Global Innovation Awards 2017: Honorable Mention

Category: Writing with Integrity | North America

Casimiro Peña

Casimiro Peña

Research Assistant: DePaul University, Illinois

“Turnitin has made me a better student, writer, and educator,” says Casimiro Peña...Turnitin has empowered me to be the best academic I can be.” he says.

“Turnitin has made me a better student, writer, and educator,” says Casimiro Peña. He started using Turnitin as a middle-school student and continued using it through high school and as a first-generation college student. Last year, he shifted roles and starting using it to grade papers as a research and teaching assistant at DePaul University in Chicago. He and the professor were able to align grading standards and ensure consistency using Turnitin’s embedded rubrics and feedback report.

“Academic plagiarism, whether conscious or not, threatens the entire ivory tower that is academia,” says Peña. “Learning how to synthesize, not just summarize, information to support one’s own ideas is hard. Turnitin helps educators teach that process and cultivate a culture of integrity.”

Peña, who is an active community organizer when he’s not teaching or doing research, is always on the go. He appreciates that DePaul University has integrated Turnitin with its e-learning platform to help streamline assessments. “I can’t carry 40 papers with me all the time,” he explains, and sometimes professors ask for help grading at the very last minute. With Turnitin, he says he can literally pull over to any coffee shop with his laptop, do what he needs to do, and keep going.

Features like the drag-and-drop comments help Peña expedite grading, and he likes the ability to zoom in and enlarge fonts as needed, because he struggles with multiple eye conditions. “I want to make sure that I’m being fair, and reading everything thoroughly, and giving each student the same amount of time and energy,” he says. :

Peña says there will always students who don’t fully understand intellectual property or know how to cite sources, but with Turnitin, educators can trust the tool to do plagiarism scans so they can focus on mediating gaps in knowledge. “Turnitin has empowered me to be the best academic I can be,” he says.

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