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February 2, 2011
» Gwella Report: Enhancing learning & teaching through technology for Higher Education in Wales

The Gwella Programme supports the implementation of HEFCW’s Enhancing Learning and Teaching through Technology (TEL) in Wales strategy. The University of Glamorgan’s CELT TEL team has submitted a report in the form of a “Glamorgan’s case study” to the Academy with Gwella project outcomes . The case study considers one such set of institutional efforts to generate change – at many levels, including pedagogic change – through technology.

There are some significant outcomes and messages from the Gwella initiatives about the institutional initiative in an engaging, interesting and thought-provoking way. This case study presents an institutional initiative as part of the Gwella project with the following focus: (1) milestones and achievements; (2) where are we now? (3) looking back and looking forward – the wider context and sustainability.

All the key developments in the past three years have been achieved through the institutional Gwella enhancement evidenced by Glamorgan students, staff and external bodies (e.g. JISC e-learning evaluation programme case studies).

The student engagement and voices for supporting student learning enhancement in the digital world has been recognised by the JISC Study of how UK FE and HE institutions are supporting effective learners in a digital age ( SLiDA project). For example, online submission and self-assessment for learning through Turnitin on GlamLearn have enhanced both home and international student experiences. Richer and prompter assessment feedback is provided to students via GradeMark and audio feedback (see the SLiDA wiki and Turn it in or Turn it off project for more details).

There are also increasing discussion and debate across the faculties about the readiness and consistency of both staff and students for various learning technologies. This will be a continuing discourse and challenge in years to come. However, Glamorgan academics are overcoming these challenges by realising for themselves the student-driven benefits of their increased use of TEL . Such commitment to enhance student learning and assessment experiences, added to individuals’ persistency and patience towards technological constraints has given rise to enhanced performance. In sum, there are three key messages to the sector:

1 – Challenge: Enhacement than embedding

2 – Celebrate the focus: Pedagogy than Technology

3 – Change: Student experiences driven changes

It is essential that the messages from the Gwella initiatives are known by all stake holders in the Welsh HE and particularly those who have a role in implementing change in institutions.

Last but not least, an interesting book for your reference on this agenda: Transforming Higher Education Through Technology Enhanced Learning book – chapter visualisations

January 6, 2011
» You can now download Turnitin GradeMark paper!

Please see the following Turnitin product updates since last month (live Dec. 15th). There are mostly improvements to GradeMark:

• Download and Print - Instructors and students can now download and print a printable PDF view of any paper from within the document viewer.

• Import/Export of QuickMark Sets and Rubrics - Instructors can now import and export QuickMark sets and Rubrics.

• Text Comments - Instructors can now make text comments directly on the paper within GradeMark.

It has been a long waiting times that finally instructors and students can now download and print a printable PDF view within the document viewer. Depending on which services are visible at the time, the printable view can include the data from OriginalityCheck and GradeMark. This is certainly a good feature for student to keep their reports, marked assignments and also for external examiners and instructors to keep a local copy of marked work.

Instructors can now export QuickMark sets from within the QuickMark Manager, either within the Document Viewer or within Libraries. The export is downloadable to your system as a .qms file, which you can then send to other users. Correspondingly, instructors can import any valid .qms file from within the QuickMark manager. This improvement in Turnitin2 means all comment developed by a instructor can be shared across the department or saved to local work machine for future use.

October 22, 2010
» Turnitin 2 is so different!

TurnitinUK has introduced the new and upgraded version, Turnitin2. A narrated "walk-through" video is available, view now! TurnitinUK claims that all improvements found in Turnitin2 are based on customer feedback and in-depth usage studies world-wide.

The most notable change is Turnitin2’s 3-in-1 view, working with a single, "all-in-one" view of a student's paper in its original format, including styled text, graphics and photos for OriginalityCheck™ Plagiarism Prevention (Turnitin online submission), PeerMark® Peer Reviewing, and GradeMark® Digital Markup and Grading—to a digital image of the formatted paper.

Below are links to important resources about Turnitin2:

Comprehensive web page about Turnitin 2

Quickstart Guides for Instructors, Administrators, and Students

Live Walk-through Schedule (pdf) 2

October 29, 2009
» TurnitinUK's New Features and Updates in Oct 2009

Turnitin and GradeMark are now available in 10 different languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Japanese, Korean, Malay Bahasia, and Thai. These 10 languages are available to all customers using the drop-down language selection menu in the upper right corner of every Turnitin web page. Papers submitted in these languages will be matched to an ever-growing base of English and non-English language-based content.

Recent upgrades to Turnitin application web servers have resulted in improvements to both performance and system reliability. GradeMark is showing dramatic speed improvements of approximately 3.5 times. Improved system reliability means that users will experience uninterrupted system access. More new features can be found from the TurnitinUK's New Features!

