Moving from Turnitin native to Turnitin Direct integration with Moodle

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Turnitin usage at Royal Holloway, University of London peaked in the academic year 2010/11 with approximately 40 000 submissions to the service. Twenty-one departments currently use Turnitin’s electronic submission and originality checking tools. These figures, when compared to those of 2005/6 when eight departments generated 5000 originality reports, represent a widespread adoption and embedding of the service in the College’s assessment processes. Moodle has played an important part in supporting staff and student access and understanding of Turnitin, having also become a key component of academic life here.

Drivers for change

With such widespread and embedded use of Moodle and Turnitin comes a diversity of user requirements. Some requests are in response to internal changes at Royal Holloway, while some arise from the need to improve the service by aligning it to the needs of Royal Holloway and other UK Higher Education institutions.

The E-Learning Team has worked with the Students’ Union, Student Experience groups, Faculty Teaching Groups and the E-Learning User Advisory Group, as well as those who use and support others in their use of Moodle and Turnitin. The feedback relating to Moodle and Turnitin can be categorised thus:

Access to and consolidation of course materials and activities
  • Accessing Turnitin can be confusing and is subject to human error.
  • Students appreciate the consolidation of academic materials and activities in Moodle.
  • Although the majority of courses now use Moodle, there is real concern that the levels of use vary within and between departments
  • These of GradeMark – Turnitin’s online marking and feedback system – has plateaued in the last year.

Supporting team-taught courses
  • Moodle supports a team-based approach to teaching and assessment
  • Turnitin does not support concurrent access to originality reports – and this has stifled the uptake of GradeMark.
  • Turnitin does not support double-marking – this has also slowed the uptake of GradeMark

Anonymous submission/marking
  • Turnitin complies with College regulations on anonymous marking of summative work.
  • Moodle, as a profile-driven environment underpinned by social-constructivist learning theories, does not easily support anonymity. 

  • Departmental Administrators have contributed enormously to the uptake of Turnitin.
  • The registration of users and creation of courses on Turnitin is time-consuming and often duplicates the efforts made to provide Moodle to the same user-base.

Overview of integration module

Turnitin's Moodle integration activity module is a standalone Moodle module with the aim of representing the full suite of Turnitin's features within Moodle. The module was developed with the full support and backing of iParadigms, the developers of Turnitin.

Advantages of integration

  • Moodle is widely used, centrally supported and is trusted.
  • Students, Academics and Administrative staff members are already registered on and familiar with Moodle.
  • A Moodle course-space for every Banner course already exists.
  • Student engagement is more readily tracked in Moodle than in Turnitin
  • Currently dormant Moodle course spaces can be used to increase the use of Moodle, improve the student experience , and to standardise the use of e-learning within and between departments.

Multiple marker access to Originality Reports and GradeMark
  • Turnitin assignments, when submitted via Moodle, can be viewed by all tutors connected to the course
  • With concurrent access to assignments, the possibility of double-marking and feedback is realised

Anonymous Marking
  • Anonymous marking allows student names to be masked from instructors up until after the assignment has been marked and moderated (either on- or offline)
  • Moodle can now be used as a repository for summative assessment, even for those assignments which have previously not used Turnitin 

Multi Part Assignments
  • Each Turnitin Assignment may consist of up to 5 parts, parts can be configured to have start dates, due dates and post dates independent of one another.
  • Such additional functionality allows for portfolio-based assignments and draft essays to be easily set-up and submitted

  • In the interests of continuity and consistency, it is suggested that Departmental Administration staff take responsibility for the creation of Turnitin assignments in Moodle.
  • Departments can use only one model – native Turnitin or Moodle-based access.
  • Assignments submitted to native Turnitin cannot be accessed via Moodle.
  • Only the course owner can access those assignments submitted via Moodle in the native Turnitin interface – although there should be no need to do so.
  • Moodle-based accounts will be in addition to native Turnitin accounts and therefore, existing and active Turnitin accounts will have to be closed down before students submit via Moodle.

Martin King - Senior Learning & Technology Officer @ Royal Holloway, University of London

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