students can use it as reference for speaking with their instructors.” (S. Farris, Turnitin Certified Trainer)
- "Consistency, Convenience, and Collaboration. That's what it comes down to. With the rubrics and QuickMarks in Feedback Studio, teachers have the advantages of collaboration - anywhere, any time. They don't have to be sitting in the same room at the same time in order to make sure they have consistent expectations for all students. Once you have the power of a tool like that, you can collaborate across the miles - we can share our expertise without worrying about planning time and schedules. The convenience of being able to share our resources and make them consistent is immensely empowering." (K. Smith, Maryland Public Schools, Independent Turnitin Curriculum Producer, Instructional Coach and 30-year ELA veteran)
The Writing Process
- “Use Feedback Studio with rough drafts, not final drafts, so students can learn from the feedback and incorporate it into their writing. We know students often ignore feedback when it is accompanied by a grade, and that feedback is most valuable when students have an immediate opportunity to use it to improve their writing. So use Turnitin to improve student writing between rough and final drafts, rather than use it to comment on work when it's too late to fix it.” (Ben Bohmfalk, Roaring Fork)
- “Show developing writers that writing is a process, and Feedback Studio can help to that end. I have students in my face-to-face class practice prewriting strategies, draft thesis statements, upload rough drafts to Turnitin, engage in editing through PeerMark, and I comment on their papers using QuickMarks. In this way, I hope to close the learning loop for them and show them that good writing takes time—and takes multiple stages of development.” (A. Wick, Blinn College)
- "Sometimes, we make assumptions about what students know about plagiarism and hold them responsible when they break the rules, but if we haven't done our part, we are equally to blame. We do students a disservice if we don't help them understand what it is, what it isn't, how to avoid it, and why it matters. We can't assume that a student knows and understands plagiarism, and we owe it to them to teach them all the shades of plagiarism that exist. The stakes are too high. We must use tools like The Plagiarism Spectrum that help to educate them about the slippery slope of behaviors that can lead to plagiarism - and we need to begin that education early enough to interrupt habits that can lead them down that path." (P. West-Smith, Turnitin, Head of Curriculum)
- “Be real with students about the writing process. I can do this through the stages of Feedback Studio use, but I can also augment by sharing my personal stories with them. I share with students that I am a writer who also happens to be a writing teacher. I am honest with them that I need to go through the writing process, too. I brainstorm, I outline, I research, I interview, I draft . . . and I revise, revise, revise! When they see their writing teacher joining them in the process of writing, they seem to appreciate and understand the time involved to write well.” (A. Wick, Blinn College)
- “It's important for students to write in their own voice with originality because it's part of who they are. If you look at resumes and such, what is going to make this student stand out from the crowd? You don't want to just have the same cover letter for every applicant because those are the ones that you're not going to look at. Each student, each person, is an individual and if they can get to the point where their individual personality shines through in their writing, it's going to help them because when they're writing those cover letters, when they're writing those resumes, whatever they choose to do with their writing, who they are shows through.” (H. M. Burmesch, Former Merrill High School English Teacher)
Commenting and Feedback
- “Have students review their drag-n-drop QuickMarks comments and find one higher order concern (HOC) and one lower order concern (LOC) that they will review and correct.” (J. Haber, St. Petersburg College)
- “When leaving feedback, highlight the text of interest first and then choose the feedback item from the in-context marking menu that appears. This allows teachers to choose up to five different colors for the highlighted text and will link the feedback item directly to the highlighted portion of text.” (J. Riley, Turnitin Customer Success Consultant)
- “Encourage students to engage in their feedback. Require an assignment that makes them review their work and make improvements.” (J. Haber, St. Petersburg College)
- “Create a customized set of QuickMarks to optimize grading and scoring. Customized QuickMarks can be useful in tailoring feedback to a certain assignment or discipline while saving instructors time in responding to multiple sets of papers.” (A. Wick, Blinn College)
- “Send all students a Voice Comment on their first papers so that they can hear what you have to say." (J. Haber, St. Petersburg College)
- “Feedback Studio is a meaningful tool that when used correctly in the classroom can cut down on the time that teachers take sifting through papers and giving short bursts of feedback that the student may or may not read. Feedback Studio allows for students to be engaged in the feedback that they are getting and it holds them accountable for improving or making the necessary changes to the document.” (E. Bonack, Merrill High School English Teacher)
Plagiarism and Citation
- “Try having students print out their Similarity Reports as an exercise to gain insight into their own writing. Using a sample Similarity Report, model how a student can evaluate their own report. For example, demonstrate how sections of matched content could have been better paraphrased, or highlight areas with a missing citation. By using the report as a teaching tool, students will become more aware of what they need to do to strengthen their writing." (K. Van Gompel, Turnitin Senior Curriculum Specialist)
- “Understand that the match on the Similarity Score may not correlate with exactly where the student took it from (but it is still preexisting material and not original).” (S. Farris, Turnitin Certified Trainer)
- “Peer reviews allow students to improve reading and writing skills while taking part in a collaborative task. However, in order to ensure the exercise is valuable, it is important for teachers to take time to help students understand how to respond to someone else's work: What criteria should they evaluate? How can they phrase feedback constructively? Teachers can assign partners in their classroom or anonymously with the PeerMark™ tools. Educators around the world have seen that by learning to respond to a classmate's work, students also apply a new awareness to their own writing.” (K. Van Gompel, Senior Turnitin Curriculum Specialist)
Revision Assistant Recognized for Work on Testing and Writing Assessment
This year Turnitin had a rare and special honor of visiting the White House to be recognized for work on its formative writing technology, Revision Assistant. On December 7, 2016, Elijah Mayfield, VP of new technologies, Jill Hedrick, SVP of Sales, and Stephanie Butler, director of product management, traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with other education technology leaders. Read the press release.
How can you give effective feedback to students on their writing assignments -- FAST?
Create custom and pre-defined drag-and-drop sets of customizable comments, of course! Educators are always looking for ways to save time, while providing the best feedback they can on student writing.
Turnitin QuickMarks™ are drag-n-drop comments that can be used by an instructor when editing or grading papers within Turnitin Feedback Studio. While evaluating a paper within Feedback Studio, instructors can access a pre-set library of QuickMark “comments” that they can quickly drag-and-drop directly onto students papers.
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