Helping students succeed in a challenging time
A message from the Student Success Office.
The Student Success Office is continuing to offer a breadth of online resources to support students throughout the winter term. We know that the ongoing pandemic has presented students with new challenges, and we’re committed to providing supports that address their unique needs.
- NEW - Students can drop-in to a Warrior Virtual Study Hall - a weekly supported study session. The sessions are facilitated by a Peer Success Coach to introduce new academic skills, help students create study goals and answer questions. The goal of this program is to facilitate academic skill development, community-building and peer-to-peer relationships.
- Students can book a one-on-one appointment with a Peer Success Coach for personalized support addressing academic challenges and creating a plan for success. Our coaches are upper-year students with experience overcoming their own study roadblocks.
- Students can attend the Making the Most of Online Learning workshop to prepare for a successful online term. A Peer Success Coach will discuss course resources, how to create a routine that works and setting up a study environment for success. Students can register in UWaterloo Portal for this workshop throughout January.
- Students can access Online Learning Resources to help them study more effectively.
- Students can use Tutor Connect to find a student tutor or list their services in UWaterloo Portal. The latest enhancements for Tutor Connect include: grade validation for all UG students, Grad users can now select any courses to tutor (up to a max of 100 courses) and antirequisites/compatible courses have been added.
- The Student Leadership Program has been updated to provide a more engaging experience for participants. The program now includes three major components: six core workshops, a 10-hour leadership experience and a reflection exercise. Students can register for workshops in UWaterloo Portal.
- Students can register for the Foundational Training Program for Peer Leaders in UWaterloo Portal to develop core skills for working in a peer-to-peer program at the University of Waterloo.
International student experience
- International student arrival supports like the Quarantine Warrior’s Support Group and International Travel Pre-departure Drop-ins are scheduled each week to support students who are planning to come to Canada.
- International Peer Community and Online Discussions continue to be offered to enhance the student experience from home.
- Immigration Info Sessions for international students to learn how to apply for and maintain their documents.
- Second round exchange applications are open from January 15 to 26. Students can attend an information session to get started.
- The Global Experience Certificate is a good way for students to showcase their achievements in internationalization – even from home.
How Turnitin can improve your students' writing
By Melanie Misanchuk, Ph.D., and Christine Zaza, Ph.D., Centre for Extended Learning.
Turnitin® is a text-matching tool that is perhaps best known as an easy add-on to a LEARN Dropbox to help “catch plagiarism.” This view is not entirely accurate (e.g., Turnitin does not always verify authorship) and it is a bit simplistic. Many students do not understand what Turnitin is, how it works, or how it is being used in their courses. Here are three recommendations on how you and your students can get the most out of Turnitin.
Explain what Turnitin is and how you’re using it in your course
Students need/want clear communication about what Turnitin is, how it works, and how it is being used in their courses (Zaza & McKenzie, 2018). Moreover, students experience high anxiety over Turnitin and fear that they will be wrongfully accused of plagiarism (Zaza & McKenzie, 2018). There is a lot of boilerplate information available from a technical or privacy point of view, but students benefit when their instructor takes the time to explain what Turnitin is and how it is being used in the course. The Office of Academic Integrity website has a Quickguide that instructors can share with their students for more information. It is important to provide a fair and reasonable alternative for those who opt-out of Turnitin, so that opting out is a viable choice for those who wish to do so.
Choose Turnitin settings that suit your needs
For each submission, Turnitin generates a Similarity Report which shows how much a submission matches work found in the Turnitin database. The settings you choose have a big impact on the Similarity Report – e.g., including the reference section inflates the similarity score because all of the references will match the published references word for word. Refer to Using Turnitin – Instructions for Set-up to select settings that are most educationally beneficial to your students, while still preserving the plagiarism-detection functionality.
Use Turnitin as an Educational Tool
Since most instances of plagiarism are unintentional due to under-developed academic writing skills, catching plagiarism is not that effective in reducing future infractions.
Therefore, we propose using Turnitin as an educational tool, in addition to using it as an aid to detect plagiarism.
