To Turnitin, or not Turnitin- that is the question…


In 2016, I entered as a joint Paper Coordinator for a third-year physiotherapy undergraduate module (Managing Complexity in the Community Environment). We inherited a paper that was very didactic in delivery and required the students to incorporate their collective knowledge on the module into one Summative Assessment as a written assignment. While the assignment had to be submitted to Turnitin for a review of plagiarism; students were also required to submit the same assignment to Blackboard for the purposes of marking. This seemed non-intuitive and open for error. Student reviews for the paper in 2015 were “average” to say the least, and as incumbent Coordinators, we agreed that we would utilise creative liberty to refresh the delivery and mode of assessment.


We gathered up the teaching team to discuss a new approach to the assessment. The teaching had been delivered by four lecturers- all with their own specialty. The purpose of the paper was to demonstrate complexity in common physiotherapy conditions. With the teaching being delivered by four key lecturers- all with their own specialty- it was proposed that we adopt a problem-based learning approach, which used complex case scenarios from the four key areas as a mode to assist complex clinical reasoning and consideration of interprofessionals. These cases were delivered in small group teaching to enable discussion and exploration of the scenarios- some of which included blended learning through a virtual environment (myself) to incorporate resources they would readily utilise when on clinical and graduation, as well as to promote “investigation” of the scene- rather than providing all clinical features for the students.. .

We also wanted to emphasise the importance of good clinical documentation- in particular- referral letters to interprofessionals. Our first summative assessment, therefore, included submission of a 1 1/2 page referral letter (with 1/2 page of endnotes) that was submitted to Turnitin (Appendix 1). By keeping the assessment relevant to the case scenarios presented in the small groups; the assessment clinically relevant; and also some creative licence (i.e. students came up with their own letterheads; business name; digital signature: and logo)- it made it all manageable for students. By submitting once to Turnitin and utilising the available marking tools (including cut and paste; user strings, etc) it made for easy turn over of feedback to students which was then utilised for the second summative assessment (clinical reasoning regarding the content of the letter).

So- this is where “To Turnitin” worked for us last year (2017):

  • Reflection on clinical problem-based learning
  • Rather than an “assignment”- assessment was relevant to a clinically useful skill that was not otherwise introduced (or assessed) in the programme (i.e. development of concise referral letters)
  • Develop consistent feedback strategies
    • Use of a Rubric for learning outcomes (Appendix 2)
    • Link comments in Turnitin directly to the learning outcomes
    • Use “QuickMarks” “Commonly Used in Turnitin
    • No information in the “User’s Comments” Section- feedback was to be provided “within” the assignment

This approach has been found to be successful by the teaching team, with the students quickly seeing the clinical relevance- rather than “just another assignment”.

In an effort to learn from other colleagues, discussions with the paramedicine team revealed that they have extended the assessment within Turnitin to using not only the audio feedback feature, though have included attaching a video (mp4) for feedback. This seems to have been well received by the students. It may be something that we need to consider for future use of Turnitin for our module; or to disseminate the effectiveness of the practice to others within our department at a staff meeting… (Appendix 3)

Appendix 1


Appendix 2


Appendix 3





Evernote- one stop shop?

I have been using Evernote for a number of years now, though have not been conscious of how I use it. Here’s my reflection on what has worked for me:

  1. Get Premium. While the free account gets you going, I enjoy the fact that I can access the notes from a variety of devices- including offline and has a more powerful search facility (including searching pdfs and handwritten notes)
  2. Organise folders the same as email. I have used the GTD strategy of organising folders in my email. By replicating this in Evernote, I automatically organise appropriate documents into the right folder. Always problematic when you think that a key phase is best at the time, though makes no sense later on- better have the two systems using same “key words”
  3. Tag- if it works for you. Certainly helps for grouping. Personally, I find tagging more labour intensive as the built-in search tool and use of the folders above does me fine.  Others I know who use Evernote swear by the tagging…
  4. Know your Evernote email. This can be found by looking in your Account Info
  5. Know some shortcuts. When sending emails, know that:
    1. The beginning of the subject line will be the title of your note
    2. To pop your email straight into a known notebook, include “@” immediately followed by the appropriate notebook in the Subject field.
    3. Into tagging? Add “#” immediately followed by an existing tag in the Subject field
    4. Need a reminder? Include an exclamation point- e.g. Email Subject: Portfolio Meeting !2017/04/12
    5. Need all of the above? Then the order is Email Subject: [Title of Note] ![Reminder Date] @[Folder] #[Tag]
  6. Want to quickly present your info? The presentation tool is a quick and easy way to present what is in an Evernote note. Once in presentation mode, look to the far right where you can change the “Presentation Settings”, adding horizontal lines to your note to create the likes of slides…
  7. Install browser add-ins. Most browsers have add-ins that you can download to make clipping notes to Evernote a piece of cake!
  8. iOS IFTTT applets. The “if [this occurs] then do this” applets for iPhone and iPad are also handy. This might include converting your Reminders to a note, saving Instagram photos or Tweets to Evernote, quickly appending to a to-do (or shopping) note, or copying new Evernote to Onenote

