New Turnitin Feature to Help Students Improve Writing

I imagine most of you are familiar with Turnitin. I know I am. Most of my professors required students to submit papers via Turnitin before handing it in in class. The service is used to see if papers are original or plagiarized.

Now they’ve added Revision Assistant. It gives students feedback on several different aspects of their papers and encourages multiple revisions. I remember most professors didn’t even allow students to see their own originality report, so this is a great step forward. But I’m not sure how it’ll work. I mean, it’s obviously automated in some way, which does make me a bit nervous about it. But even automated feedback (if it’s done properly) is better than no feedback. So long as everyone isn’t getting the same feedback on every paper.

Have you used Turnitin in the past? Do you think this new tool will help students improve their writing?

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A High School Teacher has Students Participate in NaNo

Wait, what?

I just read that a teacher in Virginia at a Catholic school had his students participate in NaNo this month. Their goal was 30,000 words rather than the 50,000 most aim for.

I understand that private schools don’t have to necessarily cover all the same topics as public schools, but I find this to be a bit much. Class time has likely been used for it. And it’s impossible for him to give any kind of substantive feedback with the time crunch.

Obviously he figured this would help them improve their writing skills, but I disagree. Why not instead focus on writing throughout the month? Poetry. Short stories. Maybe a short nonfiction essay? I just don’t think this is the best way to really help high school students improve their writing. And I don’t think it’s a good use of the time he has with them.

What do you think?