At Instructurecon 2016, I had a long talk with Turnitin representatives Micah Arons (sales) and Gary Finnigan (product). Several of their comments were interesting, so I thought I would share some highlights with the community:
Network Stability: Turnitin products that use the older Turnitin API are inefficient by today’s standards and cause instability for all Turnitin products. The current products, such as the Turnitin LTI tool use newer, more efficient coding. When the older API gets retired, users should see less downtime and more responsiveness across Turnitin products. However, Turnitin keeps extending the sunset date for the older API due to customer request.
LTI Standard: The LTI standard is new. The first version of LTI was released in 2010, and version 2.0 was released in 2014. Working with Instructure, Turnitin is helping to develop the LTI standard. As they develop the Turnitin LTI, they have found the existing LTI standard needs development and are developing the standard while also working to improve Turnitin specifically.
Company Growth and Reorganization: Turnitin has experienced recent growth, and to meet the demand, they have recently reorganized their teams to be faster and more responsive.
Agile: The company has not embraced a strict adherence to Agile Software Development, but they have moved in that direction. By looking at the Turnitin release notes, we can see that releases are occurring frequently. One of my favorite recent improvements is that instructors no longer need to initiate assignments in Turnitin when using the LTI; instead, the first student to access the assignment from Canvas will initiate the assignment with the instructor’s saved default settings.
By the way, to access the release notes, log into Turnitin, access the roadmap site in the upper right corner of your screen:
Once on the roadmap site, you can create feature requests, search and vote existing requests, and view the release notes in the upper right of the screen:
I am not a journalist; I took no notes. I am not a coder; a few things in the conversation were beyond my knowledge. Still, the reps were nice and receptive to concerns from the Canvas community. They knew who I was and knew about Canvas and Turnitin They said they read community forums for their LMS integrations. They said they read the Canvas forums. I know Micah reads them and has for years because he has emailed and called me occasionally as far back as 2014 when the Turnitin LTI first came out.