This page is for those working out how a department's entire use of the Turnitin tool might best be facilitated. If you just want to check essays for yourself, skip this page because it'll be of no interest to you.
A problem that users at Lancaster Uni have encountered when trying to work together is that an instructor's account can normally only be viewed from the account of the instructor who submitted the work, and not by any other member of academic staff from their account.
This is awkward when, for example, the anti-plagiarism representative for the department would like to see a report, and possibly a number of other pieces of work from the same assignment to compare them with the suspect work. The way things are usually set up, the only way of doing this is for the academic with the dodgy work to download the work that the anti-plagiarism officer would like to check and send it to them, which in this integrated age seems a bit feeble. In addition, at time of writing, Turnitin haven't implemented the fancy format that they have on the screen for either download or printing, and so only the text version is available. These weaknesses are obviously a bit of handicap if the anti-plagiarism officer needs to work on a case of alleged plagiarism with the member of staff who set the work.
Another frequent requirement for departments happens when all the essays in a department are bulk processed by admin staff, and when they find something that they feel needs further investigation, they have to get it to the member of academic staff whose course the work came from so that he or she can decide whether it requires action.
Fortunately, there is a way around these problems; unfortunately it requires planning, co-ordination and fore-thought. It should be said at this stage that Turnitin relies upon one-way hierarchies, and makes it really difficult for a group of staff who trust each other to work together. Turnitin appears to have been written for the modern, corporate workplace, where no one trusts each other. However, that given, if a Turnitin account in the department is set up with a "Master Class" in it, this master class can have "sections" in it, one for each member of academic staff in the department who use Turnitin.
These sections of the master class appear in the account of the staff member for whom they've been created. The account with the master class in it could be the anti-plagiarism officer's or departmental officer's own account, or, much better, it could be a special account set up for the purpose that the anti-plagiarism officer controls, but which can then be handed over to another member of staff if the role changes, or shared between staff members collaborating in a case where they are working together on what to do about some poor student work. The anti-plagiarism or departmental officer can always change the password on the shared Turnitin account after the collaboration should there be reasons to rein in permissions.
The easiest way to set all this up is for a department's anti-plagiarism or departmental officer to ask us to set up a free email account that Turnitin can send the password to, like, for example LancasterHistory@yahoo.co.uk, and use it to set up a Turnitin account with it. We'll send them all the details of the accounts when we've done it. They can then use the instructions below to set up a master class with a section for each course that academic staff are teaching. This needs to be done right at the start of the year, but once done requires no further work on the part of the a-p or departmental officer, and it requires no extra work on the part of the academics in the department - all they will have to do is to work within the area for each course that they teach, which will appear for them within their own Turnitin account.
In the documentation below, I've mentioned the master class account as either the admin or the a-p officer's account, because it just gets too complex if I keep stating that either could also instead be a special, separate account as described above. We appreciate that whilst it is a good idea to have a separate account to manage Turnitin in this way, it is my complex, and if the anti-plagiarism officer or departmental officer who needs the facility doesn't change, then this extra level of complexity is unnecessary. Your decision to do what suits your department.
How to set up a Master Class and then add a section for each course being taught in the department:
Login to the master class account. There will only be the main account visible, and it will have no classes in it already, so click on "add a class", or the "click here" link:
This makes the dialogue box to the left show up on the screen. The default type of class is "standard class", so you need to change it to "master class". The class should be named to accurately describe a group of classes that are going to be needed by members of staff, because it appears prominently in their filestore. In the example here, it will be used to group classes each holding all the assignments for a course run by the department from the same year of the degree course, so I've named it "First Year Courses".
The class end date should be set a long time in the future, so you don't have to think about it. The class join password won't be used either, but set it to something memorable just in case.
When you've filled it in, click on submit, and Turnitin will create your master class and will produce the confirmation pop-up shown below.
Delete the class confirmation pop-up because you don't need any of the info on it, and look at the class list in your account.
The class list now shows your new master class, and there is a "section' link next to it which will enable you to create the sections which appear in your colleagues' accounts. Click on it.
To create a section of your master class, and place it as a class inside a colleague's instructor account, you just need to identify the member of staff, and then name the class's section. Firstly, into step one of the process, put in the staff member's email address that they use to login to Turnitin and their name, and then click on the submit button.
In the next step, you name the section of the master class that appears as a class in the instructor's account. In the context of what we are explaining here, this would normally be a course, into which the instructor would place assignments to contain student work - or, alternatively, the administrator for the department would place the assignments and student work. Either way, it makes sense to name it with the course identifier so that it's not ambiguous, as shown here.
Lastly, when you've submitted step 2, the system gives you a confirmation that it's worked. Unless you having students submit their own work, this doesn't matter, but if they are, you'll need to note the class ID and enrollment passment so that they can be distributed to students if they are to enroll themselves.
In the courses list of the anti-plagiarism officer/departmental officer, there now appears a section of the master class, which is shown by it being indented and the same colour as the section link. The section's name is the link, and after it is the name of the person in whose account it has been placed - in this case, Lucy Lecturer. Anything that she places into this class can be seen via this link, and anything that is placed into HIST101 from here can be viewed by Lucy Lecturer.
Below is the same section, only viewed from Lucy Lecturer's instructor account. As you can see, the naming of both the section and the master class are important to make it clear what has been placed here.
In addition, Lucy will receive an email to the email account which is used by Turnitin as a login username, saying that she has been made a teaching assistant, or TA by the site administrator, and that she will be able to start using her new TA class by logging in at www.submit.ac.uk, and clicking on "First Year Courses". Although the emails sent to staff say "TA", standing for Teaching Assistant, from the staff's point of view they are no different than normal classes, and they work in exactly the same way.
The benefits of clear naming shown above become more apparent still in the examples below which show how a master class list might look if you added a section for all the courses run where checking is needed:
It is only a relatively short amount of work to add all of the courses run by the department as sections to master classes, and place them in the correct instructors account for the lecturer taking the course. In the example below, this has been done for a ficticious department running 9 courses, three in each year. There are three master classes here; one for each year, and each master class has three courses within it, representing the courses run that year, and each course area is a class placed into the instructor area of the person taking the course.
That was the view to the master classes account, and below is the completed view of classes from the point of view of Lucy Lecturer's instructor account, showing her workload. Lucy is taking three courses in the first year, two in the second year and one in the third year. This is shown clearly because the master classes are named after the years of the courses that they hold.
When Lucy uploads the essays for her courses for checking then she will go into each of these classes as needed and create assignments within them and then uploads the student work. If she needs to consult with the department's anti-plagiarism officer regarding the quality of any of the scripts she's uploaded, the a-p officer can view the script in situ in its assignment from the a-p officer's instructors account.
If, instead, the admin officer is charged with uploading the student work for her, then the admin person would create the assignments and upload the work into the same sections, but as viewed from the admin account, which is shown in the previous picture. In this case, if the admin officer spots a problem, Lucy can be alerted and can then scutinise what she sees, and decide whether it needs to be referred to the department's anti-plagiarism officer.
Click here to return to a list of topics in the anti-plagiarism software guide.
Michael Cowie 06/10/10