Yesterday, we looked at setting up portfolio assessment with multiple submissions in Canvas. Today, we would like to concentrate on setting up assessment with plagiarism checks. At Queen’s University, we use TurnItIn (Tii) to check for plagiarism and to feedback the similarity score to students.

Setting up the assessment for similarity checking

In Canvas, go to the Assignments tab. Initially, you can set up assignment groups and weightings for the module if this is a requirement. To create groups, click +Group, name it (see below) and add the weightings now or later.

Canvas - creating assignment groups
Canvas – creating assignment groups

To create an assignment, simply click +Assignment:

Canvas - creating an assignment
Canvas – creating an assignment

Fill in the details on the assignment page:

Canvas - adding in assignment detail
Canvas – adding in assignment detail
Assignment title and instructions

When providing instructions, think about your audience and their needs.

Use headings. Highlight the headings / subheadings and apply heading formats 2 to 4 within the instructions. This helps structure text visually for sighted users but it also provides structure and tags for screen readers to pick up and communicate to users with low/no vision and other visual impairments.

Be explicit with the instructions. What is the task? When is the deadline? How do students submit their work? Are submissions limited to particular file types? What do students do in the event of not being able to submit to Canvas or they have some IT issue? Give contact details for alternative submission.

Use bold formatting to highlight key information. Do NOT use colour alone to do this. Anyone with colour blindness or colour/contrast impairment may not pick up this visual cue but bold draws our attention to the heavier looking text. Screen readers also pick up the bold tags and users of screen readers will know this is highlighted information.

Screen readers will not pick up the colour of text or font type. This is something to be aware of.

Do signpost students to available resources. This can be the Student Canvas Orientation Course to help students become familiar with how to submit work via Canvas (provide a link to the actual online submission page to save time). You could also provide links for referencing, reading lists, etc., so all the information is on the page and all students have equal opportunity.

What points do I set?

100! It can be points or percentage (be consistent) but 100 is the magic number! If there are assignment groups set up, you can add the assignment to a particular group and assign weightings. This may make it easier calculating grades in the future.

Canvas - 100 points / percentages
Canvas – 100 points / percentages

Sometimes you might choose ‘do not count this assignment toward final grade’. This can be selected if you intend to give students a mock assignment / exam to help prepare them for the assignment / exam format. Again, be explicit in the instructions that it’s a mock and does not count toward the final grade.

What kind of submission should I use?

For plagiarism / similarity checking, you need to choose the External Tool:

Canvas - External Tool submission
Canvas – External Tool submission

In the pop up window, scroll down to find TurnItIn UK, click this and click Select:

Canvas - TurnItIn UK
Canvas – TurnItIn UK
Can I assign the assessment to everyone?

Yes. When it comes to setting up the dates, by default this is assigned to all students within the module. You need to consider the start date, due date and available until date:

Canvas - assignment dates
Canvas – assignment dates

The Start date is the date students can access the assignment when it is published. For example, if the start date was next Monday, the page could be published now but now viewable until Monday. Next is the Due date. This is the deadline for submitting work.

Importantly, the Until date should be set way after the Due date. This still allows for submissions to come in and Canvas will highlight these as late submissions. If the Until date is missing, the submission button on the system disappears and this disadvantages students.

In the image above, there are options for Anonymous Grading and Anonymous Instructor Annotations. These can be chosen to remove student/marker bias. Do check within your programme what the policy is for this.

Can I assign the assessment to particular individuals?

Of course. To give individual students differentiated dates, simply click +Add, start typing in the students’ name and set the relevant dates for them. Remember to Save your work.

TurnItIn (Tii)

When we use Tii, firstly we have to choose External Tool and TurnItIn UK as the submission method. When we Save the set up, we then need to check the Tii configuration. Only Teacher or Teaching Assistant Canvas Roles can configure Tii settings.

To amend Tii settings, view the saved assessment page. You will see a Tii ‘tray’ where students would upload their work to. Click the cog (highlighted below):

Canvas - TurnItIn tray
Canvas – TurnItIn tray

When the cog is clicked, you are presented with a number of Tii options. Please ensure the start and due dates match your Canvas Available from (start) and Due dates. Make the Feedback release date a date away in the future. Also, if marking online, mark the work in Canvas NOT in Tii.

