21. Plagarism, Turnitin and WebLearn

21.1. WebLearn Team Member Wins Slogan Competition

Is Your Degree Worth Peanuts? anti plagarism poster

At the 4th International Plagiarism conference hosted by iParadigms Europe in Newcastle in June, a competition was held for attendees to write for slogans warning students against plagiarism.

WebLearn team member Dr Jill Fresen submitted three slogans and the first one was chosen as a winner!

Congratulations Jill.

Jill’s winning slogan poster (’Is your degree worth peanuts?’) is now available as a poster from the plagiarismadvice.org website. Why not download it and display it in your department or college?

21.2. Using Turnitin for Plagiarism Detection and Prevention

Turnitin is an online text matching system that can be used to help with the identification of potential plagiarism in electronically submitted student work. It can also be used in a formative way, for tutors to help students develop their academic writing and citation skills.

Oxford University has a subscription to the UK Turnitin service, so university staff members may use it at no cost to their departments. Oxford University Computing Services manages the service and creates instructor accounts on request (send email to turnitin@oucs. ox.ac.uk). OUCS offers lunch time training sessions for staff members (bookings are essential) and guidance is available within WebLearn on the Plagiarism Support site.

The WebLearn Assignments tool has an integration feature with Turnitin, which means that students do not require any additional passwords or instructions on how to submit their assignments. Student Administration is running a pilot project to investigate policy and procedures for using the WebLearn/Turnitin integration for examined work.

OUCS is currently working with the Proctors’ Office and the Education Policy Support Unit to consolidate all the guidance about the formative and summative use of Turnitin into a single source of information for use across the university. The document is still in the draft stage, but after approval, it will be available on all the relevant websites.

If you use Turnitin or are simply just curious then why not follow our dedicated Turnitin Blog called Turnitin At Oxford?

21.3. Studies on the use of Turnitin

Two reports have recently been released about the use of Turnitin in terms of its effectiveness, and student access to originality reports.

The White Paper ‘The Effectiveness of Turnitin and WriteCycle’ reports on the use of Turnitin worldwide in helping to ‘reduce serious incidents of unoriginal content in student work and to produce better writers across the entire curriculum’ (p.3). Continued use of the system can help to support students in developing responsible writing skills in a ‘cut-and-paste culture’ (p.3).

Martin King, Senior Learning and Technology Officer, Royal Holloway College, University of London, conducted a study on Turnitin practices in UK HE institutions. This study, entitled ‘Student access to Originality Reports’, considered the following questions:

  • are students permitted to interact with Turnitin?
  • is access to the Originality Reports denied or allowed?
  • what sort of access is supported?
  • what are the reasons behind these decisions?

It was found that allowing students to view their Originality Reports is educational, formative, and can form the basis for discussing and learning about acceptable academic writing practices.

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