Aargh! Turnitin fail

I’ve had my head against a brick wall today with several technical problems. The main one being that in some of our blackboard courses, Turnitin is not functioning, you can’t view old assignments, modify them or create new assignments. It turns out that this is because we were at the bleeding edge of using turnitin and we’ve been expired!

It’s rather tortuous but can be fixed by Turnitin, so if this has happened to you, get your admin person to contact iParadigms.

Way back in the mists of time (well it was 2004), we at University of Leicester installed an early version of the plug-in that connected Blackboard and Turnitin (version 1.something, I think). When a Turnitin Assignment is created on a Blackboard course using this plug-in, a corresponding class is created in Turnitin. This class is the container for the individual assignments and is a related to the stand alone version of Turnitin which operates like a mini VLE. This class container is never seen by the Blackboard user (instructor nor student), as they operate at the assignment level. the Blackboard module is their ‘class’ equivalent.  The old plug-in set expiration dates on these classes, and having been around long enough, our Blackboard courses that first tried the Turnitin integrated system back in 2004/5 have now expired and so cannot use Turnitin in any shape or form. This is also a consequence of us recycling our Blackboard courses, keeping the content the same but refreshing the student cohort each year.

The good news is that this can be fixed by the Turnitin support staff in the States, who can renew the classes and set them to never expire, but it’s not something your institutional admin can sort out. the bad news is that until they fix it, these Blackbaord courses can’t use Turnitin and term starts on Monday. Fingers crossed for a quick response from the States!

Update: Monday 28 Sept. No it’s worse than that – response from TII is: ‘iParadigms have told us that all classes that are created have a maximum duration of 5 years. after this point they will expire and will not be able to be extended.’ This is a major problem for anyone that recycles their blackboard courses year on year and uses TII integration. All your courses will have a 5 year life span and then they will have to be re-made to reset the expiration date.  If this affects your institution please raise a support ticket to TII to ask them to rethink this policy. Emailing directly to requktii@turnitin.com. If this does not work, you can use the form at https://submit.ac.uk/help/helpdesk.asp

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