Thursday, 3 April 2014

Turnitin - 3 new mini features!

Turnitin has released a few new features of late, and I have recently got round to testing them out..

So.... I thought I would give you my quick overview of them all in one post!

This will be overview only, but we will also be putting in some more detailed guidance for our Sheffield University users soon. So, if you would like some more “how to” information on these features or similar, then get in touch with us at

Ok, what’s first?….

Grading Forms

This feature sits along side Rubrics (better known to us as marking schemes or criteria). It allows you to set some quick basic criteria to mark against. The real win for this feature over Rubrics, apart from the fact that it is quicky and easy, is that it allows you to write directly into the criteria boxes and even provide a mark for that specific criteria. 

The quickest way to have a look at this feature, is to go into the Turnitin inbox and locate the “libraries” tab; situated next to the Turnitin “inbox “and “edit assignment” tabs. You will need an active Turnitin assignment set up and ready to go inside a MOLE course.

Some notable points about Grading Forms...

  • The Grading Form gives you three default criteria, however you can add as many as you would like.
  • There is a tick box at the bottom left hand side of the screen that allows you to enable scoring, meaning you can assign a numerical value to each particular criteria.
  • Students can see the text you write in the criteria descriptions, together with any numerical score you give.
  • If you do wish to put in a mark against each criteria, Turnitin will also add up the criteria values for you and calculate an overall score.

Up next...

Link comments to Rubrics

This feature, is pretty much as it sounds. You can now easily link any QuickMark commentary, made in the GradeMark document viewer, to a specific Rubric criteria.

For this to work, firstly you need an active Rubric or Grading Form (see above), attached already to your assignment.

You can select any particular QuickMark or free text comment; dragging and dropping them onto the assignment in the usual way. When you have left your comment, you will see at the bottom of it there is a drop down box, this allows you to assign this comment to a particular Rubric criteria.

 When students access their marked assignment, they will be to see the association between the comment you have given and the Rubric criteria. This feature allows students to unpick the feedback that has been given and potentially gives them more insight into the bigger marking picture. It can also show the instructor how many comments have been given against a particular criteria.

Finally...drum roll!

Grade Anything

Arguably the best of the three functions! This again is fairly self explanatory. You can now set up your Turnitin assignment to allow students to submit any file type to Turnitin….

There is a caveat however…

Whilst students can submit any file type, only certain file types will still be able to make use of Turnitin’s text matching abilities. They are the following:

“Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, WordPerfect, PostScript, PDF, HTML, RTF, OpenOffice (ODT), Hangul (HWP), Google Docs, and plain text files with at least 20 words of text will be eligible to receive Originality Reports”

So, any file types outside of those above, will not have an Originality Report created.

I tested this with an MP3 file and some of the sample Windows pictures.  Regarding the MP3..You cannot listen to the audio file without downloading it first. However, with the pictures you can view the picture itself in the Grademark viewer.

Of course, you can use all the usual Grademark viewer functions (QuickMarks, free comments, audio feedback) to give students in depth feedback on the file they have submitted.

There is also  one particular interesting file type I haven't mentioned… and that is…. no file at all!

What use is that I hear you cry!

Plenty actually…Particularly for marking a recital or a performance of some kind. Using the “no file type” feature, you can still mark it and return feedback using all the same good old/new GradeMark features!

It is also very simple to make use of. You can set up your Turnitin assignment in the usual way,
but instead of your students submitting a file, you create something called a “Grading Template”.

The “Grading Template” is actually just a piece of (Turnitin) headed paper. It opens up in the GradeMark viewer, allowing you to input your feedback to the student straight onto the blank paper.

In terms of what GradeMark features I would use here to give feedback.. I would probably be tempted go for the “summary”section of the GradeMark viewer (including audio feedback). This is mainly because, as  there is no structure on the paper itself, this could make QuickMarks and free text bubble comments look confusing.  I might use the “T” text function however, which allows you to write directly onto the paper itself.

As with normal submissions, you can also return a grade/mark on the performance.

It would also be important to educate students on how this part of Turnitin will work when using it in regards to a recital or a performance.

Do these features work on the iPad App?

in 2 words, not yet…..

Grading forms: Not at the time of writing
Link Comments to Rubrics: Not at the time of writing
Grade Anything: Not at the time of writing. Turnitin state that an update will be available soon that will enable these features

So that's it for now, hope you find some of those features useful and interesting. I will be back to update you on more e-assessment stuff in the near future!


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