Global Innovation Awards 2017: Honorable Mention
Category: Writing with Integrity | Europe
Rolands BļujusManager of E-Studies: Riga Stradiņš University, Latvia
“Turnitin has extensive database that covers students’ papers and resources from different universities worldwide."
Rolands Blujus represents Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) – a prestigious, up-to-date university of health and human sciences providing a platform for studies, research and sharing of knowledge in Latvia. He manages E-Studies and subsequently oversees the Moodle learning platform and Turnitin, which was implemented approximately three years ago. Previously, a custom tool to check work for plagiarism against a homegrown collection of student papers was used. Access to this tool was very restricted and the content of the available database was very limited therefore it did not give the expected results.
Academics were willing to check student papers against a much larger database with a tool that would be simple to use and that could be easily integrated in the already known software. Blujus explains: “Turnitin has extensive database that covers students’ papers and resources from different universities worldwide. That’s good because academics can identify students copying papers not only locally, but as from other universities as well. This wouldn’t be possible with the previous tool.”
Before RSU started to use Turnitin, students handed in their papers in the form of CDs, flash drives or via email. Any question of originality was checked manually. Now each academic has access to Turnitin, which automatically checks content for originality. Blujus says: “Students like the convenience of being able to easily upload their work online using a phone or laptop”.
Some academics use Turnitin to improve the feedback, link comments to rubrics, and expedite grading. Previously the feedback was logged in a separate file that had to be downloaded by each student. By using Turnitin, grading has become faster and students can see comments in the context within each assignment as well. “We are checking different types of papers, starting from essays up to the final papers and even mathematical formulas,” says Blujus. “This Turnitin tool is used by academics both in medical and social sciences. ”
Turnitin has helped RSU to simplify originality checks, which consequently has reduced the amount of support Blujus has to give to academics. RSU, by joining Turnitin, has made big efforts to create a database in Latvian. We have carried out extensive work by uploading not only students’ papers, but also different resources. All the work accomplished has resulted in the improvements of the quality of students’ papers. Now Blujus has set his next goal to work on automatic Latvian grammar corrections.
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