Use of Google Forms to Establish Confidence of Skills- Benefits, Constraints and Reflection of Use #cmaltcmooc #CMALT


Our third year, semester one physiotherapy programme aims to integrate knowledge gained from the previous two years as well as “step up” from a NCEA level six to level seven paper (Table 1). This includes a shift from a more teacher-directed approach to that being mainly student-directed learning (SDL). This in itself required an integration of knowledge from multiple papers (fields), problem-solving unfamiliar (and at times complex) scenarios and learning through leading others in the development of problem solutions.  In student feedback of papers in semester one, year three, students identified as being (somewhat understandably) anxious of the workload; felt unclear as to where to start; and that “bringing it together” was overwhelming. These concerns, therefore, reflected on a paper that I coordinate (PHTY710) in that semester.

Table 1: NZQF Level 5-10 Descriptors (adapted from Table 2, The New Zealand Qualifications Framework p30)

NZQF Level 5-10

In order to capture anticipated SDL habits, barriers to learning and confidence in skills related to the paper. To do this I developed a Google Form survey which was delivered in the first lecture of the paper. First, I mapped out the types of questions I wanted to include (study group involvement; anticipated SDL hours; barriers to learning; and confidence in practical assessment and treatment skills). From there, development of the Google Form survey was relatively easy.  On opening a new form, a brief description was provided. While I had just done this verbally in the lecture, I wanted to acknowledge that the purpose of students entering their personal email was to receive in individual “snapshot” of their learning (which they could return to compare at a later date). Lecturers did not respond to individual reflections, rather, looked at the overall summary.


I chose Google Forms to develop the survey for a number of reasons that were beneficial:

  1. It is free. While there are other online survey platforms available, they sometimes come with limits to access to some of the editing tools and/ or how many responses you are able to collect before you have to pay. Google Forms does not have these limits and has some third-party plugins that can be utilised to export data into other software platforms
  2. It is linked to Google Drive. As a novice to Google Drive, I have been trying to utilise it as best I can. Like other “cloud-based” storage systems, you are able to share a link to the document; and can edit to meet your needs as time goes by. Previously I have set up a link to a document/ form with a Bitly address or QR Code to find that it is “not quite right”, though adapting the form would require changing the link and code. With Google Drive, you do not need to make these changes as long as the original document you are amending is in the Drive.
  3. It is (mostly) familiar. Students here in New Zealand have been made aware of the use of Google Drive and Google for Education platform since primary school (year three- 6-7-year-olds). Therefore, access, the look, expectations for submission did not need too much explanation.
  4. Data can be exported. Again, similar to (1) above, the quantitative and qualitative data can be easily exported to third-party platforms freely. While analysis could be made in Google Sheets- I am personally still too familiar with formulas in Excel to give that up.


  1. It requires smart devices or laptops to work. If you want to capture data immediately (as was the case for this survey to enable a 24hour turnaround of interpretation to direct integration in the tutorials)- then students need to have brought their devices with them. This could be pre-empted by sending an announcement to the student prior to the lecture.
  2. It requires reliable wifi. A couple of years ago- this would have been problematic in our University, though thankfully, not the case now. This is something to consider for those that are performing the survey at a distance or in remote, rural areas.
  3. It is not familiar with non-school leavers. As this was a class of third-year students, the majority had transitioned to having smart devices and use of technology. The format of online surveys was less familiar to those that had not recently left the secondary school environment. That said- I had no “mature” students identify an issue with completing the survey, and as I could see the names of the respondents, they had completed the form just as ably as their younger counterparts…


As the survey was conducted in the lecture, the response rate was 93% (120/ 129). The summary of results was collated easily as was using Google Forms analytics. The result summaries were then used to develop the tutorials for that week (i.e. the next three days) and were presented to the small groups which are between 18 and 25 students.

