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Integrating use of plagiarism detection software into institutional academic misconduct policies. Institutional policies and procedures for dealing with.

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Presentation on theme: "Integrating use of plagiarism detection software into institutional academic misconduct policies. Institutional policies and procedures for dealing with."— Presentation transcript:

1 Integrating use of plagiarism detection software into institutional academic misconduct policies. Institutional policies and procedures for dealing with plagiarism, ASKe, Oxford Brookes University, 4 June, Gill Rowell, Academic Advisor, PlagiarismAdvice.org

2 Today’s session Our background. Models of use and good practice in using TurnitinUK. Areas to consider when developing/reviewing academic misconduct policy. Discussion.

3 About us. Set up in 2002 as Plagiarism Advisory Service by JISC against a background of concern surrounding issues of plagiarism and authenticity in student work. Since summer 2008 service has been self-sustaining and managed by nLearning, a spin out company from Northumbria University. Provide TurnitinUK software and advice to over 96% of universities in the UK, along with colleges and schools in UK and Europe. Emphasis on promoting and disseminating good practice. Key UK partners include universities, colleges and schools, awarding and regulatory bodies such as Ofqual, plus JISC and the Higher Education Academy.

4 PlagiarismAdvice.org Training & policy advice. JISCmail discussion lists. Resources from the academic community. Biennial international conference, next conference, June 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne. TurnitinUK. UK user group.

5 Generic penalty tariff. Based on AMBeR research which demonstrated a lack of consistency in application of penalties across institutions. Feasibility of developing a generic points-based tariff for adoption by the sector. Consultation exercise to determine: o Factors important when assigning a penalty. o Degree of flexibility when assigning a penalty. Thanks to everyone who has taken part in the consultation exercise so far.

6 Why TurnitinUK? Used by: o 96% of UK Universities. o Further education colleges. o All Unitary Awarding Bodies via JCQ. o A growing number of secondary schools.

7 UK submissions to TurnitinUK

8 Models of TurnitinUK use Students submit their work to TurnitinUK (screen all). Tutors submit all students' work to TurnitinUK (screen all). Tutors submit work which looks suspect to TurnitinUK (suspicion triggered). Tutors submit a sample of papers to TurnitinUK as part of a QA process (sampling). Tutors submit work of specific groups of students whose work may be problematic (profiling). Tutors make it clear to students that they have the option of using TurnitinUK to check work (deterrent). Tutors demonstrate TurnitinUK to students in order to stimulate discussion about academic integrity and attribution (formative demonstration). Tutors provide students with access to their Originality Reports, but offer no follow up on interpreting the report or issues of academic integrity or attribution (formative unsupported). Tutors provide students with access to their Originality Reports, and offer follow up on interpreting the report and issues of academic integrity or attribution (formative supported).

9 Suspicion triggered   ? Corrective Action Never ‘Profiling Searches’ Why? Discriminatory Self perpetuating Assumption of guilt Never ‘Profiling Searches’ Why? Discriminatory Self perpetuating Assumption of guilt

10 Sampling  Corrective Action

11 Tutor screens all Feedback on analysis  Variation Academic Conduct Officers screen all scripts before marking. For Speed up punitive process Attempt to reduce tutor load Remove bias from marking Ensures adoption Against Removes tutor from process Ignores use as T&L tool Ignores feedback opportunity Variation Academic Conduct Officers screen all scripts before marking. For Speed up punitive process Attempt to reduce tutor load Remove bias from marking Ensures adoption Against Removes tutor from process Ignores use as T&L tool Ignores feedback opportunity

12 Good practice in using TurnitinUK. Emphasis on prevention rather than detection. Used formatively allows for reflection and self diagnosis. Initiates a dialogue with students: Need for attribution of sources. Information on the web does belong to someone! Appropriate use of good quality sources. Overreliance on electronic sources.

13 Student views “The software helped me to be more cautious about citation’; ‘for me, I will never ever forget about efficient citations according to my first experience of Turnitin’; sometimes we make a mistake and don’t use citation or not correctly...this way gives us a second chance’.” (Davis, 2007) “Students write draft essays, which are then submitted to the detection service with the output report returned to individuals and then discussed in class sessions. This has addressed a key problem that students find difficulty in expressing their own understanding without relying too heavily on the sources they use, since the detection service highlights potential plagiarism problems in such over-reliance.” (McDowell, 2006)

14 Why integrate guidance on TurnitinUK use? Prevent ad hoc use, achieve balance between unnecessary bureaucracy and fairness. Ensure consistency in approach. o “The lack of consistency means that we are vulnerable when pursuing a case of plagiarism and of course it is not fair to the students if they have differing experiences.” (O’Neill, 2009) Offer guidance in interpreting Originality Report: o “making sure academics research their allegations thoroughly before embarking upon a disciplinary process rather than seeing a 60% match and not investigating the nature of the matches.” (Bentley, 2007)

