TEL team meet our new students at Welcome Week’s Academic Success Fair

Staff from the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team and Electronic Management of Assessment (EMA) programme enjoyed meeting our new students at Welcome Week’s Academic Success Fair.  

Pic of Pete & Chris

Pete Moll (L) & Chris Johnson (R) from the TEL team

We had some great discussions with students about Blackboard (our Virtual Learning Environment, VLE), submitting work and accessing marks and feedback online. It was interesting to hear about students’ previous experiences of VLEs, both anecdotally and via a survey we ran on the day.

The headline survey results showed that 54% of students have used VLEs prior to joining UoR and 60% have submitted assignments or coursework online before. It’s worth noting that although many students have prior experience of using a VLE, only 19% have previously used Blackboard.

We have some really useful resources to help students who are new to Blackboard and/or online submissions. These can be found via Blackboard’s Help tab; there’s a searchable site containing helpful resources on all aspects of using Blackboard and Turnitin. 

Congratulations to the 8 winners of our survey prize draw – we’ve emailed you with details of how to collect your Amazon voucher prizes (kindly donated by Blackboard)!

The TEL team would like to wish all our new and returning students every success for the forthcoming year! 

Chris Johnson / Lauren McCann (CQSD TEL) 

More Turnitin enhancements

Turnitin logo

 

 

 

The Turnitin developers have been busy recently, with a number of enhancements now available to users – here’s a summary.

(Incidentally, you will see notifications of all new features if you follow @TurnitinProduct on Twitter).

Improved document resolution

Documents submitted to Turnitin are now displayed in the Feedback Studio as PDFs, rather than PNG image files. This has not changed Feedback Studio functionality at all, but has introduced a marked improvement in the clarity and readability of student papers – so a significant boon for markers.

Easier access to Turnitin classes for iPad App users

The way staff can gain access to Turnitin assignments via the iPad app changed recently and now sends an email to users – see our post Marking using Turnitin on your iPad? Time to update your app.

There are some scenarios in which markers might not be able to access their institutional email on the iPad they are using. To accommodate these users, Turnitin have made it possible to view the required ‘class access URL’ on any device – for details see the Turnitin Release Notes.

Text-Only Similarity Reports

The Feedback Studio is not fully accessible for those who need to use assistive technology, such as a screen reader. The Text-Only version is fully accessible, and access to this version has been improved – there is now a link to the ‘Text-only Report’ at the bottom of the Feedback Studio window.

See this Turnitin Feedback Studio guide for details.

Link to the Text-only Similarity Report

 

Turnitin Community

When you are viewing a Turnitin Assignment Inbox within your Blackboard course, you will now see a link to Community.

Link to the Turnitin Community site
This takes you to a recently launched online space at https://turnitin.forumbee.com where academics and other staff involved with Turnitin can ask questions and share experiences:

The Turnitin Educator Network (TEN) forum connects educators with a shared commitment to academic integrity. Members support one another by sharing learnings to grow as a global network of leaders in education.

It will be interesting to see how this forum develops. It could become a valuable space in which to share good practice, gain inspiration, and make your voice heard about all of the additional features you would dearly love to see added to Turnitin.

 

 

Marking using Turnitin on your iPad? Time to update your app

Turnitin iPad app logoTurnitin have just released a new version of their iPad app: Turnitin Feedback Studio for iOS.

Actually, it’s no longer strictly an iPad app, as you can also install it on your iPhone or iPod Touch – although we don’t recommend marking student essays on a really small screen.

 

 

Existing iPad app users

Important:
Please ensure that you have finished marking and sync’d all downloaded papers before updating your app.

If you are already a user of the app, and have added one or more Blackboard courses to your ‘Class List’ in the app, you can for the time being continue to mark submissions on those courses without updating the app.

However you will need to update to the new version before you can mark work submitted to any other Blackboard courses.

 

What’s New

There is a revised method for connecting up Turnitin assignments in Blackboard to the App.

Instead of generating an Access Code in order to access a Blackboard course via the app, you now request a link to be sent to your email address.

To make use of this link, you must be able to access that email on your iPad.

This process is a more practical solution. It replaces the need to have your iPad to hand when generating the code on your desktop, and then having to type in the long letter code.

For full details of the revised method, please see our updated guidance, (or the instructions on the Turnitin support site.)

The Release Notes also list a number of bug fixes and minor enhancements.

eMarking tips & advice: Turnitin | Blackboard Assignments

This information is relevant to staff involved in marking work online

Over the next few weeks, many staff will be marking work which has been submitted via Blackboard or Turnitin.

To avoid any issues, please consult our E-marking essentials page, which provides essential information for anyone marking coursework and returning feedback to students online.

The page covers all aspects of assessment using Turnitin, Blackboard Assignments, and the Grade Centre:

  1. Preparing to mark online
  2. Marking assignments
  3. Moderation
  4. Releasing feedback and marks to students

 

There’s a few points we’d particularly like to highlight:

EMA Early Adopter Schools (APD & SAGES)

If you are in one of the Early Adopter Schools you will have been provided with specific guidance on e-marking and feedback. That information overrides the generic guidance on our support page.