Study work barriers

This survey found that less than half (48.3%) had not established themselves in study groups. As this was the beginning of a new year, students are rearranged into new groups according to the papers they are taking- therefore may have had an effect on already established groups. 44% (n=57) indicated that they would be studying alongside work commitments; 1% (n=9) with high-level sports commitments; 28% (n=36) had a family commitment that may be barriers to their SDL for the paper. These barriers were not surprising, though the extent to how many were required to continue to work, sport and family commitments was somewhat revealing. The work-study-life balance is one that potentially requires more emphasis as students enter full-time study and/ or when the academic level of expectations increases.

In a recent survey across seven universities in Canada, students expressed concern with balancing work, family, and education (20.8%), failing to set aside enough time for study while meeting personal, family and social obligations (14.4%) (Sauve, Fortin, Viger, & Landry,  2018). In a sample population of 2291 college and university  students aged 18- 26 years of age, it was found that working while studying reduced the amount of time spent in class by 47 minutes and on SDL by 56 minutes, with other extracurricular activities (i.e. sport) lead to 22 minutes less SDL. (Crispin & Nickolaou, 2018).

SDL Hours

It was also interesting to see the overestimate of SDL hours that students felt they would be completing towards this paper. While the majority (58.3%) mentioned 5-9 hours; they were some that thought they would be committing 10- 14 hours (9.2%) or 15-19 hours (5%). If combined with other papers to be completed in the semester, this would equate to up to 76 SDL hours alone… A summary of the results was able to be presented during the tutorial time, as was reassurance that our expectation of SDL hours was much less than what some had indicated.

Confidence of Skills

The main purpose of the survey was to help the students to identify early what skills they were confident with as they entered the paper. Skills that the students were “less confident” with were integrated into the planning of the tutorials for the first week using problem-based learning. Some students just needed a few pointers as reassurance that they did know the information required, while for others it was a “gentle reminder” to include it in their study plan…

End of Semester Review

We issued the survey again at the end of the semester to identify progression and to focus again on skills that they were less confident with two weeks prior to the examinations. These practical skills were focused on in the “review” tutorials that were again case based.  It was pleasing to see that students identified an average of 9% improved confidence in performing all 34 skills (range 2- 19%). New skills introduced in the paper were also rated on confidence, though could be reviewed again before the students enter their “intern” fourth year of the programme.


Crispin, L.M. & Nicolaou, D. (2018). Work and play take school time away? The impact of extracurricular and work time on educational time for live-at-home college students. Applied Economics, 50(24), 2698- 2718. Doi: 10.1080/00036846.2017.1406656

Sauve, L., Fortin, A., Viger, C. & Landry, F. (2018). Ineffective learning strategies: a significant barrier to post-secondary perseverance. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 42(2), 205- 222. Doi: 10.1080/13504851.2017.1343443

Use of Word Clouds for Interaction in Lectures- Constraints, Benefits and Future Use #cmaltcmooc #CMALT

