Armed with my lanyard, notebook and pen (all Turnitin branded of course!), I was excited for the ‘Turnitin as a Partner in Education’ themed conference hosted at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Newcastle.
The programme was packed with presentations, and in this blog post I will mention some of the key things I got out of the conference.
The conference began with a word from the CEO. By 2020 Turnitin wants to increase the number of student users from 35 million to 100 million, and the number of submissions (which it currently has) from 200 million to 1 billion. Turnitin wants to do this by also working better in partnership with Universities and other HEIs, with the intention of looking at University strategies to increase the use of Turnitin. And even though they want to move from being “feature driven to a more problem solving service”, there are some features they would like to develop in the future; some of these being the ability to detect ‘ghost-writing’ and a better solution for formative assessment where students can submit draft work. All in all, Turnitin’s plans are very ambitious.
Even during the Technology Keynote, five themes were outlined as being the main things that will be concentrated on: Speed, Power, Flexibility, Accessibility and Security. This year 16% more will be spent on Research and Development, and the new $5million data centre will be integral to Turnitin’s ambitions.
The most useful, and probably the most anticipated, presentation of the day was on the new Turnitin Feedback Studio. Branded as “Turnitin reimagined for the modern classroom”, the new suite (or ‘studio’ as Turnitin likes to call it) is the new feedback tool that Turnitin has to offer. Offering a completely new (responsive) interface, this Feedback Studio is a re-design of the old Document Viewer. With everything on one toolbar, including the Originality Check, GradeMark and Peermark, emphasis has very much been put on accessibility. With collapsible columns and buttons, added formatting features and a more fluid Rubrics design the document viewing and the experience itself is much cleaner and less busy. Some added features include adding links to website on comments, and the ability to easily convert a comment into a QuickMark. It is also possible to add further comments to specific QuickMarks to explain something in more detail. You can even try the new Feedback Studio for yourself on their online demo.
Talks are underway to discuss the best time to introduce Feedback Studio within the University, taking into consideration the assessment cycle and the important work of informing, training and supporting staff through the change. This is an on or off decision for the University, it cannot be switched for some Schools and not for others, therefore careful consideration is being given to the specific timing. The use of Turnitin has grown dramatically over the last 5 years within Cardiff, with the majority of Schools using the package in some way or other. Of course, there will be a need to update all support resources for the product, as well as continual work of disseminating good practice.
Follow the hashtag to see the online conversation about this conference: