Established in 1974, Deakin University is a relatively young institution in an Australian context. It has experienced rapid growth in the subsequent years and today it has a student body of over 58,000 across multiple campuses. Turnitin, which has been used at Deakin since 2001, is a key tool to help the institution promote values of academic integrity.
Deakin University’s 2017 nomination for the Turnitin Global Innovation Awards is a result of the applications of two individuals: Associate Professor Wendy Sutherland-Smith, Director of Teaching and Learning (Pedagogy and Quality Improvement) in the School of Psychology and Dr. Paul Venzo Lecturer, Writing and Literature School of Communications and Creative Arts.
Associate Professor Sutherland-Smith has led a university-wide project to provide central academic integrity training for all new and experienced staff. A central part of the program is helping staff correctly interpret and use Turnitin reports to educate students about ethical and honest writing practices.
Wendy explains: “My role is basically educating people about how they are interpreting Turnitin. Through the training we want staff to understand that the similarity score is simply alerting them to the fact that they need to delve further to understand the information in the report.” Wendy has also worked with Turnitin on hosting and recommending presenters for their webcast series, as well as providing feedback on various tools such as feedback and GradeMark (now known as Online Grading).
Dr. Venzo is working with students at Deakin University to raise understanding about academic integrity, predominantly through use of timely feedback on the University’s Writing and Literature course. He said: “The feedback is the scaffolding that we use in order to get students to improve on their work. The Turnitin system allows me to gauge the degree to which students are interacting with appropriate secondary sources, and as such gives us a vehicle to look at appropriate future strategies for teaching and research.”
The importance of academic integrity is taught to first year students at Deakin University in their first week. Dr. Venzo explains: “Academic integrity is part of the first and most important things that we talk to students about because we’re asking them to produce original work. This is not only in fairness to other students, but also as a way of showing respect for somebody that writes academic journals, book chapters and so forth.”
Deakin is proud to partner with Turnitin to continue to foster academic honesty and fairness across all members of the academic community.
Deakin University was a Turnitin Global Award Winner in 2017