Promoting Originality – Minimizing Plagiarism in Student Work

Wednesday, 18 November, 2009 (All day) to Friday, 20 November, 2009 (All day)

Presenter: Jude Carroll

Format: Seminar

Session 1: Getting the best out of Turnitin

This session evaluated the capabilities of the TurnItIn software tool designed to detect document originality. It is the most widely used software for this purpose with English language texts. However, it is not a magic bullet. The session covered what Turnitin can do and what it cannot do with respect to plagiarism and cheating. Teachers need this information to make sure the software is used wisely and well.

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Session 2: Using Turnitin well: a session for Postgraduate Teachers and Graduate Teaching Assistants

This session was for research postgraduates, especially those who teach; and covered

  • how to inform your students about Turnitin
  • how to interpret the reports the software generates and what action to take
  • ways of using Turnitin to help students learn about academic writing and referencing

Discussion was also made on how postgraduates themselves can incorporate Turnitin feedback into their own writing skills development.

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Session 3: Interpreting Turnitin Originality Reports

What does it mean if the Turnitin software finds a 56% match in your student's assignment? 56% might be serious and it might not. This session looked below the headline percentage in order to explain what the figure really means. It also alerted teachers to problems that can happen if reports are not checked carefully. The session suggested how to check a large number of reports efficiently and fairly.

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Session 4: Using Turnitin to teach skills as well as to detect plagiarism

Many universities use Turnitin as a teaching tool. One researcher describes the moment when students discuss the tool as 'a eureka moment' - but it is important to control and manage how students use it. This session explained good practice guidelines for formative use and recommended ways that HKUST might make the most of their license fee for Turnitin.

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