 

Turnitin

Although you should be able to use Turnitin with all major browsers, advice received from Turnitin engineers and other institutions suggests that Firefox is the most reliable browser to use when providing feedback using the Feedback Studio.

If you do experience any technical issues with Turnitin over the Christmas closure period, you can contact Turnitin Support directly for help.

 

Blackboard Assignments

In January, we will be transitioning to a slightly different interface for providing online feedback on work submitted to a Blackboard assignment. Details can be found in this post on the TEL blog.

Instructors on a course with a Blackboard assignment due in December or early January, should already have been contacted with details of this change and what to do.

 

If you have any queries, please log them via the IT Self-Service portal.

 

Changes to Inline Grading in Blackboard

What is changing?

The Inline Grading features in Blackboard make use of a third party tool called Crocodoc.

The company who own Crocodoc are moving to a new tool called Box, and all Blackboard institutions need to switch to this new interface by 15th January 2018.

We will be making the transition to Box at the start of the working day on Wednesday 10th January.

The new Box interface is very similar to the current Crocodoc interface.

Comparison of Crocodoc and Box

Comparison of Crocodoc and Box

 

Box is able to display many more file types than is currently possible. In particular, you will be able to view image, audio and video files inside the Blackboard marking interface, and will also be able to annotate JPG and PNG image files inside Blackboard.

There’s a smaller range of annotation options available in Crocodoc, but when marking Word documents, PDFs and similar files, you will still be able to

  • highlight text
  • highlight text and add a comment
  • add a text comment anywhere on the submitted paper
    (this option is also available when annotating image files)

 

Box - adding a comment

Box – adding a comment

 

Box - adding a comment to highlighted text

Box – adding a comment to highlighted text

Box – add comment to a JPG image file

 

One function which is not available in Box, is the ability for staff and students to download papers with the annotations left by markers. We hope that this functionality may be reintroduced in a future version of the Box viewer.

For more information, please see the Blackboard help site: Transitioning from Crocodoc to New Box View

 

What will happen to feedback provided using Crocodoc?

The most important thing to know is that all feedback left using Crocodoc will still be available when we move to Box.

The feedback will continue to be visible – to both staff and students – within Blackboard, and when the marked paper is downloaded as a PDF.

Please note however that, once we move to Box, annotations made using Crocodoc are “burnt in”, and cannot be edited or deleted.

Annotations added using Crocodoc, after the transition to Box

Annotations added using Crocodoc, after the transition to Box

 

Annotations added using Crocodoc, downloaded as a PDF, after the transition to Box

Annotations added using Crocodoc, downloaded as a PDF, after the transition to Box

 

Important notice for staff marking work online in December and early January:

In accordance with University policy, feedback on assignments where the submission deadline falls on or before 8th December (the last day of UG term), should be made available to students by Tuesday 9th January. By switching to the new Box viewer on 10th January we hope to avoid any inconvenience to staff marking work due on or before 8th December.

However we are aware that there are some Blackboard assignments – particularly those set up for late submission after the due date – where our move to Box falls within the 15 day turnaround period.

If you are marking work where 10th January falls within the 15 day turnaround period, please ensure that any annotations you make before 10th January are in their final version – i.e. make sure that your annotations do not require editing before they become visible to students.

 

 

What is affected / what is not affected

  • This change affects only Blackboard assignments. Turnitin assignments are not affected.
  • This change affects only annotations made using the inline grading features.
  • It does not affect
    • feedback provided via an uploaded feedback file
    • feedback typed into the ‘Feedback to Learner’ area
    • student Grades
  • Switching to the new interface is a relatively quick process, and we do not expect it to cause any disruption to students submitting work, or to the Blackboard service as a whole. There may be a brief period after 8 a.m. on 10th January when staff are unable to mark work submitted to Blackboard assignments.

 

Further questions?

If you have queries relating to this change, please contact the TEL team via the IT Self-Service portal.

 

Turnitin enhancement: Timeout setting revised

Turnitin updated Feedback Studio on 14th December.

The most important improvement appears to be this one:

“Fixed an issue where instructors were getting timed out of the Feedback Studio if marking student work for over an hour”.
https://guides.turnitin.com/01_Manuals_and_Guides/Administrator_Guides/Feedback_Studio_Success_Kit/Feedback_Studio_Release_Notes

We believe that this timeout issue may have accounted for issues experienced recently by a few staff at Reading.

As we understand the situation, leaving feedback within the Feedback Studio window was – incorrectly – not being counted as activity, with the result that staff could be logged out of Turnitin when they had been marking for 60 minutes. This has now been fixed.

User activity within the Feedback Studio window (e.g. key stokes and mouse clicks) will now reset the timeout clock. Therefore, the 60 minute timeout should now affect only those users who have the Feedback Studio window open for over 60 minutes without clicking or writing comments.

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