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The Mediating role of E-assessment on Student Identity: A Sociocultural Analysis Through the Lens of Figured Worlds

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In the 2000s, many UK universities acquired access to Turnitin, an online text-matching system designed to detect cut-and-paste plagiarism. At the university in question, one department allows their students to view Turnitin’s ‘originality reports’ before submitting essays for marking, hoping that Turnitin’s feedback will improve students’ writing. Building on recent calls for more research into students’ perceptions of eassessment, I explore the mediating role that Turnitin’s originality reports plays on two students’ authorship of their identities using the sociocultural framework of identity formation called ‘figured worlds’ (Holland et al., 1998), and Gee’s (2014a, 2014b) related approach to discourse analysis. My findings show that students’ subjectivities are closely bound up, at least in the short term, with their perception of the neutrality and precision of Turnitin. Such findings are useful for framing discussions about links between technology and learning and circumstances which can lead to greater student engagement with eassessment.



Turnitin, Identity, Socioculturalism, Eassessment, Higher Education

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