Glamorgan's updates

In October, more than 34 staff were supported through emails, phone calls and office visits for the online submission and assessment agenda. 5 training for staff were conducted with 15 attendees. 10 student sessions were conducted and in total of more than 200 students attended these sessions in group.

As a result, the TurnitinUK System statistics (figures on the 29th Oct 09) for the University of Glamorgan shows that there are currently 416 instructors (385 instructors in Sept 09); 6393 students (4944 students in Sept 09) and 12412 submissions (11793 submissions in Sept 09)

There are some updates on the Glamorgan's Turnitin wiki for the user guides, training Power Point, upcoming sessions and FAQs. There are 262 visits; 217 absolute unique visitors up-to-date. Upcoming training can be found from the Turnitin wiki site.

October 8, 2009
» The Peak Season for Turnitin - the Sept updates

September 2009 is one of the busiest months for CELT in supporting "Technology Enhanced Learning, Teaching and Assessment" agenda. We had many queries and support requests for Turnitin and GradeMark. More than 40 staff were supported through emails, phone calls and visits. In September, 8 training for staff were conducted with 50 attendees. 14 student sessions were conducted and in total of more than 500 students attended these sessions in group.

The accumulated total from 21 Jan to 30 Sept 09: (1) One-to-one support: more than 154 staff were supported; more than 26 students were supported; (2) 30 staff sessions were conducted; 142 staff attended the training; (3) 24 student sessions were conducted; more than 624 students attended the sessions.

As a result, the TurnitinUK System statistics (figures on the 8 Oct 09) for the University of Glamorgan shows that there are currently 385 instructors (311 instructors in Aug 09); 4944 students (4005 students in Aug 09) and 11793 submissions (11372 submissions in Aug 09)

The Glamorgan's Turnitin wiki were shared across the Glamorgan and the UK user group for the upcoming sessions and FAQs. There are 227 visits; 164 absolute unique visitors up-to-date. Upcoming training can be found from the Turnitin wiki site. Please contact Esyin Chew if you have further query.

September 1, 2009
» Updates of Turnitin in Glamorgan - June-July 2009

The University’s Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy 2007-2012 is vested in the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) to promote learning and teaching excellence, resulting the increased use of online assessment and to enhance prevention and detection of plagiarism with TurnitinUK. CELT encourages all academics across the University and partner colleges to embed TurnitinUK through Blackboard. As such, CELT offers both pedagogical and technical support for TurnitinUK as follows:

A. One-to-One Support:

CELT provides one-to-one advice through emails, phone calls or face-to-face support by sitting beside the individual (either walk him/her through the TurnitinUK or to solve any issue ASAP).

B. Disciplinary-tailored Group training:

CELT organises small group training of 3-15 academics from different departments upon request. The training is conducted in a computer lab for academics to have hands on experience to play around with TurnitinUK through Blackboard. Student sessions would be arranged upon request by individual staff. Some staff would brief their students themselves

The following are some updates for the above activities:

1. One-to-One Support :
<dir> i. June and July: more than 20 staff were supported
ii. Accumulated total (21 Jan - 5 Aug 09): more than 95 staff were supported; more than 18 students were supported in one-to-one approached upon request </dir>

2. Group Training:
<dir> i. June and July: 5 staff sessions were conducted; 21staff were trained
ii. Accumulated total (21 Jan - 5 Aug 09): 19 staff sessions were conducted; 79 staff were trained; 8 student sessions were conducted; 83 students were trained

iii. Excellent feedback for the training, i.e. easy-to-use system and pedagogical-focused training </dir>

As a result, the TurnitinUK System statistics (figures on the 7 Aug 09) for the University of Glamorgan shows that there are currently 284 instructors (224 instructors in March 09); 3885 students (2582 students in March 09) and 10944 submissions (8643 submissions in March 09)
It has been a huge take-up by both the staff and studentsin the past few months!

The Glamorgan's Turnitin wiki were shared across the Glamorgan and the UK user group for the upcoming sessions and FAQs. There are 107 visits; 45 absolute unique visitors and an average of 5.50minutes of time the visitors spent on site.

Upcoming training can be found from the Turnitin wiki site. Fee free to contact Esyin Chew if you have further query.

June 11, 2008
» Feeling 'tired' of writing feedback to your students between tiny margins on their essays?

Have you ever thought about giving audio feedback? Having been to two presentations on assessment and feedback recently where the use of audio feedback were demonstrated, I am left wondering why aren’t more people using it?

On both occasions, audacity, the open source software which is available on the blended leanring toolkit was used, and it is SO simple!

All there is to it, is that once you have successfully downloaded the software, instead of writing your feedback to your students on the essay or a feedback form, you simply speak into a microphone as you ‘mark’ the coursework and once completed, you can send the MP3 file to students via email or via the institution’s VLE.

