Turnitin.com

Turnitin.com is a website that enables teachers to turn in a student’s assignment and check it for plagiarism against 1) other student papers, 2) a body of reference works, and 3) some other stuff. It’s supposed to help nip source-lifting-without-credit in the bud. It’s also got a built-in grading program, and a whole raft of other tools.

I spent most of the day wrestling with it, trying to get all my classes set up. Now, admittedly, I only have around thirty-six students, which is not many, but I found the process both elaborate and confusing. Why, when I submit a list of kids and their e-mails in Microsoft Word, do they appear on-screen with their first and last names reversed, relative to the same list in .txt format? Is there any @(@*#$ing way to add an assignment simultaneously to the calendar, the gradebook and the assignment list? Is there any way to export all the calendar work I type in, so that I can robustly develop my offline curriculum planning?

Argh. Drives me nuts. And yet it’s still easier than trying to maintain a pen-and-paper gradebook. We’ll see.

Outdoor adventures today, not so good. We went to a nearby state park, where I can walk the Lake Trail in 45 minutes. Them, it takes an hour and a half. Beautiful walk, lots of wildlife, austerely beautiful, not too many people around… but we’ve only got an hour and a half total to be in sports. Add half an hour of transit time there (because we’re stuck behind a public school bus that comes to a full stop every sixty yards, and fifteen minutes of transit time back, and we’re an hour late getting back to campus, 5:30pm instead of 4:30. Argh. Not doing that trip again, at least not without some serious pre-planning. Keeping day student parents informed of such outings is going to be critical. Maybe the other state park? But then we miss out on the walk around the lake, and there’s not as much wildlife, and there’s lots more people around.

Study hall also ended early tonight. Not sure why, but around 8pm discovered kids wandering room to room on my hall. They were supposed to be in study hall for another half-hour. Have to go downstairs and keep an eye on things for a little while, and make sure no one is getting into trouble.

Still no word on White Wolf work from a month ago. The theoretical due-date for the final draft on that project is September 30, but I suspect it’s going to be late. Need to write to my editor and learn what’s what.

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