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Turning on the Poetry

Turning on the Poetry

although I have things to write every week for my three first semester modules — Long Form Fiction, Poetry 1 and Screenwriting — the only one that involves any grading before the New Year is for screenwriting. Screenwriting's first deadline was Friday!

I'm always a little apprehensive when it comes to new systems and there was a hephalump of a system standing in my way for this one ... Turnitin.

Misconception 15: Turnitin employs legions of writing experts to read and evaluate papers for plagiarism.
Reality: Turnitin receives over 200,000 papers daily, and no human reads the papers at Turnitin. All papers are processed by our software, servers, and databases. Misconception 9:  All students hate Turnitin.
Reality: Many students have stated that they like the fact that Turnitin helps maintain a level playing field. Turnitin protects students' work from unauthorized use and gives students who want to do their own work a good reason not to share their work with others.
(from Turnitin website — Top 15 Misconceptions about Turnitin)

You're having a larf if you think you can do an MA course without sharing your work with fellow students! The feedback from classmates as well as the tutors is the only way the writing is going to be at its best. My only concern about Turnitin will come to the reflective essays I need to write over Christmas, talking about the process of writing the work for each module and, as a blind person, sometimes the challenges will be ones that involve writing and researching without being able to read print books or see how a location looks like in order to describe it. I've written several blog posts and articles in magazines that talk about such matters ... whilst part of me would love to be accused of plagiarising myself, I'll probably try to do my best not to phrase things exactly the way I have before!

Heads and Walls and Banging

I found Turnitin simple-enough to use. I made one error — I put my student number but forgot to include my module code in the title of my submission, but that was rectified by resubmitting the document. My headache came when it came to writing the document.

Every page of the document (mine had a total of 11 pages) needed to have a header with my student number and the document title on ... so i added one and sent it to a sighted person to check it had appeared, along with page numbers in the footer. Apparently it appeared on the first page of the character profiles but nowhere after that! At first there were no page numbers anywhere! Beginning to panic I asked the transcription centre if they were allowed to assist in sorting out my headers and footers, and they said they'd consult the College of Arts and Humanities disability advisor. While I was waiting for that I had another stab at getting it right ...

I removed the headers and footers from the whole document and removed the section breaks that separated the cover sheet, the character profiles, and the plot treatment. I decided to start everything right from the cover sheet at the start, not starting on the character profiles page ... and it worked a treat. Phew.

Poetry Passion

I'm doing probably two open mic readings next week at venues in Swansea. On Monday I will, subject to transportation being arranged, be doing a slot at this event at Cinema and Co. On Thursday I'll be just down the road from there, reading at Tino's on Wind Street (that's Wind pronounced like Wine).

At Cinema & Co. we put on a wide range of events, hoping to entertain you, interest you, tickle, challenge, inform or enchant you.
Be it films, live music, art events or exhibitions, stand-up comedy or mini festivals;
We welcome you!
(from Cinema and Co. website)

While I'm there I might ask them what that semicolon and folowing capital letter think they're doing!

Turning on the #Poetry #Turnitin #Tinos #CinemaAndCo

Published incompetitions and submissionseducationPoetrytechnology


  1. Nell Nelson Nell Nelson

    I found the bit about the headers and footers really interesting. This stuff that a sighted person takes for granted that isn’t automatic…. If there were enough students who couldn’t see, there’d be a student guide to this kind of thing!

  2. Giles Giles

    it’s not that it’s too hard to do as a blind person, but it’s a little fiddlier than for a sighted one! I have Microsoft Word with NVDA, an electronic document sold by my screen reader makers and it is very good at describing how to do things, but it can be tricky to figure out if I’ve followed the instructions correctly and got the result I intend!

    Since one of the outcomes of the MA is to write work that is publishable, making sure that it is formatted correctly — especialy for the screen writing module where a film company / director won’t even look at your script if it doesn’t look the way they expect— the tutors and disability support have limits on how much they can assist xx

  3. I think the frustrating thing for me would be that I couldn’t see if I’d done it right or not without consulting someone else. =) I find it interesting to read about the turnitin site, because, so far as I know, nothing is generally used here that approaches that. What’s the percentage of error on it?

    Congratulations on having two more open mics coming up. What poems will you be doing? For how long?

    The more I think about it, the more I approve of sharing writing with others. Yes, there’s always a risk that someone who has no ideas will snark yours, but there’s also the learning about your own work that comes from others’ comments. On the whole, I prefer to share than not to share. And anyway, I can always come up with another idea, and I believe you can, too!

  4. Giles Giles

    no idea what the mis-detection rate is! But it’s down to the tutor whether they investigate further. If it’s obvious it’s not plagiarising some other poet then they’ll normally just ignore the warning. If it’s more doubtful, such as if I used a poem that was found online, whether by me or by another poet, then that would be inelgible for use in my portfolio.

    Regarding the open mics, probably 5 mins per set. most open mic events work on that kind of basis. Depending on how many people want to read there may be time to do a couple more minutes later in the evening. My plan is to do Silent Nights (not in my pamphlet) plus probably Glad Rags (which is in the pamphlet) … that’ll take about 4 mins. THen if I get more time later I’d do something like Four Walls or Wandering Eyes, plus Dressing Down 🙂 xx

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