Bentley, Steven D (2016) Addressing student anxieties about plagiarism detection through games. In: ALT Online Winter Conference 2016, 8th December 2016, Online. (Unpublished)

Anecdotal evidence that some students find Turnitin’s originality reporting to be a source of stress or anxiety abounds both in published research (Bensal, Miraflores, & Tan, 2013)and on social media. A factor can be students misunderstanding the advisory role that Turnitin’s report plays in the assessment process. Some institutions choose not to allow students to have access to Turnitin reports, often citing the resource challenges of supporting students as a barrier.
This webinar will introduce SimilaritySim (Bentley, 2016), an open educational resource which has been developed to address these issues by using a no-tech card game which simulates the processes that assessors go through to interpret a Turnitin report. This allows students to experience the decision making which is involved, in a structured and scaffolded way, to understand how Turnitin aids the assessor in making an academic judgement, rather than the software making a binary pass/fail decision. Understanding the human involvement, and the often borderline nature of the required decisions, can reassure students, prompting a transformative experience (Pugh, 2004) in which they re-evaluate the validity of their concerns about plagiarism detection software. The activity stimulates discussion and gives the facilitator an opportunity to address any misconceptions the students demonstrate about what constitutes plagiarism.

The presenter will also reflect on how SimilaritySim has been used in staff development contexts, allowing participants to quickly gain an appreciation of some of the nuanced inferences which can be made from a Turnitin report in a scaffolded, engaging way.

This session will invite discussion and feedback from participants about the appropriateness of denying students access to Turnitin reports, and whether an activity such as SimilaritySim could be used to efficiently train students to independently understand the Turnitin report.

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