Influences of form of GradeMark feedback on Student Engagement

“Speech Bubbles” by Jordan. Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND
Speech Bubbles” by Jordan. Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND


Use of Turnitin to provide digital feedback has grown rapidly in CCCU in recent years with 52% of 133,000 submissions to Turnitin receiving feedback during 2015/16 compared with 8% of 96,034 submissions in 2012/13. While we know this has helped to improve turnaround times, and our students value the flexibility of receiving feedback online, there has been little investigation of any deeper impact on our students’ learning – particularly use of feedback for development. Whereas the literature indicates associations between use of similar digital feedback tools with greater motivation and understanding of how to improve compared with to non-digital feedback, why this may be is often not clear. One possible factor is how the nature of digital feedback influences learners’ engagement with their feedback.

Understanding how students engage with Turnitin feedback

With the aim of informing markers’ action research into their use of digital feedback, Simon Starr interviewed CCCU students about their experience of the various ways Turnitin feedback can be presented for his MSc in Digital Education dissertation study. It was found that the choice presentation can make a substantive difference to the students’ use of their feedback. Specifically, it is concluded that on-script ‘Bubble Comments’ and off-script ‘Voice Comments’ may both positively influence how valued learners feel and encourage and support their use of feedback for development while on-script ‘QuickMark Comments’ and off-script ‘General Comments’ and ‘Rubrics’ may negatively influence same. These influences arise from how these different choices for presenting feedback in Turnitin affect personalisation, specificity and clarity of meaning of feedback, learners’ emotional connection with their marker and by simply grabbing their attention.

A summary of the research, including more detailed findings, is contained in the attached report: ‘An exploratory investigation into influences of form of GradeMark digital feedback on learners’ engagement with their feedback‘.

Why does this matter?

The NSS continues to highlight assessment and feedback as an area for ongoing enhancement, now incorporated as a metric for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Where the Digital Learning Thresholds (DLT) [internal CCCU link only] include an expectation for digital feedback as standard in future, it is important to ensure that such feedback is not only timely but engages encourages and supports our learners to improve.

What next?

It is recommended that, through their own action research, markers using GradeMark explore the use of Bubble Comments and Voice Comments as alternatives to General Comments, and ‘Grading Forms’ as an alternative to Rubrics. Specific considerations in doing so are suggested in the report. It is also recommended that CCCU considers strategies for helping learners apply GradeMark feedback to future work, including the possibility of re-writing generic assessment criteria in more ‘student friendly’ language and investigating improvements to accessing GradeMark via mobile devices.

To discuss ways of improving your students’ engagement with Turnitin feedback, contact your friendly learning technologist. See also our new section on technology-enhanced feedback [internal CCCU link only] for ways technology can support various aims for enhancing assessment, including improving feedback. Tools you can use are suggested along with links to examples, further reading and other resources and an ‘index’ of the tools we have available in the University.

Turnitin Scheduled Maintenance – Saturday 5 November, 1pm-6pm (UK Time)

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Source: Turnitin

As part of ongoing improvements by TurnitinUK, Turnitin is having some scheduled maintenance on Saturday 5 November 1:00pm – 6:00pm (UK Time).

We would like to make users aware that the Turnitin service will be unavailable between 1pm-6pm on Saturday 5th November. This is to allow for scheduled maintenance by TurnitinUK. No submissions, grading, or access will be possible through the service during this time.

Programmes are advised to amend any deadlines set during the maintenance period.

Markers are reminded that submitted papers can be downloaded (both individually and in bulk) from Turnitin should they wish to read/annotate during the maintenance period and then copy & paste these into the Document Viewer manually once the service is available again.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

For queries or further advice, please contact your Faculty Learning Technologist via the IT Service Desk on 01227 782626.

Turnitin – Paper Submission – Issue with new Windows 10 and Microsoft Office Fonts

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Source: Turnitin

Users using Windows 10 and/or Microsoft Office 2016 may experience issues submitting work to Turnitin, if using one of the new fonts such as Arial Nova.

Statement from Turnitin:

The new fonts found in Windows 10 and the latest version of Microsoft Word are not currently being displayed properly within Turnitin. If a newer font type such as Arial Nova is used in a document, it will be converted to a different font for display within Turnitin, and may appear as a cursive-based font.


We are working to make changes to better display these new fonts in future versions of Turnitin. In the meantime, a work-around to this would be to change the font to a type commonly used in previous versions of Word (such as Arial) before submission to Turnitin.

Turnitin – GradeMark – Opening GradeMark Shows ‘This is a draft submission’ Warning

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Source: Turnitin

There is a current known issue with GradeMark when clicking on the pencil icon to grade a submission, which results in the following warning message being presented to instructor users:

“This is a draft submission. Any and all marks will be deleted when or if the paper is resubmitted. Would you like to continue?”

This warning message should only appear if the Due Date has not yet been reached.

As a workaround, instructors can bypass this message either by clicking on the OK button on this warning message or by clicking on the assignment title instead.


Turnitin – Paper Submission – ”Would you like to open or save t_submit.json from” message in Internet Explorer 9

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Source: Turnitin

Turnitin has ended support for Internet Explorer 9 (see related article Technical – Support for Internet Explorer 9 Ended March 1, 2015 – All).

The error message “Would you like to open or save t_submit.json from” may be displayed when submissions are attempted from the IE9 web browser.

To resolve the error, update to a newer version of Internet Explorer, or use an alternative web browser like Chrome or Firefox. The University recommended browser when accessing Turnitin is Chrome.

Turnitin – Support for Internet Explorer 9 and 10 Ended

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Source: Turnitin

Turnitin has ended support for Internet Explorer 9 and 10

Statement from Turnitin:

At Turnitin, we are continually improving the experience of providing rich feedback on student work. As the internet, web browsers, devices, and Turnitin all evolve, Turnitin has followed the industry by ending support for Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) and 10 (IE10).

Going forward, we will no longer test or fix features and bugs found only in Internet Explorer 9 or 10. This does not mean that Turnitin will suddenly stop working in IE9 and IE10, only that we can no longer guarantee full functionality long term. We encourage Internet Explorer 9 and 10 users to move to a current version of one of these supported industry standard browsers:

Internet Explorer (11) | Firefox | Chrome | Safari

The University recommended browser when accessing Blackboard and Turnitin is Chrome.