Scientific Methods

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


All Email originating from UWC is covered by disclaimer

Hi Everyone 

I am finalizing the contract with Turnitin so that future assignments for me  (viz the NISL-EI2 courses) will require submitting to this electronic scanning service.  This is not actually to scare you, rather to help you with your writing skills and get away from a dependency for lifting text from the Internet, printed text and even previous student assignments submitted (your assignments are entered into an electronic database that is used for future scanning).  It works in the following way...
  • There will be a link on each course Blog page to Turnitin for submitting of the assignments.  
  • You will be issued Turnitin accounts (usernames and logins) for the NISL-EI courses. 
  • I will setup the assignment details for your submission. 
  • In the beginning you will be required to create your student profile that will include your ClassID and Password, which I will provide you via email.  You will then need to fill in your email address, provide your personal Turnitin password (a minimum of 6 letters and numbers but no special characters and at least one character must be a number), you will then be presented with a secrete password retrieval question and answer and finally to complete your profile you will provide your names (first and last name) and your Country. 
  • The creation of your student profile is completed when you accept the user profile agreement form. 
  • You will then get logged in and will navigate to the correct BCB course and assignment. 
  • You will upload your assignment and you will see that it has been uploaded (you can check that it is the right document via the on screen system) and once confirmed you will get a digital receipt and a confirmation email message that the assignment was submitted and time stamped. 
  • Late assignments will not be accepted via the electronic system. 
  • If you are confused do not worry online training videos will be provided just prior to initiation of this process. 
I have elected to go for an electronic marking as well, so your assignment will be analysed first for Plagiarism and if too high will be returned to you with a full report of where there is plagiarism and close paraphrasing.  I do not know how strictly this system will apply the rules but certainly just changing a word or two in place will not fool the system and it is based on a very comprehensive database.  I will then use my discretion as to whether you get zero marks or a chance to re-submit.  Unfortunately the cost of the scanning service is rather expensive and we pay for both an annual subscription and a per document cost, so chances to re-submit will be restricted (each assignment will cost me about R10 to process).  An electronic grading will be done and you will be sent back your marked-up scripts with the grade electronically.  This system will work much better than the old way of emailing them to my gmail account which I can only access after hours. Finally some assignments will also be peer marked by yourselves using the Turnitin Peer Review system.
Hopefully this will level the playing field and be fair to everyone and was a decision not taken lightly.  Until I know when our payments have been made and the Turnitin accounts been set up please hold back from submitting any assignments such as the Biodiversity due at the end of this week.  The first assignment that you will be submitting will be your cumulative Biodiversity reports (all of your answers combined into one report to save scanning costs and processing time). Since you have had extensive feedback on these assignments previously it will give us the perfect opportunity to know precisely how the implementation of the system will work. 
Can you please confirm that you have read and understood this posting by attaching a comment and your name.  This is also an opportunity to air any issues that you have or to finally clear up any misunderstandings, I promise to respond to all of your concerns if expressed. 
Good Luck

Dr Richard Knight
Co-ordinator: National Information Society Learnerships - Ecological Informatics
Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology
University of the Western Cape
Private Bag X17
Bellville 7535
Phone 27 + 21 + 959 3940
Fax 27 + 21 + 959 1237