Section: archive

Moodle 2.0 Syncs With Turnitin

By Grace Hitzeman

This summer, the course management software Moodle received a significant upgrade, but the changes are more than aesthetic.

Kenyon converted to Moodle 2.0, which offers faculty members more ocontrol over their Moodle pages, including an option to use automatic submissions to, an online plagiarism checker.

Joseph Murphy, director of the Center for Innovative Pedagogy and coordinator of Moodle, said the College initially rejected the offer to convert to Moodle 2.0 last summer because of the sites software issues.

The past year gave Moodle time to mature and resolve many of those bugs, and the company plans to end support for Moodle 1.0 in December. The College did not want to run a piece of software with your work and your grades on it that is progressively less secure and less stable, Murphy said.

Moodles changes are much more visible to the faculty than to students.

One such change is an assignment option, so faculty members can choose to sync a particular assignment with Turnitin, Murphy said. While Turnitin is typically used as a plagiarism detector, it also has grading tools that some professors find useful, such as keyboard shortcuts for paper comments.

Though there has been a recent uptick in plagiarism at Kenyon, this was not the reason for adding the Turnitin option. We put the integration in after a faculty member request, Murphy said.

Faculty members have the choice to use Turnitins free-standing website, but Murphy has seen an increase in the Turnitin option on Moodle, because its an option and its easy, he said.

Kenyon is a founding member of the Collaborative Liberal Arts Moodle Project (CLAMP), a group of liberal arts colleges that helps Moodle become more effective for small institutions. If Kenyon experiences problems with Moodle, they can consult with other members of CLAMP to find the source of the problem and fix it. CLAMP also modifies the software to make it friendlier to liberal arts colleges. To wit, the liberal arts version of the software has a more accessible grade book for faculty.

Linking Turnitin and Moodle did not present a significant cost to the College. Moodle is free, open-source software.

The College, however, does pay for the server space, electricity and labor to configure and support it. The College also pays a subscription to Turnitin based on the number of students enrolled.

Despite the new Turnitin application on Moodle, many professors have not yet used this service. As of Friday, Sept. 7, the College had 185 active course pages and 357 active assignments, 68 of which were automatically submitted to Turnitin.

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