Enhancing feedback using Turnitin Quickmarks

Programme: BSc Psychology

Mode: On campus and distance learning


Context: In responding to a university-wide drive to implement e-submission and e-feedback on the majority of undergraduate modules, we wanted to get as much as possible from the process both in terms of more streamlined administration and higher quality of feedback.

What we did & why: A common issue, particularly in larger modules where staff are responsible for marking an extensive range of scripts, is that the quality of feedback both in terms of legibility and usefulness can diminish due to factors such as a fatigue. This is avoidable as many of the common errors that students make with respect to the marking criteria for an assessment can be anticipated and helpful standardised feedback (Quick Marks) postulated in advance and collated into a bank of Quick Mark feedback that can then be used by markers for the assessment in question. To insert these Quick Mark feedback comments into a student’s work, the marker simply has to highlight the relevant text in the student’s script and click on the applicable Quick Mark.

Interview with Paul Penn
Informal interview about the experience of using Turnitin

  1. How did you get started with Turnitin?
  2. So you’ve been won over? (1.34)
  3. What about other staff? (2.08)
  4. …. and students? (4.24)
  5. Types of assignment for which it’s not suitable? (4.55)
  6. Final thoughts? (6.20)
  7. Is it time saving? (7)
  8. Has it improved student uptake of feedback? (7.55)
Instructional video for staff on how to use Quickmarks (by Paul Penn)
Part of a series of skills videos for staff & students.

  1. Introduction
  2. Adding a quickmark (QM) 1 (1.01)
  3. Adding another QM (5.00)
  4. Adding QMS – summary (6.30)
  5. Supplementing an existing QM: (7.20)
  6. Concluding comments: (7.40)

Benefits: There are a number of benefits to this system. Firstly, one can ensure the quality of feedback in advance of its utilisation by cross referencing the Quick Marks against the assessment criteria for that assessment in addition to the principles of good feedback as identified by Higher Education Academy initiatives such as SENLEF. One can achieve greater consistency in the feedback for modules where there are multiple markers. Similarly, it also helps individual markers maintain the consistency of their feedback by making them less susceptible to the fatigue that results from having to repeatedly type out the same feedback. Finally, one can integrate active links to sources of help within the feedback such that the student is automatically referred to additional support.

Recommendations: Careful thought has to be put into the contents of the quick mark sets available to markers. If the set is too large and the feedback comments  are not organised in a transparent and easily accessible fashion this is likely to alienate users and inhibit the use of the system. The solution is to organise the quick marks by theme e.g. the marking criteria they pertain to and make this explicit in the titles associated with each quick mark so an appropriate feedback comment can easily be located.

Contact: p.r.penn@uel.ac.uk

Link to support resources: http://www.uel.ac.uk/aple/staffsupport/moodle/ – scroll down to ‘Using Turnitin in Moodle’


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