Turnitin Instructor Guide

Turnitin is a plagiarism-prevention tool that helps you check the originality of student writing. You can also use Turnitin to provide marks and detailed feedback for each student, as well as re-use common feedback across multiple student submissions.

Cost Yes Free
Bandwidth Yes Low demand
Canvas Integration No None
Privacy Yes Turnitin is FIPPA compliant, if you abide by guidance as noted below.
Similar UBC-Supported Tools (none)

What can I use it for?

You can use Turnitin to collect and review student assignments:

  • Compare the text of student writing against Turnitin’s sources, to look for potential plagiarism
  • Check for improper citations in student work
  • Add marks and feedback to student work

What to know about Turnitin

Turnitin is FIPPA-compliant, if you take proper steps to protect students’ personal information. Please provide the following information to your students:

  • In this course, you will be using Turnitin, which is a tool to help review your written work. When creating an account in the tool, you will be asked to provide personally identifying information. Because this tool is hosted on servers in the U.S. and not in Canada, by creating an account you will also be consenting to the storage of your information in the U.S. Please know you are not required to consent to sharing this personal information with the tool, if you are uncomfortable doing so. If you choose not to provide consent, you may create an account using a nickname and a non-identifying email address, then let your instructor know what alias you are using in the tool.

What do I need to use Turnitin?

A supported web browser

Turnitin runs in your web browser and supports using Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari. For which versions work, check the Turnitin supported browsers.

A UBC Turnitin account

You will need to request an instructor Turnitin account from us at the LT Hub, as outlined in the instructions below.

If you have previously created a Turnitin account, you can log in directly to turnitin.com.

Tips

  • You can reset your Turnitin password, if you have an account but have forgotten the login details.
  • Students will be able to create Turnitin accounts themselves, once you set up a Turnitin class. They will not need to request accounts from the LT Hub.

How do I use Turnitin?

After creating your Turnitin account, you will first create a Turnitin class, then enrol students and collect assignments for your course.

Click any bar below for instructions and tips for using Turnitin.

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Request and set up a Turnitin account

  1. To use Turnitin for the first time as an instructor, you will need to request an account from us in the LT Hub.
  2. After your account is created, you will receive an email from Turnitin. It will contain a link to set up your account using your email address and last name.
  3. To finish setting up your account, you will receive a second email with a link to set up your password. Note that your password must be at least eight characters long.
  4. Finally, you will need to set a security question.
  5. After you receive an email that your account setup is complete, you will be able to log in to Turnitin from turnitin.com.

Create your Turnitin class

Get started with Turnitin by creating a class. Then you can add students and assignments to it.

  1. Log in to Turnitin at turnitin.com.
  2. Click Add Class.
  3. Enter the required information (marked with a red asterisk) to create a new class, including the following:
    • Class type - There are two types of classes in Turnitin: standard and master. The main difference is that master lets you create sections for the class. If you need to provide a teaching assistant (TA) or a co-instructor access to your course, please choose "Master".
    • Enrollment key - Fill in this field with a code you will give your students to verify that they can enrol.
    • Class end date - Once this date has passed, students can no longer enrol in the class or submit assignments. The default end date for classes is six months from the start, but you can extend the end date at any time.
  4. Click Submit to add your class.
  5. You will see a pop-up window with your class ID and enrollment key. Copy these down so you can share them with students later, then click Continue.
  6. If your class is a master type and you want to add sections, follow the steps to create a new section for your class.
    • Turnitin will need your TA's information for this process. Please note that only one TA can be assigned per section.

Tips

  • You can change the class type at any time, without affecting enrollment or student submissions. Learn how to convert from standard to master and convert from master to standard on Turnitin's website.
  • If you miss copying down the class ID or enrollment key, you can still find this information later. The class ID is listed next to the course name on the Turnitin homepage. Clicking to edit the course from the homepage will let you view and edit the enrollment key.
  • Be careful how and where you share your class ID and enrollment key with students. Anyone with this information will be able to join your Turnitin class.

Manage enrollments in your Turnitin class

Although you can enrol students yourself in Turnitin, we recommend that you let students self-enrol instead. Self-enrollment allows students to decide how they want to share their personal information with the tool.

Note that, to ensure your use of Turnitin complies with FIPPA, students must also be notified about Turnitin data storage and offered an option to use a pseudonym. This step is included in the process below.

  1. Before you invite students to self-enrol, please provide the following information to them:
    • In this course, you will be using Turnitin, which is a tool to help review your written work. When creating an account in the tool, you will be asked to provide personally identifying information. Because this tool is hosted on servers in the U.S. and not in Canada, by creating an account you will also be consenting to the storage of your information in the U.S. Please know you are not required to consent to sharing this personal information with the tool, if you are uncomfortable doing so. If you choose not to provide consent, you may create an account using a nickname and a non-identifying email address, then let your instructor know what alias you are using in the tool.
  2. You will need to share the class ID and enrollment key with students, in order for them to self-enrol.
    • If you missed copying down the class ID or enrollment key earlier, you can still find this information by logging in to Turnitin at turnitin.com. The class ID is listed next to the course name on the Turnitin homepage. Clicking to edit the course from the homepage will let you view and edit the enrollment key.
  3. Share the class ID and enrollment key with your students, and provide them instructions on how to use these. We recommend the copy below:
    • If you have not used Turnitin before, please create a student account and enter the class ID and enrollment key in the form provided. Keep in mind that you are allowed to use an alias in creating your account, so long as you tell your instructor what alias you choose.
    • If you have used Turnitin before, log in to turnitin.com. Click Enroll in a Class at the top of the student homepage, enter the class ID and enrollment key in the form provided, and click Submit.
  4. As part of complying with FIPPA, make sure you as an instructor understand how to document your FIPPA-compliancy process.
  1. Log in to Turnitin at turnitin.com and click the name of the class.
  2. Click the Students tab.
  3. Find the student's name. Click the trash can icon to drop the student from the class.

