Turnitin updates coming our way soon

We just got some good news from Turnitin. If any of the following items have irritated you in the past, they have some answers…

  1. Manage collusion with confidence
    You asked: My institution’s academic integrity policy specifies that potential collusion should be dealt with by a central administrator, rather than by instructors. Can Turnitin help?
    We answered: Yes! We’ve added the option to email all requests to view potentially plagiarized papers to an administrator of your choice, so you can control the investigation process with confidence. Learn more→
  2. Crisp, clear view of student work.
    You asked: When I zoom in on a student’s paper, it looks a bit fuzzy. Can you fix that?
    We answered: We’re sharpening the resolution of student papers to make reading them easier on the eyes of hard-working instructors. Look for changes in mid-July.
  3. No more waiting for grammar feedback!
    You asked: Give students immediate grammar feedback so they can revise and improve their papers before teachers review their work.
    We answered:  We’ve deepened our partnership with ETS to make e-rater® grammar guidance available to students as soon as they submit a draft starting in mid-July. Instructors will still be able to choose whether to turn e-rater® on or off for each assignment. Learn more→
  4. Peer review, simplified
    You asked: PeerMark assignments are great, but creating them is far from intuitive. Can you simplify it?
    We answered: Instructors, get ready for fewer steps in PeerMark assignment creation. Students, get ready to see your peer feedback as soon as your classmates complete it.  *Note: For now, these PeerMark changes will apply only to native accounts starting in mid-July, but we look forward to extending them to LMS/VLE customers (that’s us!) soon. See what’s changing

Cutting distractions, staying focused

screenshot_2016-11-03-12-25-21For all the technology we have around us, it’s sometimes hard to stay on task. With emails, texts, and other notifications sounding off every few minutes, how can you concentrate on the paper, lesson, or project you’re putting together? What’s more, it’s easier to check Twitter than to get started on writing a new story, article, or presentation. That’s where Forest can help you grow!

Forest is a slick app that gives you a fun, visual way to stay focused. You set a timer (for as many minutes as you’d like) and pick a tree, then click “Plant” to begin the timer. If you can stay on task (not checking your phone), then your tree will grow to full size when you reach the time you set. After days and weeks of growing, you’ll have a forest of productivity and hopefully some great resulting work, too!

Download Forest for Apple, Android, or Windows phone. You can also get browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome, in which you can set up a blacklist of distracting sites (like email or social media) that you can’t visit while you’re growing/working.

NaturalReader speaks to some

So your friends have always called you a good listener, but you often get distracted while you’re reading text books for class? That’s okay. Technology tools can help you listen to that text book (assuming the book is in a compatible file format). At last year’s Technology for Teaching Day, Sheri Yech, Disability Services Coordinator and Director of the Academic Skills Center, shared a number of assistive technologies that help students with disabilities engage with educational material. One such tool is a screen reader, which reads the text on your screen out loud. While there are paid applications that greatly range in price and features, the free version of NaturalReader may help you out. Sure, they’re all digital voices that sound a little funny, but if you find yourself absorbing information better through audio, this really may help you absorb course text in a more efficient manner.

Scheduling office hours?

Passing around sign-up papers or posting sheets on your door can feel archaic for a tech-based teacher.  Even those who are tech-interested might think, “There must be a better way!” There are a variety of methods out there, but we’ve picked two that might help you out. Both tools can be added to your course or shared via email with a standard hyperlink.

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Read more…

Update classes with opt-in texting

In our bonus features for Technology for Teaching Day, we included a link to the free service Remind.com. The tool is an opt-in text messaging service that allows teachers to send group reminders to students in a format that they use most readily. While we all have email, not all students check it as frequently, quickly, or closely as we might hope. This is a great way to reach students using a communication method they may prefer. What’s more, it’s optional, so a student who doesn’t need reminders doesn’t have to sign up or can quit at any time.

If you need help using it, contact us for more information! And remember, if you decide to use Remind.com, these tips will help you use it so students benefit from it rather than grow annoyed by it.