15 Guidance on use at institution. Provide p rotocols for both summative and formative use where appropriate. o Model(s) of use adopted by institution, with pros and cons, for example, whole group submission to prevent a student from being unfairly singled out. Specify in which situations use is mandatory, for example for all postgraduate dissertations. Be clear where discretion in use is permitted, for example where this may be determined by the module/programme in question. Any specific conditions of use: o “access to the software will only be granted on receipt and approval of a plan to detail how the software will be used”. (Cambridge University)

16 Guidance on formative use Policies stressed the role of TurnitinUK in the assessment process as an educational tool: o “We recognise that the educational desirability that all of our students should enjoy the opportunity to self-submit their work to Turnitin (before submitting for assessment). We also recognise that Turnitin Originality Reports will sometimes assist in the identification of plagiarised work submitted for assessment.” (UEL) Provision of general awareness resources, chance to review an Originality Report in class, and/or to submit a piece of their own work with appropriate guidance from tutor on interpreting report.

17 Guidance for staff Training in correctly interpreting Originality Report is essential: o “Any programme wishing to use Turnitin must contact the LTEU in the first instance to arrange training in the use of the system” (Canterbury Christ Church Unversity) Originality Report must not be used in isolation. Guidance on dealing with view requests from other institutions.

18 Guidance for students Contractual requirement of use of TurnitinUK. Students are informed of use at induction. Wording is added to enrolment agreement. o Students expectations should be set. o Reinforce the need for honesty and integrity. o Citation and study skills resource/lessons provided. Students are at a minimum shown TurnitinUK. Ideally TurnitinUK is used formatively.

19 A note on Data Protection... Contract applies to use of all TurnitinUK features, including GradeMark, Peer Review etc. Your institution is Data Controller. iParadigms, developers of TurnitinUK, are Data Processors. Work can be removed from the database at the request of the institution at any time.

20 Other areas to consider. Avoid isolated use of TurnitinUK as the only indicator of potential plagiarism: o “An Originality report should never be advanced as the sole reason for suspecting that a piece of work is plagiarised, because the judgement as to whether work is plagiarised must always be an academic judgement.” (UEL) o Jude’s model of “tipping the balance”. o “Balance of probabilities” model in law. o Balance of probabilities favoured over “beyond reasonable doubt”. Reinforces need for other supporting guidance, and holistic approach.

21 Also give thought to... Providing guidance to tutors on thresholds for similarity index in Originality Report. Policy on sharing papers with other institutions if matching text is identified. Whether work should be marked prior to viewing TurnitinUK report.

22 Conclusions Explicit guidance ensures consistency and provides a clear message to students. Clear protocols for use whether summative or formative. Clear communication with students on use and active engagement with software. Training for staff on interpreting report to prevent unjustified accusations. Holistic approach is, as ever, key!

23 Thanks to: Jude Carroll. Toby Grainger, University of East London. Madeline McKerchar, Cambridge University. Jane O’Neill, University of Leeds. Simon Starr, Canterbury Christ Church University.

24 Resources, tutorials and guides on plagiarism and TurnitinUK As discussed in the session, here are some links to some existing resources on plagiarism in general and TurnitinUK which have been developed by the community: Developing assessment strategies which encourage original student work: an online guide Developing assessment strategies which encourage original student work: an online guide I collated a range of resources in this guide, see in particular general resources for students in section 1, and also section 7 on using TurnitinUK formatively. Academic integrity: using Turnitin (Accessed: 30 January 2009). The University of Kent site includes guidelines on using TurnitinUK and on interpreting the Originality Report. York St John University TurnitinUK support website (Accessed: 30 January 2009). This comprehensive guide to using the software includes video resources and FAQs for both staff and students.

25 Thank you for listening!

26 References Bentley, S. (2007) ‘Students’ DIY Turnitin’, Plagiarism discussion list, 8 June [Online]. Available Canterbury Christ Church University: policy on plagiarism (no date), Canterbury Christ Church University. Davis, M. (2007) ‘The Role of Turnitin within the formative process of academic writing’, Brookes eJournal of Learning and Teaching, 2 (2), p.3. [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 2 June 2009). McDowell, L. et al. (2006) Assessment for learning: current practice exemplars from the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Assessment for Learning [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 2 June 2009).http://northumbria.ac.uk/static/5007/cetlpdf/exemplars.pdf O’Neilll, J. (2009) to Gill Rowell, 11 May. Policy on the use of Turntin within UEL (2008), University of East London. Policy on the use of TurnitinUK originality checking software (2008), University of Cambridge.


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