TurnItIn UK User group meeting

This was at the Senate House, London  on February 15th and was attended by 110 delegates representing over 90 different user institutions.

There was a groundswell of disgruntlement over TII’s failures in 2012: at peak times, the service had failed completely on two occasions.

Looking past the spin that was being put on the situation (“There was a failure of communication”:  ‘NO, there was a failure of the service we are paying for.  Better communication wouldn’t have helped…’), the existing TII infrastructure (which was largely unchanged since it was commissioned in 1998) is showing its age, and then unprecedented demand led to the failures.  A major redesign/replacement of the database system is under way.  One benefit of our recession: it’s easier to recruit programmers in the UK than in California, so a lot of the development work is being done over here.

Twitter and RSS feeds are now available giving service status messages, but these had caused problems where there was confusion between TIIUK and TIIworldwide.  Hence although you could have an RSS block on Learn showing the status of the TII service, it might be more nuisance than it is worth.

Jam tomorrow…

Late 2013 – multiple Administrators for an account will be possible.

May 2013 – An  iPad grading app for GradeMark will be available (for free).  This will allow offline marking with automatic syncing when in WiFi range.  There are no plans for an Android equivalent (“Android has too many variations”) or a laptop equivalent.

Q4 2013: Multiple markers will be accommodated by assigning a marking layer to each marker.  Eventually, the layers will be switchable so that marker B can’t see what marker A has already written.  There will only be one mark per submission, with an audit trail of who changed the mark, and when.

Q4 2013: TurnItIn Research – a version geared towards the comparison of research papers rather than student papers.  Will be an extra-cost option and when challenged, Gill Rowell admitted that it didn’t do much that the existing Quick Submit facility did.

Q4 2013: The Document Viewer will be re-written, so expect minor GUI changes.

All TII integrations with VLEs (including the Moodle Direct integration that we use) are being updated to use a new API.  A new plugin, available from Feb 19th will work with Moodle 2.4; work with PeerMark and Rubric Manager; and is supposed to support annual rollover of TII assignments.

In early May, another new Moodle Direct Beta plugin will be available, giving access to all facilities, including a file viewer for the locally-stored submissions.

Other bits…

The ability to draw freehand annotations on a GradeMark submission is not being planned, though it is known that many users would like it.

The iThenticate website (part of the iParadigms suite) lists all the e-Journals which are in the master database.

The e-Rater add-on is an extra-cost option which performs stylistic analysis on the English grammar and syntax of a submission.  It had been rejected by some UK sites because of Data Protection fears (it keeps its own copies of everything submitted to it, and claims to retain the IPR of the submissions).