University of Essex
University of Essex

April 29, 2014

Alternatives to TurnItIn

Filed under: System Development,System Update,Technical — Alex ONeill @ 9:37 am

When we first started the MEFE project, our plan was to integrate FASer with the TurnItIn plagiarism checking and online marking service. Many of you currently use TurnItIn for checking plagiarism and it seemed it would save lots of time for lots of people, plus give academics a great and easy-to-use feedback facility.

However, there have been a number of issues with the TurnItIn service over the last 18 months which means this has not been possible. We actually started looking at the integration with TurnItIn a number of years ago and have since been waiting for them to release a “new way” of integrating, only to find when it was released that it didn’t do what we needed it to do. On top of that, TurnItIn have suffered with some issues with stability of their system in the last few years which many institutions have found incredibly disruptive to their coursework submission process.

Due to these issues, and the knowledge that both online marking and integrated plagiarism detection are very important to our users, we have decided to persue a different route for our integrations.

We are shortly going to be releasing the ability to annotate documents online in FASer. This will be seamless for users, but is actually using a system called Crocodoc behind the scenes (what a great name!). It looks good and works smoothly and with a bit of luck will make annotating documents really easy! It even has some features that TurnItIn can’t provide yet. Here’s a sneak preview:

online annotation

In addition to this, we’re going to be running a trial with an alternative plagiarism detection service called Ephorus. They are very popular in Europe at the moment but haven’t had much exposure over here in the UK yet. However, they have made the integration process sound very easy and we have had regular conversations with their team so we are going to be working on that shortly.

We will be keeping an eye on TurnItIn and seeing how things progress, but in the meantime I hope in the next few months we can get a system to you that will really make a difference!



April 9, 2014

Thank you from Linkoping

Filed under: Event,Promotional Event — Alex ONeill @ 10:02 am

We had a very interesting visit last week – it was great to meet some new colleagues from Linkoping University and they were very interested and impressed with our setup here at Essex. Included in our demonstration was:

  • Our Listen Again lecture capture service
  • Moodle and EVS (Electronic Voting Systems)
  • The new teaching spaces at The Forum in Southend, which was a talk given to us by Matt Softly in Southend over our remote lecture screens
  • FASer and the MEFE project
  • The Limehouse and the Orangery
  • Some robotic research from CSEE
  • An overview of the University strategy on technology enhanced learning, given by Richard Murphy and Jane Wright
  • The student view of elearning at Essex from James Potter

It’s amazing how much variety we have here that you don’t realise until you amalgamate it all into one day!

Anyway, a great time was had by all and I think the Swedish visitors definitely got what they needed out of the day. We got thank yous from the VC, who we met at the visit, and from the Leadership Foundation who had organised it. Looks like we left a good impression!