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Improving Instructor Intuition and Student Growth

Data-Driven Insights in Turnitin Originality

Christine Lee
Christine Lee
Content Manager






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The act of teaching, while grounded in principles and specific student learning outcomes, is also an intuitive process. Are your students feeling well? Are your students struggling? Do the learning curves of all students appear consistent? Teachers make judgment calls at every point of the learning process, and education is dependent on these individual actions.

It is essential to have data that backs up educator intuition. Data-driven insights can be used to guide students, to present actionable information that cannot be questioned or debated, and to uphold equity and remove biases that may color judgment. With this in mind, we designed Turnitin Originality to provide data insights, so educators have the information they need to support student growth and uphold academic integrity. Turnitin Originality surfaces deep document details, or metadata, about student submissions to give at-a-glance insights into the authoring and editing process.

The Document Details insight panel can provide supplemental information, such as the author of the document, anyone who has modified the content, and details about the American versus British spellings, to help educators build an accurate picture of the origin of a document. With this additional information, educators can support their gut feelings with data, uphold fair and consistent review processes, and make confident and informed decisions.

Data insights at every stage of learning and within the student workflow help educators support students in creating their best, original work. The data points above (and more) provide educators with opportunities to intervene with meaningful conversations earlier in the workflow throughout the course of a semester or quarter so academic integrity can be a positive trajectory focused on responsible scholarship.

Creating opportunities for intervention, according to research, has proven helpful in promoting a culture of academic integrity. In his Handbook on Academic Integrity, Stephens states, “Educational settings should be contexts for individual and collective human thriving. One important way in which educational settings affect such thriving is through embedding students in a culture of integrity and involving them in its continuance” (Stephens, 2016, pp. 995-1007). Stephens continues by advocating a multi-level approach: school-wide education, context-specific prevention, and, where needed, individual remediation.

With data-driven insights, educators can transform instances of academic misconduct into teachable moments via intervention, and consequently build awareness, and uphold a culture of academic integrity.

Such a culture is important. According to Trevino and McCabe, “Students consistently indicate that when they feel part of a campus community, when they believe faculty are committed to their courses, and when they are aware of the policies of their institution concerning academic integrity, they are less likely to cheat” (Trevino & McCabe, 1996, p. 33).

At Turnitin, we believe that the best way to uphold academic integrity is to help students produce their best, original work, and to intervene early in the workflow to avoid painful outcomes of academic dishonesty. Data-driven insights bolster and empower instruction intuition and are one additional way to support academic integrity, student growth, and best pedagogical practices.