I do find it difficult, at times, to engage students during a large lecture. Teaching a class of 120 to 190 physiotherapy students can be daunting- especially if I have got the “lunchtime lull” slot or are following on from a previous lecture that was content heavy. Asking questions to the students during a lecture sometimes feels… …forced, and at times it is the same students who are confident enough to answer, rather than a broad indicator of what the cohort are thinking. Wouldn’t it be great to have something that all students in the lecture theatre could contribute to? To have something that responds as answers are added? To have something that was visually appealing and could give a break to the didactic voice of the lecturer? So I entered “word cloud” into google and came up with MentiMeter (
The use of word clouds provides a way for students to anonymously present their thoughts and “see” the collective priorities or important features of a given topic. It can also promote critical reasoning and be used as a platform for the lecturer to focus on the audience’s impression of a given topic. Word clouds have been utilised in healthcare education to provide reflection, integration of learning, critical thinking and development of interpersonal skills including online discussion (deNoyelles & Reyers-Foster, 2015; Volkert, 2018). The completed word cloud can then be provided to students as a study tool that summarises the discussed topic (Filatova, 2016).
I chose to use Mentimeter- a free online platform that produces interactive word clouds that are easily accessed by student’s smart devices, tablets or laptops via wifi. Any time that you want to ask the students a question, Mentimeter can be used to capture their responses on mass- live. A question is posed to the students, a code is provided, and students use the code to enter their answers. As answers are entered, they are pushed to the lecturers Mentimeter account and word cloud presentation. This immediately responds by centering the more “common” responses, while the less common (and sometimes irrelevant…) answers are pushed out to the edges.
Mentimeter does not limit the number of interactions or votes unlike other polling-type of platforms. Other than having word clouds used to open class discussion, the Mentimeter platform could be used for checking the student’s previous knowledge (quiz), reflect on their own knowledge (Likert scale), which when transferred to the lecturer account can provide an overview of feedback to help improve the next lecture.
You are able to have THREE free Menti’s for your account, otherwise, you would need to upgrade (USD$7.99/ month billed annually as at July 2018). As the MentiMetor presentation is presented through the web, it, unfortunately, means that you need to keep swapping to/ from alternative presentation software (i.e. PowerPoint), rather than being embedded into a slide- though this is not too much of an issue.
There is also the requirement that in order to interact with the word cloud at the time of the lecture, students require an appropriate smart devices/ laptops and reliable internet connection. While this might limit some students, there is the opportunity to use peer’s devices and discussion can still be enabled with a few respondents to a given word cloud.
Deployment and Support
In a recent lecture with the physiotherapy students this year, I used  to encourage the students to engage- in this case, responding to the question- “how does the neuromuscular system change as we age?”. I positioned a slide with the link and code, which I left up while organising my end ( This gave them some time to respond, though the link and code were still available when I swapped over to MultiMeter and hit “present”. While not all answered the question,  the number of student response was pleasing, especially as this was novel to them. It was also reassuring that as the more common (and appropriate) responses were gathered and centralised, with those that less relevant made smaller (and insignificant). When the question was closed down, I was then able to talk to the centralised concepts which lead on nicely to the next section of the lecture (see MentiMeter responses).
I have discussed the success with other lecturers, who have since gone on to use it for their own teaching and presentations (NT and NSW).
Future Application
In healthcare education, there is a need to integrate biomedical knowledge (i.e. pathologies and conditions) into case scenarios. Rather than provide all the clinical features that would help determine a given management, students may be given a “snippet” of information, then asked- “what now do you think?” By expressing their ideas through a word cloud,  the lecturer can be “student-directed” as to what they see as priorities or key features and be led by the discussion from there…
For future reference, I have created a tutorial video on how to create a word cloud using Menti (see below or I would be interesting to hear from others who have used Menti in their teaching and learning…

deNoyelles, A. & Reyers-Foster, B. (2015). Using word clouds in online discussions to support critical thinking and engagement. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Network, 19(4).
Filatova, O. (2016). More Than a Word Cloud. TESOL Journal 7(2), 438-448. Doi: 10.1002/tesj.251.
Volkert, D.R. (2018). Building Reflection with Word Clouds for Online RN to BSN Students. Nursing Education Perspectives, 39(1), 53-54. Doi: 10.1097/01.NEP.0000000000000159.


