Turnitin – FAQ

 

    Questions

  1. What is Turnitin and how does it work?
  2. How can I use Turnitin?
  3. How do I create a Turnitin assignment in my course?
  4. How do my students submit an assignment to Turnitin?
  5. How far in advance should I notify my students that I will be using Turnitin?
  6. Why do I have to inform students of my intention to use Turnitin?
  7. How are papers submitted to Turnitin?
  8. How can I view submitted papers?
  9. What are Originality Reports and how can I view them?
  10. What happens to the papers once they are submitted to Turnitin?
  11. Can Graduate course papers be submitted to Turnitin?
  12. Can Graduate theses be submitted to Turnitin?
  13. What about copyright and intellectual property issues?
  14. If a student is unable to or objects to submitting a paper through Turnitin, what are some of the alternate methods that I can use to check his/her paper as rigorously?
  15. What other features are available in Turnitin?
  16. Can Turnitin review papers in languages other than English?
  17. Can I use Turnitin to check one student paper? Can I upload a student’s paper to Turnitin to check for plagiarism? 

 


1. WHAT IS TURNITIN AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Turnitin is an electronic resource that assists in the detection and deterrence of plagiarism.  Instructors using this tool can create a Turnitin Assignment in their Portal course to which students submit their assignments electronically. Each submitted paper is checked for textual similarity using millions of resources stored in the Turnitin.com database. Once analyzed, originality reports are generated within 5-10 minutes for instructors, highlighting questionable areas.  Instructors can access and view the Originality Report in their Portal course. Using this information as well as any other relevant information, it is then up to the individual instructor to determine if these passages represent plagiarism.

Sometimes in University communications there is reference to “Turnitin” and sometimes to “Turnitin.com”. From an operational perspective these should be treated as synonymous.

All work submitted to Turnitin is checked against three databases of content:

  • A current and archived copy of the publicly accessible Internet (more than 4.5 billion pages updated at a rate of 30-40 million pages per day);
  • Millions of published works (from ABI/Inform, Periodical Abstracts, Business Dateline, ProQuest, the Gutenberg Collection of literary classics, and tens of thousands of electronic books);
  • Millions of student papers submitted to Turnitin since 1996.

 

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2. HOW CAN I USE TURNITIN?
Turnitin is available for use in Portal courses. Instructors using this tool can create Turnitin Assignments in their Portal course to which students submit their assignments electronically. With the integration of Turnitin into the Portal, class and assignment setup on Turnitin.com are no longer required.

 

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3. HOW DO I CREATE A TURNITIN ASSIGNMENT IN MY COURSE?
To create an assignment:

  1. Ensure that Edit Mode is ON.
  2. Click on a Content Area (e.g. Course Materials) in the left-hand course menu.
  3. On the Content Area screen, click Assessments on the menu bar and then select Turnitin.com Assessment from the drop-down menu.
  4. In the Name field, enter an assignment name and click Submit and Launch. Please note: No further changes are required on this page before clicking Submit and Launch.
  5. On the next page, click the Settings More information about each feature in the Settings tab can be obtained by hovering over the question mark symbol.
  6. Enter the Assignment Instructions if desired.
  7. Expand Optional Settings by clicking on it. Here you may choose, for example, to allow students to submit papers after the posted due date (a recommended option).
  8. Click Submit, and the assignment will appear on the Content Area.

 

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4. HOW DO MY STUDENTS SUBMIT AN ASSIGNMENT TO TURNITIN?

Students can submit to a Turnitin assignment by taking the following steps:

  1. Select the appropriate menu item from the Course Menu which contains the Turnitin assignment.
  2. Click on the name of the assignment.
  3. On the Assignment Dashboard click on the name of the assignment once again to display the assignment instructions. Then click on the upload button.
  4. Choose the Submission type.
  5. Enter the Submission title. Click on Select a file to upload to locate and select a file, or Copy & paste the submission into the appropriate text box.
  6. Click Accept submission – save.

 

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5. HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD I NOTIFY MY STUDENTS THAT I WILL BE USING TURNITIN?

Students must be notified at the start of a course. The course syllabus must include the following statement:

“Normally, students will be required to submit their course essays to Turnitin.com for a review of textual similarity and detection of possible plagiarism. In doing so, students will allow their essays to be included as source documents in the Turnitin.com reference database, where they will be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. The terms that apply to the University’s use of the Turnitin.com service are described on the Turnitin.com web site.”

In addition, it is recommended that you also take a few moments in class at the outset of your course to discuss the use of Turnitin and the issue of academic integrity with your students. You may wish to consult U of T’s resources (for faculty, students and TAs) on academic integrity available online at: http://academicintegrity.utoronto.ca/

 

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6. WHY DO I HAVE TO INFORM STUDENTS OF MY INTENTION TO USE TURNITIN?
As part of the licensing agreement with Turnitin.com instructors are required to inform students at the start of a course that this program will be used to check their papers. Further, students should be informed of its use, since their papers are retained in the Turnitin.com database. Note however, that students retain the copyright on their work.

 

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7. HOW ARE PAPERS SUBMITTED TO TURNITIN?

  1. Instructors submit papers for students (not recommended.)
  2. Students submit their own papers (recommended).

Student submissions to Turnitin Assignments are viewable through the Content Area where the assignment is posted.

