UTS has two well developed and efficient systems for feedback and assessment: REVIEW and Turnitin. With each system comes a plethora of benefits and pitfalls. This post will look at how each system handles assessments, and will be followed up by another post looking at how each system handles feedback – so watch this space.
It is difficult to make direct comparisons when looking at the assessment component of both systems, as they approach the issue in entirely different ways. For example, Turnitin has its strength in handling actual assessment task submissions, whereas REVIEW does not. This means students are able to submit PDF or Word Document assessment tasks into a digital submission dropbox where they can be stored and retrieved by teaching staff for assessment and grading. This has big benefits in terms of not misplacing assessment tasks, carrying less paper around, and the ability to organise assessment tasks according to submission dates (worth its weight in gold for late submissions). But the hidden gem in Turnitin is the ability for teaching staff to receive a complementary originality report with every assessment. This report details potential areas for plagiarism from students by scouring the assessment and cross-matching it across the Internet and over a multitude of databases of journals. That’s a big win. This, however, is not without its pitfalls.
Turnitin does not allow for group assessment submissions. For individual analytical essay writing, literature reviews, or annotated bibliographies, this is fine. But for group collaboration on project-based assessments or authentic report writing, it kind of misses the mark… by a mile. Considering learning.futures subject must include collaborative exercises and assessment, this can be a bit of a no-fly zone for some. What a pity. It was so close. Lucky enough, REVIEW can pick up where Turnitin fails.
- Produces originality reports
- Handles the storage and retrieval of assessment tasks (PDF and Word supported)
- Integrates with UTSOnline Gradebook
- Does not handle group assessments
- Does not fair well for presentations or non-paper based assessments
- Does not allow for self-assessment
REVIEW is a UTS in-house built technology, and I have to say, it’s pretty darn good, and does what it’s supposed to do really well. REVIEW allows academic teaching staff the ability to set up assessment tasks for feedback. There is one pitfall though – it does not handle actual assessment submissions. That is, it does not allow students to submit assignments whether PDF, Word or hard copies to any document repository. ‘But Ollie,’ you say, ‘why on Earth would I want that?’ Well I’m glad you asked, because:
Not all assessment tasks are paper-based!
This is where Turnitin’s strength becomes its weakness. It only handles paper based assessments. Goodbye to assessable videos – a growing trend across UTS, goodbye design work, photography, excel-based assessments, and anything not essay or report-based. REVIEW allows for an avenue of streamlined feedback, which when set up correctly, ties your assessment tasks to student learning and your subject learning outcomes. I know this sounds a little vague and abstract at first, but once you see how it works, the potential for creative and authentic assessment design becomes exponentially more possible and fun! Oh, and it handles group work smoother than a brand new B.M.W. tackles the Alps.
That’s right, REVIEW allows you to set up group assessment tasks. Feedback given to a group is sent to all individuals. Group assessments where students work collaboratively in, say, numbers of 5, means one assignment graded = 5 assignments graded. Streamlined, efficient and completely tied into subject learning outcomes, rubric ready and criteria matched. What REVIEW is designed to do, it does very well. We haven’t even gone into the actual feedback process, which is where it really shines! Oh! And one last thing – tasks can be set up so that students self-assess as part of the process.
- Handles a variety of assessment types and modes – not just paper
- Handles group assessment like a dream
- Integrates subject learning outcomes with assessments tasks in a real neat-o way
- Does not handle assignment submissions
- Does not integrate with UTSOnline grade centre
That about does it for this post on REVIEW vs Turnitin. I am planning on writing a follow up on the actual feedback and grading components of both systems soon, so keep an eye out. In the meantime, what have been your experiences using either system? I’d love to hear the horror stories and romantic classics from everyone!