Have you ever thought IFTTT…? #cmaltcmooc #CMALT

Have you ever started using a new app or piece of software and thought “there must be a better way to do this?”, or when posting to social media thought, “if only there was a way to automate this?” Chances are, someone else has thought the same and created a code, applet or “recipe” that helps with this process. This has been the case for me, especially as I explore and learn more about new ways to deliver content. This may be for work-related productivity, or to automate (and filter) feeds information through social media. Some examples of this include:
-IF I add a new event to my iOS Calendar, THEN it is also added to my Google Calendar
-IF I enter within a defined perimeter of work, THEN log this as “Entered Work” on my Calendar. Do the same for when I exit the perimeter as “Exited Work”
-IF I make a new blog post in WordPress, THEN also enter the post into an assigned Google Plus account
-IF I make a new blog post in WordPress, THEN Tweet this post
Introducing IFTTT- a free platform that helps you connect apps and devices you use. It is based on the “If This, Then That” principle, in that if an event happens in one device or app then an applet (or Recipe) will automate a process in another app or device. Basically, it cuts your “updating” in half.
Along with work-related apps, there is a multitude of social IFFT applets available.
-IF there is a new Spotify track on a playlist, THEN notify me on my iOS
-IF I connect to my car’s Bluetooth, THEN set my phone’s ringer volume to 100%
-IF I take a photo in a particular location, THEN add it to a specific album
Bottom line, if you ask the question “I wonder if I could automate having to do one thing in one app, that I am already doing in another?”, probability is that someone else has asked the same question and already created an applet (or Recipe) for you.
The main constraints to using IFTTT are the number of apps that it “connects” to. That being said, there is such a multitude that you would be hard pressed NOT to find something that meets your needs as these are created by IFTTT, users and app developers themselves. You too can take an applet and customise it to your need as this is a community that aims to share and support the needs. Applets have been created for Google, iOS, Android, Evernote, WordPress, Activity Trackers, voice assistants and even wifi controlled lights and smoke detectors… There’s something for everyone.
Deployment and Support
How to use:
  1. The first thing you need to do is register with IFTTT ( Do this on any mobile device first (as most likely will be linking apps with each other and/ or devices), then later log on with your other internet based devices.
  2. Next search for a “recipe” based on the app that you are wanting to connect. Here we will consider iOS Reminders and Evernote, where I want to be able to save any reminders on my phone to an Evernote to-do list. When I type in “Reminders”, IFTTT narrows down to show me a link to that app, and then Applets that have already been created.
  3. Click on the Applet that best suits- in this case, “Save my iOS reminders to and Evernote checklist.
  4. Some Applets have options to be able to customise the Recipe (i.e be more specific as to what you want it to do- email addresses, folders to attribute to, etc). Click the “Settings” icon on the top right of the Applet to customise
  5. Next, flick the switch to “Turn on”
  6. While you are logged in to IFFT, you will be able to see all the Applets you have in use, view their activity log, customise or delete them.
I have created a tutorial video of the above for those that might find this useful:


Those completing their CMALT accreditation might want to consider:

Reflection on Presenting at SoTEL 2018 #CMALTcMOOC #CMALT #MESH360 #Sotelnz

Yesterday I presented a “case study” reflecting on my journey of embedding 360 blended learning into a third-year physiotherapy paper. This was at the inaugural #Sotelnz conference held at AUT University, Auckland- with over 70 delegates attending. While there were some similarities to the collaborative presentation at ASCILITE 2017, this presentation was focused on the changing from a Teaching Led tutorial to a Student Led approach that incorporated an online integrated learning experience.
As this was something developed over 6 months ago- I was regretting not reflecting at the time the process that I had journeyed through. As with all changes, it was met with some challenges. There was the need to ensure that there was consistency with other content delivered within the paper; buy-in from the Paper Coordinator that I could run with it; as too the students- this was something that was new to us all- and was different in delivery from what the students were familiarised with the previous two and a half years of their physiotherapy programme. It took some learning (and many drafts of the environment) in order to facilitate the presentation of the online environment as clearly and concisely as possible.
In the presentation, I outlined my initial apprehensions in delivering using a blended learning approach. Before reading more about what blending learning actually incorporated and how was defined- I naively believed I was already utilising elements of blended learning. It is hard to relay that in a presentation to peers- though, there it is…
I looked back at some of the presentations that I had presented prior to commencing #MosoMelt and #CMALTcMOOC- and is personally encouraging to see some differences- both for the purpose of presenting, though more importantly, what has been utilised in my teaching over the past year- links to Google Drive; inclusion of QR Codes and TinyURL or links; embedding of video, use of the 360 camera and online editing software (; even inclusion of Twitter hashtags and names… much to the surprise of @thomcochrane!
My last reflection of this presentation was that I felt… …“at home”. Here I was with like-minded people that shared a common passion- and concern- about the future of tertiary and secondary education. Here were people who were demonstrating consideration of how education is delivered, rather than being constrained to just the content. It was nice to hear Keynote speaker Professor Peter Scott (University of Technology Sydney) mention that “If you are thinking about teaching without the content being the focus, you are starting to consider teaching in a new way…”. This is something that needs to be strongly highlighted in the changing face of tertiary education and expectations of both institute management as well as the next generation of digital-ready learners entering university.
Makes you think- “Are we ready…” More importantly- “Am I ready…”?
SoTEL Twitter Shot Stretton