NOTE: We also recommend that you require your students to provide you with hard copies of the assignments that they submit to Turnitin. Instructors can use the Assignment tool in Blackboard if they would like students to submit an e-copy of their assignment. The Assignment Inline Grading tool can be accessed in the Grade Centre and allows for inline annotations and grading of the submitted files.

 

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8. HOW CAN I VIEW SUBMITTED PAPERS?

Instructors and TAs can view any submitted paper by navigating to the course Content Area where the assignment was posted. Click the assignment’s title to view the list of all the submissions. Simply click on the title of the paper to view the submission.

 

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9. WHAT ARE ORIGINALITY REPORTS AND HOW CAN I VIEW THEM?

For each paper submitted to a Turnitin assignment an Originality Report is generated by Turnitin. The Originality Report highlights textual similarities found within a submitted paper and provides links to sources that contain similar text.

Those wishing to use Turnitin must adhere to the Conditions of Use for the University of Toronto. Originality Reports highlight passages that may be of concern, but do not automatically report whether a paper has been plagiarized. Determining if plagiarism has occurred requires analysis by the instructor. This Originality Report can be viewed side-by-side with the original paper to facilitate comparison.

For information on what constitutes plagiarism at U of T consult the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters http://www.governingcouncil.utoronto.ca/Assets/Governing+Council+Digital+Assets/Policies/PDF/ppjun011995.pdf and/or your department or division.

To view Originality Reports for individual students, navigate to the Content Area where the assignment was posted and click the assignment’s title. A list of all the submissions will then be visible. To view the Originality Report click on the paper’s title or Originality Score.

 

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10. WHAT HAPPENS TO THE PAPERS ONCE THEY ARE SUBMITTED TO TURNITIN?

Submitted papers are stored in the Turnitin.com database but are not the property of Turnitin.com.  Instructors can only access those papers that were directly submitted to their own course. Similarly, students can only access and view the papers that they have submitted through their own account.

 

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11. CAN GRADUATE COURSE PAPERS BE SUBMITTED THROUGH TURNITIN.COM?

The conditions of use for Turnitin.com apply to both undergraduate and graduate course papers.

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12. CAN GRADUATE THESES BE SUBMITTED TO TURNITIN.COM?
Supervisors should ensure that they have the explicit consent of a student before they submit his/her thesis to Turnitin.com.

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13. WHAT ABOUT COPYRIGHT AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ISSUES?

Under Canadian copyright laws students retain the copyright to any papers submitted to Turnitin.  The Turnitin.com system creates digital fingerprints of student papers – which are not “true derivative works for copyright purposes; they contain only uncopyrightable numerical algorithms regarding the papers but not the papers themselves.” (See their Privacy and Copyright document for more information.)

The intellectual property of all students submitting to Turnitin is protected by the licensing agreement between the University of Toronto and iParadigms.  In addition, this agreement ensures that student papers submitted to Turnitin will not be used for commercial purposes.

 

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14. IF A STUDENT IS UNABLE TO OR OBJECTS TO SUBMITTING A PAPER THROUGH TURNITIN.COM, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ALTERNATE METHODS THAT I CAN USE TO CHECK HIS/HER PAPER AS RIGOROUSLY?

There are a number of alternate methods that can be implemented, including:

    • requiring annotated bibliographies from students;
    • requiring students submit all rough work with their papers;
    • requiring that students include the call numbers or web site addresses of all sources cited in their paper.

 

 

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15. WHAT OTHER FEATURES ARE AVAILABLE IN TURNITIN?

Instructors and TAs can view student submissions to Turnitin Assignments and the Originality Reports through the Content Area where the assignment is posted. The original submitted files and the standard PDFs can also be downloaded. In order to download submitted files:

    1. Navigate to the Content Areawhere the assignment was posted and click the assignment’s title.
    2. Click the icon with the arrow pointing down on the right hand side of the screen for the submission you wish to download.
    3. Alternatively, click the Download drop down menu and select Original Files or Standard PDFs, then either Download all or select

 

 

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16. CAN TURNITIN REVIEW PAPERS IN LANGUAGES OTHER THAN ENGLISH?

Turnitin Global now handles text correctly in 31 languages in addition to English:

Arabic, Catalan, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian (Bokmal, Nynorsk), Farsi, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish

This also means Turnitin.com is indexing many additional websites that contain those languages against which we compare submitted papers.

 

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17. CAN I USE TURNITIN TO CHECK ONE STUDENT PAPER? CAN I UPLOAD A STUDENT’S PAPER TO TURNITIN TO CHECK FOR PLAGIARISM?

At U of T, our conditions of use require that students be informed at the outset of the course that the instructor intends to use Turnitin. Our practice is to ask students to submit directly to Turnitin assignment, rather than having instructors submit on behalf of the students. This ensures that students can opt out of using the program – something that we allow for here without penalty.

And so this means, that instructors cannot submit a paper through Turnitin without the student’s knowledge. You can ask your student to submit directly to Turnitin but you cannot require them to do so.

There are a number of methods that can be implemented as an alternative to using Turnitin to check for plagiarism including:

  • requiring annotated bibliographies from students;
  • Requiring students submit all rough work with their papers;
  • Requiring that students include the call numbers or web site addresses of all sources cited in their paper.

 

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