Revision Assistant : A New Writing Tool For Students In Higher Education

Turnitin is no stranger to all of us involved in higher education and it now has launched a new web-based writing tool, called Revision Assistant.

It provides instant and specific feedback to students while they write. It can be used by Middle school students as well as by University students.

This tool encourages students to revise their papers (something that generally students find hard to develop as a habit) providing them with helpful insights and it helps them to actually take ownership over their own writing and the writing process. At the same time, it provides teachers with the opportunity to view their students’ written speech progress over time.

How does it work?

Students may call a “Signal Check,” as they write, which means they will immediately receive visual feedback on their work. First, the feedback covers areas such as focus, evidence, ideas, and genre. Then, in the margins of students’ compositions one can see direct comments appear which point out to specific sentences highlighted in the text. Thus, the student receives various suggestions on how to improve their writing by either emphasizing areas of strength that the student’s essay shows as well as areas that need improvement.

Additional tools

The app also comprises some additional tools that one can use. These are :

  • a pre-writing tool for planning and organizing their thoughts,
  • automated validators that will inform students if they are writing off-topic, or if they are making invalid attempts, or, last, if their reliance on source quotes is excessive.

An example that shows how helpful and cool this tool really is can be found here:

It is therefore an app that provides balanced feedback and this is the reason why it can function positively and help students revise and generally develop the habit of revising. In fact, in a pilot study conducted, it was found that 94% of all students revised their essay at least once within Turnitin Revision Assistant, compared to a baseline of 29% in prior research. They also noticed a significant improvement of students’ scores.

The study can be found here : http://turnitin.com/en_us/what-we-offer/revision-assistant

The only drawback is perhaps that this is not a free tool as it requires an annual subscription per student to be paid. It is ideal though for such a vast range of students that it will soon be a hit.

About the Author
Author: vicky papageorgiou
Vicky Papageorgiou is a foreign language teacher (English, Italian, Greek) with approximately 20 years of experience with mainly adult learners. She holds an MA in Education (Open Univ. of Cyprus) and an MA in Art (Goldsmiths College, UK) and she has just completed a PGCE at University of Wales Trinity Saint David. She studied in Greece, Italy and the UK but also participated in an international project for the McLuhan program in Culture and Technology for the University of Toronto, Canada. She blogs about Edtech and ESL and Art.

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