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Marc LeBane

Category: Writing with Integrity | Asia

Turnitin as a Positive Teaching Strategy

Marc LeBane is a Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of the English Language Support Services (ELSS) at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. He is charged with teaching non-native English students how to write. One of the biggest challenges in academia, he says, is students trying to take shortcuts.

Rather than relying solely on technology to catch them, he has flipped the approach and started using Turnitin as a positive teaching strategy rather than a punitive policing tactic. By developing a holistic learning process that leverages Turnitin to identify problems and guide improvement, he’s helping students become better writers. He estimates this approach has eliminated about 98% of academic integrity cases in his department.

He also served on a university task force that developed an online tutorial, now mandatory for all first-year students, to teach concepts related to academic integrity. It also covers specific skills for using Turnitin to effectively revise, with correct paraphrasing and referencing. This has led the university to require that all assessed written assignments across all departments be submitted through Turnitin, to raise awareness of the importance of original, quality writing.

In addition to using Turnitin to provide individualized feedback one-on-one, he also uses the software for group exercises with his class. These activities include walking through paraphrasing examples as a class and to having his students work in groups to provide peer-to-peer feedback. Based on the decrease in academic integrity issues and improvements in student writing, he says he thinks the learning-centered, multi-dimensional approach has been very effective.

Marc was a Turnitin Global Award Honorable Mention in 2017


Our duty as educators should first be to train students how to become better writers. Using Turnitin as an instructional tool, allows me to identify areas students are having problems with and create a teachable moment."

Marc LeBane
Senior Lecturer/ELSS Coordinator
Lingnan University, Hong Kong