I’ve been in correspondence with Turnitin UK about a few problems we’ve been having recently. One was that I couldn’t edit my user profile within Turnitin. This, it seems is because, we use the Blackboard plug-in. Apparently all data about user profiles is taken from Blackboard, and you can’t change your profile in Turnitin itself because it would cause a conflict.
Fair enough, you might say. But, many users want to use Turnitin to check “suspicious” pieces of work and to do this you have to use a feature called Quick Submit. The only way you can use the Quick Submit feature in Turnitin is to activate it in your Turnitin user profile. So if you haven’t done this before you create a class in Blackboard, then you can’t use Quick Submit because you can’t edit your user profile. Actually, you can, but you have to contact Turnitin to activate Quick Submit for you, which seems a bit of a pain. Or ask someone who’s Quick Submit is already on. (e.g. me!)
Having said that I entirely accept that in an ideal world we shouldn’t really need to use Quick Submit at all. If we used Turnitin as a teaching tool, rather than a detection service, (and many colleagues at Lincoln already do this – we are getting there.) then students would be properly educated about plagiarism, and would understand why engaging in it undermines their own learning and is thus a completely self-defeating exercise.
I’m not really blogging to moan about Turnitin though, more to make the point that technological imperatives can subtly change the way we work. If Quick Submit is not easily accessible then people have no alternative but to build Turnitin into the assessment process. Or they could just ask me to do it for them. So it changes my workload instead. Ho hum.