Product: Turnitin

Product: Turnitin ¦ Retail price: approximately $2 per student per year

By MaryAnn Karre

“Turnitin is a collaborative online solution for managing writing assignments and delivering multifaceted, rich feedback to students on written work.”, May 1, 2011

Quality and Effectiveness: Most teachers know Turnitin as a plagiarism checker, and it still checks submitted papers against 14 billion Web pages, 150 million other student papers, and an impressive collection of leading library resources. Although it has been known to generate false negatives, such as properly cited segments, as well as overlook instances of plagiarism, the latest version allows a teacher to see matched sources from the paper three ways, to see all the text of a matching source, and to navigate across matches for that source. This enables the teacher to see which sources were used most often, which other sources also match within a certain section, and all sources that were used.

In addition to ensuring originality, though, Turnitin now makes editing and sharing content easier by facilitating teacher and peer review as well as paperless grading. Students become more involved in the process, as they can comment on other students’ work, under their own names or anonymously. Teachers can supply rubrics and standard or customized assessment questions to keep peer reviews on track and to direct the commentary.

Ease of Use: Turnitin is logical and easy to understand. When a paper is checked for plagiarism, color-coded and numbered sources in the right panel correspond to what the tool is flagging as the paper’s nonoriginal text, which is displayed in the main window. It is then up to the teacher to decide if the colored text was copied, and if so to bring this to the student’s attention. Grading and teacher commentary have been simplified with standard and custom comments that teachers can drag directly onto the paper, and teachers can easily create a QuickMark comment and save it for reuse. Comments in GradeMark are now easier to edit and more legible, and highlighting is simpler and more logical as well.

Creative Use of Technology: Turnitin is completely Internet based, so students can hand in papers anytime, anywhere, and teachers can share papers with other students without printing them. Assignment, discussion, and grading take place online, saving thousands of trees and ensuring that papers are not misplaced. Teachers can provide valuable feedback to students through editorial highlighting, custom comments, and making QuickMark editing marks directly on the students’ papers. Papers can now also be downloaded and printed as PDFs with or without the data from the OriginalityCheck and GradeMark.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment: Because it now has collaborative tools, Turnitin becomes more of a teaching tool than a trap for plagiarists. Students can learn to edit, revise, and correct citations with the help of suggestions from teachers and peers.

Top Features

¦ Turnitin can help teachers give students the guidance they need to revise and edit properly and use sources appropriately.
¦ Since it is entirely Web based, Turnitin enables students and teachers to become a learning community, sharing discussion, review, and assessment 24/7 within the classroom and outside it.