The University of Notre Dame University Australia cares about its students, which is evidenced by the highest student satisfaction rating it was recently awarded. This year, one of the steps the University took to improve student learning and support student satisfaction and engagement was to replace its former plagiarism-checking tool with Turnitin, which includes more robust features to improve the feedback loop between teachers and students.
Kathie, as Manager of the Learning and Teaching Office (LTO), helped to develop the guidelines around using Turnitin and embed positive academic practices into the learning culture at the University. Kathie has come up with a series of initiatives to help frame academic’s understanding of why they would use Turnitin, explaining that the key focus is to educate students about writing and proper academic standards, not punish them. Towards this end, she worked with the governance structures within Notre Dame, and collaboratively rewrote and renamed the academic integrity policy so as to focus on these positive approaches rather than the element of “misconduct”.
In her role as Manager of the LTO, Kathie also leads staff seminars to teach them how to support students in reducing the likelihood of breaching the academic integrity policy. She says the new approach has been well-received, as it aligns with the University’s pastoral care mission. Kathie has conducted surveys to assess what staff think about Turnitin, and says that some initially were skeptical, particularly those still using pen and paper. Once they learned about the time-saving automation features and being able to link to rubrics, some of which she helped to develop herself, they were enthusiastic about the benefits. Ultimately, the greatest value Kathie sees is shared practice and expectations across disciplines, which provides greater consistency for students.
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