Global Innovation Awards 2017: Honorable Mention

Category: Writing with Integrity | Latin America

Jeny Mirella Cañón López

Jeny Mirella Cañón López

Librarian and Teacher: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia

“Kids now live with technology, so it’s a piece of cake for them. They think it’s a very practical tool.”

Jeny Mirella Cañón López is both a librarian and teacher at the National University of Colombia, ranked as the top university in the country and one of the most prestigious in Latin America. As a public institution, it attracts students from every socio-economic background. It sustains its elite reputation through high-quality education and first-rate research and academic publications.

Before discovering Turnitin, Cañón López says teachers spent a lot of time and effort manually checking sources in stacks of student papers. “Three years ago, I used to carry a lot of papers around, very heavy. I had a constant backache, and my shoulders hurt as well,” she says. “Now I have everything online – the papers, the notes, the comments.”

The dean in the research department organized the acquisition of Turnitin, and the library staff made it available to teachers, along with training. At first, Cañón López says, only a handful of teachers had access, along with magazine editors and the departmental deans and directors. Once they saw how useful the tool was, they decided to make it available to every teacher via Moodle so that it could be used in the classroom.

“Writing is a process,” says Cañón López. She acknowledges that it’s not an easy one either. This is why they use Turnitin throughout the feedback and revision loop, not just for summative assessments. She says that students want to understand and correct mistakes and Turnitin helps them do that. “They are not afraid of Turnitin because the idea is to teach, not to punish,” she says.

Teachers have also started to use Turnitin for their own writing, which Cañón López thinks will lead to more and better publishing. And because it’s used across departments, she says students learn that academic integrity is an essential part of every discipline. It’s an embedded expectation. “The kids are excited about this,” she says. “Kids now live with technology, so it’s a piece of cake for them. They think it’s a very practical tool.”

Go back to see all of our winners and honorable mentions.