Experiment 2016: Streamlining Through Turnitin

Classroom practices blog by Marina Amador, a high school teacher and Turnitin Certified Trainer


My first exposure to turnitin.com was a crash course in how to login and a brief description of its "plagiarism" check. I am sure there are many who can relate to this experience with turnitin or some other instructional fad that is suddenly our new best friend.

As most of us do in education, I thought I'd use it the obligatory once or twice and move on to the next edtech trend. I added a class, had my seniors submit an essay, and that was about it for a while.

Then the inevitable students-copying-students issue reared its ugly head in a way I couldn't ignore and I acknowledged I needed turnitin.com to help reinforce my passionate declaration that cheating was a hard NO in the classroom and add weight to the obscure, "I will find out!"

From that moment, turnitin.com has become one of the most important components of my instruction. It reinforces writing on so many levels. It helps illustrate and reinforce proper paraphrasing techniques, the importance of quotation marks, and necessity of a works cited. It legitimizes peer reviews and makes them more engaging for students.

The icing on the cake? Yes, there is always icing (I have a sweet tooth for ease of use). I discovered the quickmarks, rubrics, and voice comment features. Once I established my turnitin grading norms, I found grading 150 essays to be more approachable and digestible.

The problem I am currently struggling with, and students face, is the various sites they have to use for my class alone. Picture it: you're my student. Absent today? Go to the school website, potentially login to the school system, find my school site, and copy and paste my personal site link. Login there, download the powerpoint, the handouts, and go to Owl Purdue or other various sources as required by the lesson. Open word, type your assignment, and then login into turnitin.com—submit work—and, finally, logout of three systems and close out multiple windows.

That's one class in the day and age of the Common Core. Now, compound that by five other classes and you'll quickly understand why my mission this year is to streamline my class into one easily accessible source—syllabus, class announcements, power points, discussions, assignment submission, grade book, and all.

I am almost 100% self-taught, as most of us forging our way in edtech are, so I am sure we could sit down and learn more about turnitin.com from each other. I am not the end all in turnitin knowledge, but I love to learn through trial and error and share that knowledge. I would like you to join me as I share the successes and challenges of my newest turnitin foray. I can guarantee more icing, tips, and engaging anecdotes as I attempt to solely rely on turnitin.com throughout the school year.

Personalizing and Contextualizing Student Learning
Extending the Reach: Providing Personalized Comments to Students
Campus-Wide Initiative: Integrity, Writing, and Technology
Helping Students Get Started with an Intensive Crash Course
Giving Face-to-Face Feedback to Remote Learners

About the Educator

Hello! I am an English high school teacher, camp yearbook instructor, and Turnitin Certified Trainer. I have spent a majority of my teaching career streamlining writing instruction and grading through the use of turnitin.com. When I am not hiking, running, or walking my dog, you can find me scaling rock in the wilds of my native state of California.