Engage Students with Online Peer Review

At Collin College, Turnitin allows instructors to accommodate diverse learning needs with a digital peer review platform. Instructors can easily facilitate peer feedback and discussion—and side-step the burden of physical papers—while developing students’ critical thinking and writing skills.


Collin College
Collin County, TX
Community College
53,000 Students, Large Mobile Population

Introduction

Collin College serves a large mobile population of 53,000 students. They accommodate diverse learning needs and varied schedules with robust online resources. To help students develop critical thinking skills so they can express their ideas with clarity and precision, Collin College uses Turnitin's full complement of online tools: OriginalityCheck™, GradeMark® and PeerMark®.

Benefits

Online Peer Review Facilitates Teaching and Learning in Any Discipline

Learning how to communicate an idea—writing with purpose for an audience— is a big part of learning critical thinking skills. Using peer review as part of the writing process encourages critical thinking about how to communicate ideas. Collin English Professor Sonja Andrus says, "Unlike traditional face-to-face peer review, PeerMark allows us all to log-in anytime, to look at the discussion, and to ask and answer questions. I am able to keep the entire class moving along in the development of their papers without having to grade too quickly or skip giving them the feedback they need. This is a huge benefit over the paper method."

Jim Reynolds, associate professor of history, appreciates the value in teaching subject matter by having students write about it. "Using PeerMark expands their knowledge beyond what they would write about on their own," he says. "It helps students to understand the subject and to become better writers."

"Digital Native" Students Prefer Paperless Peer Review

Reynolds remembers participating in paper-based peer review when he was working toward his master's degree. Now that he is teaching his own students, he uses an online process. "Younger students, especially, like the digital process," Reynolds says. Seeing additional benefits, English professor Carlton Clark says, "Anonymous peer review in a digital online environment is a bit more honest, and PeerMark is so much more convenient since it is online."

Impact

Using a paperless peer review process and managing writing assignments online with Turnitin has proven to be a real boost to faculty productivity and has aided cost-cutting at Collin College. It starts with the Turnitin OriginalityCheck service. "I don't know if I could spend the time to deal with plagiarism issues without Turnitin," says Lauryn Angel-Cann, professor of English. Reynolds agrees. "The OriginalityCheck takes the pressure off the instructor and saves time," he says, "and I really like GradeMark because it allows me to go paperless. It's much quicker to grade papers online than using a word processor or manual mark-up, and it saves paper." Clark adds, "Using Turnitin makes my work easier. There is no reason to use paper anymore. Everything is online, and the administration is encouraging us to cut down on expenses for paper and copying. I'm not the most organized person in the world, so keeping track of papers and having stacks of papers on my desk slows me down." What's more, Andrus concludes, "We're accommodating students—not just their abilities and developmental needs, but location and timing needs, too.