Using Turnitin as an educational tool means allowing students the opportunity to submit a draft of their assignment to the Turnitin-enabled dropbox in advance of the due date so that students can then view their Similarity Report and correct problems before submitting their final version for grading. Having the opportunity to view and correct citation errors on a draft is a good first step, but that alone, doesn’t necessarily lead to improvements in academic writing. It’s more effective to use additional strategies along with the draft submission, for example:
- Direct students to the Writing and Communication Centre’s resources on paraphrasing and citation
- Connect with the Writing and Communication Centre to see what other options are possible (e.g., custom workshops for your course)
- Ask students to submit their draft and the Similarity Report of their draft, along with a reflection on what they learned from the Similarity Report (e.g., what types of errors were identified) as a separate deliverable worth a small percentage of their assignment grade.
- Ask students to submit a reflection on the ‘before’ and ‘after’ writing (i.e., before and after they reviewed the Similarity Report on their draft) along with their final submission.
By providing clear messaging, using appropriate settings, and encouraging writing support, you can continue to use Turnitin as the first line of identification of plagiarism, while also helping your students improve their academic writing and reducing their anxiety.
- Turnitin for Students and Turnitin for Instructors on the Office of Academic Integrity website for Guidelines and Quickguides
- Turnitin from LEARNHelp
- Interpreting the Similarity Report from the Turnitin website
- Turnitin – Your originality report video from Cumbria University on how to interpret your Turnitin Similarity Report
- Using Turnitin – Instructions for Set-up.
Julian Agyeman will deliver 2021 TD Walter Bean virtual lecture
The 2021 TD Walter Bean Professor in Environment will deliver a public lecture on Tuesday, January 26.
Julian Agyeman, Ph.D. FRSA FRGS is a Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. He is the originator of the increasingly influential concept of just sustainabilities, the intentional integration of social justice and environmental sustainability. He is the author or editor of 12 books, including Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (MIT Press, 2003), Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class and Sustainability (MIT Press, 2011), and Sharing Cities: A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities (MIT Press, 2015), one of Nature’s Top 20 Books of 2015. In 2018, he was awarded the Athena City Accolade by KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, for his "outstanding contribution to the field of social justice and ecological sustainability, environmental policy and planning".
In his remarks, Julian Agyeman will outline the concept of just sustainabilities as a response to the ‘equity deficit’ of much sustainability thinking and practice. He will explore his contention that who can belong in our cities will ultimately determine what our cities can become. He will illustrate his ideas with examples from urban planning and design, urban agriculture and food justice, the ‘Minneapolis Paradox’ and the concept of sharing cities.
The TD Walter Bean Professorship in Environment was founded in 1992 by the late Walter Bean, who was president of Waterloo Trust until its merger with Canada Trust in 1968. Since 1994, the professorship has promoted hands-on learning and a focus on youth, education and the environment. Formerly a partnership between the University of Waterloo's faculties of Engineering, Environment and Science, as of 2019, the Faculty of Environment will be the host of the TD Walter Bean Professorship in Environment. TD Walter Bean Professorships in Environment is the faculty’s signature event, attracting top international research professors on the environment to campus to give public lectures, teach classes, and meet with professors and students.
The virtual event takes place on Tuesday, January 26 at 6:30 p.m. Register now.
Regular faculty in the Faculty of Arts, and regular staff in the Office of Research are invited to vote in their respective elections to choose their representatives on the Vice-President, Research & International Nominating Committee. Elections are scheduled to open on Monday, 25 January 2021 at 12:00 noon, and close on Friday, 29 January 2021 at 12:00 noon. All eligible voters will receive a direct email with a link to the electronic ballot on Monday, 25 January.
There is still time to sign up for the Sustainability Certificate program being offered in the winter term. This series is intended to help Waterloo embed sustainability into campus culture, one of the major goals of the University’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy. It includes seven modules that cover key local and global sustainability issues, what the University is doing, and tools and resources for employees to integrate sustainability into their own departments, homes, and beyond. Sessions will be held remotely through Microsoft Teams, and registration will be managed through Workday. For a list of session dates and more information, please visit the Sustainability Certificate webpage.
Those interested in presenting at the Seventh Annual Advisor Conference: The Challenge of Change now have until Friday, January 22, 2021 to submit a proposal. Proposals should be a stimulating and/or interactive learning experience focusing on advising best practices, information sharing, or new initiatives. The Advisor Conference will be held virtually April 15 and 16.
Employers on campus next week hosting employer information sessions include Wattpad Corp, Fairfax Financial Holdings, BDO Canada LLP, Overbond, Datadog, Capula Investment Management, FDM Group, Grapevine, Mosea Technologies, and Genesys. Make sure to register through WaterlooWorks and check the calendar for any updates.