What is Turnitin?
Turnitin is an internet-based originality checking and plagiarism prevention service that allows instructors to verify the originality of text. Turnitin’s service compares text submitted by students with sources available on the web, and with materials archived in Turnitin’s databases. It can be enabled within an Assignment Submission Folder in TCU Online, or used as a stand-alone tool through Turnitin.com.
Regardless of whether you are using the integrated service, or a stand-alone account, Turnitin produces an originality report for students’ text submissions. The report provides the instructor with the entire student submission, highlights areas of concern, and then lists potential outside sources for these areas. Originality reports are usually issued within 48 hours. There is no cost to faculty or students when using Turnitin and no software download is required.
Turnitin has compiled a massive database of digital material by continuously cataloging and indexing online academic works. A complement to these internet data-mining capabilities is Turnitin’s large repository: past papers from participating courses worldwide are indexed and stored in Turnitin’s database to be used in comparison with future paper submissions.
Instructors can opt to have student work added to the Turnitin repository. This builds the Turnitin repository, creating a record of submissions in response to the instructor’s specific assignment. These additions make it more difficult for future students to use identical content from past papers. Once in the Turnitin repository, student work will not be released without instructor permission.
How can Turnitin increase student-centered active learning and engagement?
When students complete writing assignments on their own, they are actively processing and evaluating course content. Using Turnitin’s originality checking service as an instructional tool helps students build writing confidence and improve writing practices by taking ownership of their work, and learning and practicing proper citation. Students are thus encouraged to engage with course content and produce written work within the structure provided by academic norms. TCU’s Turnitin license also includes the bundled PeerMark and GradeMark feedback tools. Our staff does not provide specific training for these tools, but you are welcome to use them to provide actionable feedback to improve student writing in your course. Further information about each tool is available.
To use Turnitin as an integrated service* within your TCU Online course shell:
- Set-up an Assignment Submission Folder and enable Turnitin integration within TCU Online.
- View originality reports for each student submission within the Assignment Submission Folder.
*No additional faculty or student accounts are required to use Turnitin within TCU Online.
To use Turnitin as a stand-alone account via the Turnitin website:
- Complete this form to request a stand-alone account.
- When you receive your account info, login to Turnitin.com.
- Review the Quick Start Guide to create classes attached to your Turnitin account.
- In order for students to submit papers, they will need to register online and join your class. Students register either by using a class code you share with them or by following directions on the enrollment email that Turnitin will send if you have entered or uploaded student email addresses on the website.
Turnitin has the capacity to accept text submissions of up to 10 MB (approximately a book-length amount of digital material).
Turnitin functions well with both Macs and PCs and across a wide variety of Internet browsers. For users accessing Turnitin via TCU Online, the detailed platform requirements and mobile information will apply. For users accessing Turnitin via the website, Turnitin website technical specifications are also available.
For additional information regarding Turnitin’s accessibility, view Turnitin’s Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates and resources list.
Teaching with Turnitin
Turnitin is best utilized as a teaching tool to educate students about plagiarism, and to help them learn and practice proper citation.
To teach students about how Turnitin works, you may choose to show students a sample Turnitin originality report. To teach students about plagiarism and let them practice properly citing sources, you can adjust the Turnitin settings for a particular assignment to allow students to submit a limited (or unlimited) number of drafts and receive similarity scores. They can then revise areas of concern. Once the final paper has been submitted through either a TCU Online Assignment Submission Folder, or to the Turnitin website, Turnitin will generate an originality report. The report provides a similarity score denoting the amount of material in the paper that Turnitin found elsewhere.
As the instructor, it is important to review the full originality report and not rely on the summary score alone, as some similarities may be based on a famous quote, a lengthy discipline-specific term or text, a publically available graphic or image, or other innocuous content.
Before students begin an assignment that uses Turnitin, you will want to clarify expectations about academic integrity. The TCU policy on academic integrity can be found in the student handbook. The TCU Library also provides information about citation tools and guidelines for various citation formats.
Your syllabus should contain the TCU policy on academic integrity. If you are using Turnitin, or wish to reserve the option to use Turnitin at some point during the term, you will want to add Turnitin information to your syllabus. The academic misconduct section of the Koehler Center syllabus template enumerates the TCU academic integrity policy and has sample Turnitin language.
If you are using Turnitin as a stand-alone tool via the website, you might add information about the proper registration protocol. See the sample student information handout for using the website. Note that you will want to edit this handout to include your course name and Turnitin class code.
Interested in learning more?
For assistance with Turnitin, consult Turnitin’s FAQ Solutions as needed.
- For instructors who will use Turnitin as an integrated product with TCU Online, additional Turnitin integration information is available concerning:
- For instructors who will use Turnitin as a stand-alone tool via the website, additional Turnitin website videos are available concerning
The Koehler Center staff members are also able to assist with Turnitin use. Please send an email to email@example.com with a description of your issue and we will be happy to help you.
In order for a student to have access to Turnitin, you will need to have a faculty member setup a course and provide you with the course number and password in Turnitin. You then can “join” the class in turnitin and submit your assignment.
- Student Quick Start Guide
- Feedback Studio Support (using TurnItIn from turnitin.com)
While a Similarity Report is generating, the Similarity Report icon will appear in gray. Please note while Similarity Reports for a student’s initial submission to an assignment will generate within ten minutes of the submission, Similarity Reports for resubmissions to an assignment can take up to 24 hours to generate.
Need help with turnitin? Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a description of your issue and we will be happy to help you.