Focus on Feedback

With Turnitin, instructors at Great Falls College Montana State University spend less time on tedious, administrative tasks, and more time giving extensive feedback on plagiarism and citation practices in a paperless environment.

Great Falls College Montana State University
Great Falls, MT
Community College
2,500 Students


Jana Carter is the English and Communication Department Chair at Montana State University (MSU) - Great Falls College of Technology in Great Falls, MT. She teaches developmental and transfer-level writing classes, including freshman composition courses. MSU-Great Falls is a two-year college affiliated with Montana State University that offers a variety of programs including Associate of Applied Science (AAS), Associate of Science (AS), Associate of Arts (AA) degrees, certificates and endorsements.


Carter's students, especially early-career students, were having a difficult time distinguishing between what does and does not need to be cited in written works. Her students were having a hard time seeing how they were using and citing primary and secondary sources in their essays. Additionally, MSU-Great Falls needed a way to check for plagiarized material being handed in as original work. Carter knew she needed a way to visually present proper citation to her students so that her courses could focus on the material instead of rule breaking.


"Students really like the GradeMark feature because it's easier for them to read comments instead of trying to decipher my handwritten comments in the margin. Now I can provide more extensive feedback to my students without exhausting myself to do so." With Turnitin and Desire2Learn, the school's learning management system, MSU-Great Falls' English department has become a primarily paperless environment. Students upload drafts of their papers to Turnitin within the Desire2Learn platform. Then, they generate an Originality Report and Carter provides feedback all within the Turnitin platform. After reviewing their reports, students can improve their papers as needed.


Once Carter and the English department started using Turnitin, the quality of work from both instructors and students increased. "I'm spending about the same amount of time per paper as I did before the integration [of Turnitin and Desire2Learn], but now I'm doing a much better job. I'm able to leave better quality comments and feedback for my students." Carter says she's spending less time on management tasks such as, uploading and downloading files, giving her more time to focus on student work. In turn, her students are able to take those comments and produce a substantial essay. "My students now have a better understanding of where they are making citation mistakes overall and are able to remedy those before handing in the final draft."