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Author Archives: MATTHEW SMART

TurnItIn Now Available

The University of Otago now subscribes to the anti-plagiarism service TurnItIn. TurnItIn are global leaders in helping students and teaching staff improve their writing and detecting dishonest academic practice.

TurnItIn is fully integrated into Blackboard and Instructors can now create TurnItIn assignments that will allow students to submit documents to create an Similarity Report on their work. This report can also be made available to students to help them craft their writing and learn how best to cite resources and quote sources.

TurnItIn is intended to be a replacement for SafeAssign which has, in recent months, shown to no longer be a tool of sufficient quality to fulfill the needs of the University.

TurnItIn is easy to use and full-featured. To help staff become familiar with the service IT Training will be providing courses that cover the key parts of the software and how to use it. eLearning has also developed a series of self-help pages that can be accessed here:

Integration of TurnItin with Moodle is expected soon once the service has been fully tested by the departments providing the service.

TurnItIn does not currently have the same Direct Submit feature like SafeAssign does. ITS are working on a solution to allow similar functionality but a timeframe for availability is unknown.

Otago Capture request forms

Between 5:00pm Tuesday 18 August and midday Thursday 20 August ITS will not be processing any new Otago Capture Sections or be able to make changes to existing Sections.

This hiatus in service will allow ITS to deploy the new Otago Capture Administration application which allows staff to have a more timely and efficient control over their Otago Capture Sections. Some of the expected benefits include self-service facilities for staff to manage staff access, alter recording availability and change schedules without the need to contact ITS directly.

During this work there will be no interruption to scheduled, ad-hoc or Personal Capture services and students will still have access to the recordings that have been previously made. The existing request forms will also be available and any submissions to these will be backlogged and processed as soon as possible once our data migration procedures have been completed.

If you have any concerns about this release please contact the ITS Service Desk so that the Otago Capture team can respond to your query.

Blackboard Upgrade 2014

We would like to announce the upgrade of Blackboard for 2014. We have scheduled the upgrade to happen between 5pm Friday 5 December until 9am Monday 8 December. This will mean that there will be no access to Blackboard during this timeframe.

This upgrade to Blackboard includes several behind the scenes improvements as well as some new features. Some of the new features include:

  • Student Preview Mode – This feature allows Instructors to see a true preview of their Blackboard paper as visible to students and provides significantly more features than changing the edit mode to Off. Student preview mode allows an Instructor to take tests and assignments with the grades recorded in the Grade Centre. Any data created during a Student Preview Session can be retained or deleted at its conclusion.
  • Integration between the Assignments and Safe Assign Content Items – Once the upgrade is complete Instructors will be able to apply Safe Assign plagiarism checking to the Assignments instead of creating a separate Safe Assign item. This offers benefits of allowing multiple submissions and more fully-featured grading options which have not been available when using Safe Assign.

You can keep up-to-date with news about this update by following the ITS Service Desk notices ( and here on the eLearning blog ( We will be using this blog to talk in more depth about the new features and improvements that have been made.