The benefit of giving audio feedback as the presenters explained was that they were able to give more detailed feedback in a relatively short period of time! They have also received really positive feedback from students including: how it was easier to understand than the often illegible handwriting, a more personal feel compared to written feedback and they feel that they have received more detailed and useful feedback than they even have with written feedback.

At one of the presentation where the presenter brought two of her students to share their experience with us, one of the student actually said that he couldn’t help but wonder what the lecturer said and he HAS to listen to it and he has never felt that way about feedback before!

Given that one of our problems regarding assessment and feedback is that students do not often read the feedback we give them, this might well be the solution!

April 10, 2008
» Lecturers! Does any of the following sound familiar? - Some comments from your colleagues on why they use specific assessment methods.

As part of the University wide assessment project and the Higher Education Academy funded project looking at assessment and feedback, I have been interviewing some of our lecturers exploring their reasons behind their chosen assessment methods.

Here are some initial findings:-

The influence of professional bodies on assessment design

The influence of professional bodies played a significant part in some lecturers’ decisions on how to assess their students. For these awards, the lecturers expressed a very traditional and structured way of assessing their students via essays and examinations.

In addition, a belief that the professional bodies are against any significant changes to assessment was voiced. Do you agree?

The particular nature of the subject discipline Approaches to assessment that appear to be the ‘obvious’/’logical’ ways to the lecturers or expressed as the way we do things

Many of the interviewees said that the nature of the subject dominated the way they assess their students. This can be linked to a reoccurring response from many of the interviewees describing their ways of assessment as the “obvious way” or “logical way” within the subject.

However, if you are a new members of staff joining the departments or faculties, do you think you will automatically share the understanding of these ‘obvious’ or ‘logical’ ways to assess their students? In addition, are these ‘obvious’ or ‘logical’ ways always the best assessment for the students?

Pre-determined skills and learning outcomes that needs to be achieved by students

Others mentioned specific employability skills within the industry. However, many of them did not explicitly express them in the interviews as learning outcomes. We are increasingly aware of aligning our learning outcomes with our assessment, but are our learning outcomes aligned with our course aim and objectives?

Lecturers’ personal experience of being assessed when they were students

Some lecturers stated their personal experience when they were students also influenced their way of assessing their students. Do you think about your own experience of being assessed when you were a student when designing your assessment?

Student feedback on the specific assessment methods

Student feedback also played a part in influencing some lecturers’ choice in assessment. Lecturers stated that they do repeat their assessment methods when their existing/previous students commented that they have enjoyed a particular piece of assessment. The lecturers said that student feedback acts as a form of continuous quality monitoring for their assessment.

While responding to student experience is commendable, is it possible that students may prefer forms of assessment which are not the most effective, but simply because they are used to it?

The aim to enhance student learning and consideration of students’ learning process/styles

For some lecturers, the way students learn and the learning process played an integral part in their decisions. They see their assessment as more than just a reporting tool on how students are doing, but a integral part of student learning. Do you think your assessment achieve this?

Pragmatic reasons that influence the practicality of assessment

Some lecturers stated pragmatic reasons such as large groups, the lack of equipment for specific assessment methods, such as group work and e-assessment.

The above are just some initial findings, further findings will be shared in the near future.

I am very interested to see what your views are to the above findings. Does any of those sound familiar to you? Or are there other reasons that you feel are not listed above? Please share your thoughts with us.

February 25, 2008
» Assessment practice that works?

Have you even think about how you can assess large class better? Or have you ever think about what e-assessment, Peer Assessment or formative assessments are in practice?

Other than the CELT webpage on assessment, the Higher Education Academy has recently added a collection of brief case studies demonstrating a range of types of assessment trailed and tested by 10 HEI in Wales as part of the Welsh Assessment project.

Glamorgan has contributed a total of 9 case studies to this project and these case studies are grouped under these key themes:


Assessing large numbers

Formative and summative assessment

Methods of assessment

PDP and Key Skills

Peer assessment


All 49 case studies can be accessed here

December 3, 2007
» So why do you assess your students the way you do?

CELT has recently received a small grant from the Higher Education Academy to carry out a 6 months project to support key strategic issues in assessment and feedback.

The aim of the project is to explore the influences on lecturers’ decision making in designing assessment. We recognized that while support for innovative assessment in the institution are important, we also felt that in order to encourage further innovative assessment practices, key agents (our lecturers) for change are asked why they are doing what they are doing, on what basis in terms of assessment.

We will keep you posted on the development of the project here. In the meantime, here are some questions to you all: -

Why are you assessing your students the way you do?

What influence your decision in deciding what assessment methods to use or how many piece of coursework to give to your students?

What are some of the barriers that stop you from using innovative assessments?