The day was split into two main parts – an update on the roadmap and two case studies from Turnitin users:


December 2011 – Blackboard Direct to be released. This will be an enhanced version of Turnitin for Blackboard users

Spring 2012 – Ability to grant extensions, expanded rubric, audio comments (record and playback on pc and tablets)

Summer 2012 – Better Analytics and reporting

Winter 2012 – Translated matching – checks matching over languages – online grading for iPad and android devices.

iParadigms offer a range a training sessions to support users of their tools the full list is available at:

Question and Answer Session with iParadigms

For interest, Barry Calvert noted that Wikipedia had the highest number of matches from all systems – 12% of all matches.

Multiple access for groups in Grademark is planned but no release date yet

There was a question over the single quote marks being included – this seems to be a UK issue and we need to vote for this on the feedback forum

Non numeric grade scales also appear to be a UK issue only and  can also be voted for in the feedback forum.

Case Study 1 – Efficacy of turnitin in support for an institutional policy – Simon Starr – Canterbury Christ Church

Simon suggested the following guidelines for Turnitin use:

  • Educate first – punish second
  • All information should be up front
  • Use in a formative manner first to allow for time on rich feedback after this the policy at CCC indicates that it may be used summatively.

From his research he noted that students mainly feel that Turnitin is about detection and policy rather than about education. Some students felt that the use  of Turnitin separates students who try to write and reference correctly and those who do not.

Simon noted that students still had problems interpreting originality reports. He noted that Oxford Brookes have created some good videos which may be of use – noted that these are currently being updated at

He noted that most student information comes from the tutors rather than any central guidance. This shows the importance of tutors having correct and up to date knowledge of the tools.

Case Study 2 – Implementing Grademark – Lessons from Cardiff University – Nathan Roberts and Judy Cousins

Cardiff have about 50,000 papers submitted per year

Grademark is being used to address NSS scores at Cardiff (Assessment Matters project)

The project has shown  how a technologist and an academic working together can achieve more than either alone.

They had to provide many training sessions for the assessors on Grademark – these worked best when the actual assessment was due. If the training was done too early then information was not retained. It was noted that the technologist role was crucial at this point.

Each school developed their own rubrics within Grademark – these were checked through the quality committees.

It was found that students liked Grademark – finding it equitable and clear

Cardiff had technical problems with Internet Explorer / Grademark – they advised staff to use firefox !!

Students liked the annotation facility –  however they did not like comments such as good/bad without further feedback.

Assessors were all very positive about grademark – it was noted that this could save up to 30% in time with better feedback. Some technical problems slowed this down E.g. NHS assessor had problems access the Grademark tool.

The team noted that modertation and second marking is a problem – they do not have a solution yet. It was also noted that assessors wanted a spell check facility.

Despite the reservations listed above it was stressed that Grademark generally works well and was valued by staff and students.

Rob Howe

One Response to Report from Turnitin Usergroup – 21 Sept 2011

  1. Kara says:

    Actually, iParadigms isn’t “asserting” their patent at least, not in the legal sense of the word. According to their press rlaseee, they were simply in business negotiations with Blackboard and were never intending to sue.It just feels like Blackboard is being the schoolyard bully. On the one hand, they patent broad ideas in educational technology and wield them aggressively against Desire2Learn; on the other hand they claim their own business partners’ ideas as their own according to Claim Three, they seem to feel that the terms of the Blackboard partnership agreement gives them an unlimited license to their partners’ intellectual properties in perpetuity. Any company would have to be mad to partner Blackboard under those terms, unless, of course, the agreement also gave them a license to all of Blackboard’s intellectual property in perpetuity but unfortunately, the agreements seem ridiculously lopsidedin Blackboard’s favour.Basically, Blackboard are staking their claim on all successful educational technologies the fundamental workings of the learning management system, as well as all of the ideas their so-called partners bring by their association with Blackboard either patenting them as their own, or asserting that such technologies are licensed to them in perpetuity.This kind of poor conduct isn’t going unnoticed by the educational community at large. Every one of the 5 tertiary institutions here in Canberra used to be a WebCT user. Since Blackboard’s patent suit against Desire2Learn, four of us have been re-evaluating our relationships with Blackboard with two completely ruling Blackboard products out of consideration.This latest move by Blackboard does nothing to improve its credibility in our community.