Thursday, 19 June 2014

Good news for Turnitin and GradeMark users

The Sage, GatesheadEarlier this week I was at the 6th International Integrity and Plagiarism Conference (#6iipc) at the Sage in Newcastle/Gateshead. As a pre-conference activity, the Turnitin International User Group took place, where we got an opportunity to hear about the product roadmap and plans for the future. In the light of the recent acquisition of iParadigms by Insight Venture Partners, I was certainly interested in how this will affect us users of the Turnitin suite of products.

It seems the effect is that there will be increased investment in the product. This is a good thing, since apart from the iPad app (which I love) the products have not really been updated much in the last couple of years. Sure, students can now submit more file types, and rubrics can be imported from Excel, but the basic interface hasn't changed in a while.

Enter the new, Next Generation Document Viewer (DV for short). From what we saw, this looks like it will be a very nice improvment on the current one. For a start, the student paper will take up most of the screen space, allowing improved readability and better use of space. Other features of the new DV are:
  • All the tools will appear in a menu on the right, which can collapse when you are not using it.
  • Turnitin and GradeMark can be displayed within the single view in the DV, so you can grade while still having full colour similarities displayed.
  • Thumbnails on the left will allow you to navigate more easily, while providing some context about where exactly you are in the document.
  • There will be improvements to using rubrics, selecting rubrics and grading using rubrics.
  • It will be possible to add inline voice comments (not just a single overall voice comment) which can be played back by the student in context.
  • Some limited formatting of text comments will be available, including bolding, underlining and hyperlinks.
Apart from the Next Generation Document Viewer, other things we can look forward to are:
  • Multiple marking - allowing two or more markers to grade and give feedback on a piece of work. This gives an opportunity for a moderator (for example) to determine which feedback is seen by the student and which overall grade is returned.
  • It will be possible to create groups, supporting delegated marking (one marker allocated to a particular group of students), which will be very useful for large classes.
  • A student will be able to submit multiple drafts for an assignment, which won't overwrite previous versions, each of which can be marked. This will provide students and instructors with a history of feedback on each draft.
  • It will be possible to submit multiple documents for a single assignment.
  • It will be possible to give letter grades, and decimal grades.
When can we expect all this at NUI Galway? Probably not until Summer 2015. Although some users will be able to see changes from later this year, because we access Turnitin through a Blackboard Integration, it won't be available to us until early in 2015. Not wanting to make any major changes to the teaching environment during the teaching semester, this means we can't plan on upgrading the Integration until the send of semester 2.

But at least we know there's something to look forward to!

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