New Moodle-Turnitin.com Integration

Turnitin.com LogoNew Moodle-Turnitin.com integration means:

  • Users don’t have to create accounts and log in to Turnitin separately
  • Users can submit and grade papers directly within Moodle

New Turnitin Assignment ActivityAs of Fall 2013 OBU has implemented Turnitin.com integration with our Moodle learning management system.  If you have never used Turnitin.com, go to our main support page and read about the features.  If you use Tii often and you also use Moodle, there is now a simpler process for both faculty and students.  Instead of creating a separate Tii account, faculty go to their Moodle course where they intend for the students to turn in their written assignments.  They create an assignment there, directly within the Moodle interface instead of having to log in to Tii and create a class and an assignment.  The student also does not have to create a separate Tii account.  They log into their Moodle course and turn in the assignment there.  The professor can check originality reports and grade papers from within the Moodle course page taking advantage of all of the features of the Tii application.  There is even an iPad app for checking originality reports and providing detailed feedback with Grademark.

Installation:

There is no installation requirement. Simply log in to Moodle and go to your course. Faculty can view the tutorial video on how to add an assignment here.  This tutorial was created based on Moodle 1.9, but the information can easily be extrapolated to Moodle 2.x which is the version in use by OBU.

Tutorials and Help:

Data Visualization

If pictures are worth a thousand words, a graphical data visualization might be worth a thousand lectures!  I was introduced to a wonderful teaching tool at the Blackboard World 2012 conference this summer that allows users to overlay raw data onto a map or other types of graphical representations.  For instance, below are a couple of interactive maps showing “worldwide alcohol consumption” per capita by country and “dominant religious self-descriptor” by state.  Click on the map to see the interactive features and the legend.

Alcohol Consumption WorldwideMany Eyes Dominant Religious Self-Descriptor Many Eyes

IBM makes this tool available for free.  You can use existing visualizations, create your own using existing data sets, or import your own data sets.  Click here to explore a list of some of the most highly rated visualizations.

Please comment below if you can think of a unique way to use this tool in your discipline or classroom.

Blackboard buys Moodlerooms

On 3/26/2012 Blackboard announced that it was acquiring Moodlerooms and NetSpot, both of whom are Moodle hosting partners that provide learning management services (LMS) through the venerable open source software initiative known as Moodle.  Oklahoma Baptist University has partnered with Moodlerooms as our LMS service provider since 2007.  Nevertheless, the majority of OBU faculty (52%) have never used Moodlerooms according to a recent survey.

Blackboard has had an open source initiative for a few years now and has wanted to be more involved in the development of community-sourced software projects, but it remains to be seen how this merger would benefit existing Moodlerooms customers.  Why invest in a service that competes with your own and has a much lower profit margin?  Also a concern for Moodlerooms users is Blackboard’s track record of acquiring competing companies and either assimilating the product into their own (Wimba) or discontinuing it altogether (WebCT).

Brad Wheeler CIO of Indiana University, Bloomington, and one of the forefathers of the open source LMS movement, summarized the concerns in an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education.  When asked about the effects of this merger on the open source movement on university campuses he asked; “Does it cause software to mature faster because of Blackboard’s deep pockets,…or at some point and time does a value conflict arise?” Of course Blackboard says that they are dedicated to the support and development of open source software, but the standard disclaimer at the bottom of all of their press releases leaves plenty of wiggle room:

Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard represent the Company’s views as of the date of this press release. Actual results may differ materially as a result of various important factors. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company’s views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so.

Please comment below if you have an opinion you would like to share about the Moodlerooms/Blackboard partnership, especially if you have used both products either as a student or a teacher.