Canvas Tii - date settings
Canvas Tii – date settings

There are also Optional Settings. These are the settings which allow you to configure what is being checked for similarity. Choose submit papers to Standard Paper Repository. Ensure Allow Submission of any File Type, Allow Late Submissions, Student Paper Repository, Current & Archived Web Site Content and Periodicals, Journal and Publications are ALL selected.

Tii - optional settings
Tii – optional settings

Scroll down to the Similarity Report section. In the first dropdown, select the second option: Generate report immediately (Students can resubmit until due date): After 3 resubmissions, reports generate after 24 hours.

This option allows students to check their similarity score and gives them opportunity to upload an amended copy with an improved score. Do let students know in the instructions on the 4th resubmission, students need to wait 24 hours for the similarity score to appear. It’s also important to highlight to students not to leave uploading to the last minute.

The other options available in the Similarity Report section include allowing students to see the similarity report and some options which student work can be checked against, i.e., bibliographic materials, quoted materials and small sources.

Ultimately, it’s at the discretion of the academic to decide whether the similarity score is appropriate. Some subjects may skew the score unfavourably.

Tii - Similarity Report section
Tii – Similarity Report section

Do remember to tick Save these settings for future use as you most likely will roll over the content of this current module to a future module.

When students complete the assessment, how do they upload their work?

We are glad you asked. Students have a Canvas Orientation Course. When they access this course, there is a handy dashboard with quick links (as per below):

Canvas Student Orientation Course - dashboard
Canvas Student Orientation Course – dashboard

When students access this, they can click the TurnItIn Canvas section and learn all about how to upload their work. Do give this as a direct link within your instructions. Don’t assume students are familiar with the system.

How do I know if all students have submitted?

When using Tii, go back to the Assignment page. What was originally the Tii empty tray will have student submissions in the Assignment Inbox option (as seen below):

Tii - student submissions
Tii – student submissions

At a glance, here we can see two late submissions (highlighted red) along with the submission date details for all work. We can see the content has not been viewed by a marker therefore no grade has yet been assigned. The similarity score uses a colour coded system and shows a percentage of similarity per piece of student work.

Marking can be done online or offline. You can download all student work if you want to mark offline.

Each column title can be clicked. If you want to view student names A-Z or Z-A, click Author. Dates for upload can be clicked to arrange by earliest to latest upload and similarity is useful to check how many students work appear to be too similar against the Tii repository.

If you’re still not sure whether all students have submitted work, go to SpeedGrader. You can see the first students work. Look to the top right of the screen, there are left / right arrows and a down arrow to the right of the student name (top box highlight). Click the down arrow. Students with a circle to the left of their name have submitted work (as can be seen below):

Canvas - student submissions
Canvas – student submissions

For more on this, please read the Canvas Community page: How do I view the details of a of a submission for a student in SpeedGrader?

Can I mark work online?

Yes. Go to SpeedGrader and view student work. QUB Staff can view this handy video on how to mark and export grades for different types of assessment (note: Grading Policy):

When do grades get released?

If the Grading Policy is set to Automatic, grades get posted as they are entered into the system. This can lead to confusion and bad feeling if grades change. It’s much better to set the Grading Policy to Manual. This allows for marking to be done behind the scenes and agreed between cross-markers and exam boards.

The posting of grades can be done manually after the exam board and all students within the module will be notified at the same time. To post grades, go to Grades, click the ellipsis of the work you want to release grades for and in the dropdown menu, choose Post Grades. This releases grades and feedback for that particular assessment only (as seen below):

Canvas - posting grades (Manual Posting Policy)
Canvas – posting grades (Manual Posting Policy)
Next time

Tomorrow, we continue with Canvas Assessment and look at how to set up an assessment which looks at submissions of practical work (i.e., working website) and file documentation.

We hope you have a pleasant day. Please do join us then to learn more and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @MDBSelearn.


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