Tips

  • You can change the enrollment key even after the students have enrolled. Doing so will not affect the currently enrolled students.
  • Dropped students cannot re-add themselves to the class, but you can manually re-add them. From the Turnitin dashboard, click the name of the class, then access the "Students" tab. Follow the instructions there to add students, keeping in mind the following:
    • To restore access to their previous submissions, make sure you use the same email address that the students did.
    • To protect their privacy, also ensure you use the same name or alias that they did.

Set up an assignment in your Turnitin class

In Turnitin, you can collect written work that can automatically be reviewed by Turnitin for potential plagiarism.

  1. Log in to Turnitin at turnitin.com and click the name of the class.
  2. Click New Assignment.
    • If this assignment is not your first assignment in the course, you will be prompted to select your assignment type, then click Next Step. Please choose "Paper Assignment". The "PeerMark Assignment" is not recommended for use at UBC.
  3. Enter the assignment name and select the start date, due date, and post date. The post date is when your marks and feedback are released to the students. Optionally, you can insert a point value for the assignment.
  4. Click Optional settings. Optional settings include adding instructions, allowing late submissions, and customizing how the initial check for potential plagiarism will be run. These plagiarism-checking settings are under the "Similarity Report" heading:
    • Generate Similarity Reports for submissions? - Select "Yes" to have the initial report run.
    • Generate Similarity Reports for student submission? - Select when you would like the initial report generated: a) immediately upon submission and the student cannot resubmit, b) immediately upon submission and the student can resubmit (and a new report will be generated), or c) after the due date of the assignment.
    • Exclude bibliographic materials from Similarity Index for all papers in this assignment? - Select if you want to exclude the text that appears in the bibliography, works cited, or references sections of student submissions.
    • Exclude quoted materials from Similarity Index for all papers in this assignment? - Select if you want to exclude text that appears within quotes in the student submissions.
  5. Click Submit to create the assignment. Students will be able to submit work during the start and due dates that you set.

Tips

  • After submitting, you can still change the assignment settings and dates. From the "Assignments" dashboard of the class, click "More actions", then select "Edit settings" for the assignment.
  • Some similarity report settings can be adjusted outside of these assignment settings. You can make these adjustments when you view the similarity report. Details on viewing the report are provided in the next two accordion sections.

Check for plagiarism in a Turnitin assignment

In Turnitin, you check for plagiarism by running what's called a similarity report. Similarity reports tell you the outcome of comparing the text of the student submission against Turnitin's sources. These reports are initially run on each student submission according to the preferences you set in the assignment settings, but they can be adjusted and run again at any time.

  1. Once students have submitted assignments, log in to Turnitin at turnitin.com and click the name of the class.
  2. From the "Assignments" dashboard of the class, click View next to the assignment you wish to review.
  3. Click the title of any individual student assignment to launch the Feedback Studio. The Feedback Studio allows you to view and run similarity reports, as well as add marks and feedback to the submission.
  4. In the Feedback Studio, you will see a toolbar on the right-hand side of the assignment. The red part of the menu relates to the similarity report. Each icon corresponds to a different piece of information from the report:
    • Flags for Review - The first number icon in the toolbar will flag any inconsistencies that the Turnitin algorithm has found in this submission, compared to other submissions. A flag does not necessarily mean a problem, but rather a specific area you should review.
    • Match Overview - The second number icon in the toolbar will report the percentage of the document where the text was very similar or a match to other Turnitin sources. Again, a higher number here does not necessarily indicate a problem. How much text you can expect to match will depend on the report settings you've selected (i.e., what text you include or exclude) and the particulars of your assignment.
    • All Sources - The third icon in the toolbar will show where any matches were found, such as in websites, student papers, or published articles. You can use this interface to exclude sources from the report, if you decide they are not problematic.
    • Filters and Settings - The fourth icon in the toolbar will let you adjust some of the similarity report settings, overriding the defaults that you set for the assignment as a whole. When you are ready to run the report again, click New Report here.
    • Excluded Sources - The final icon in the toolbar will show you any sources you've chosen to exclude from the report using the "All Sources" interface. You can restore any sources here to add them back to the report.
  5. When you are finished reviewing the report for this submission, you can click the arrow icon in the top right corner to advance to the next submission.

Tips

  • Remember that it's up to you and your teaching team to decide what is or is not plagiarism. The Turnitin tool provides an automated report to guide your review, but its algorithms only highlight potentially problematic content. You will need to verify if the highlighted text constitutes actual misconduct, based on context.
  • Teaching assistants can also review similarity reports for the sections to which they are assigned. Follow the steps to create a new section for your class, which will include adding a TA to the section.
  • In the Feedback Studio, you can click the question mark icon in the top right corner for shortcuts to Turnitin help. Learn more about similarity reports and grading options from there. Grading options are also covered in the next accordion section.
  • You can submit on behalf of your students for a Turnitin assignment. This option includes uploading a zip file of all submissions (up to 200MB and containing up to 1000 individual files).
  • You can also use Turnitin to check work that is not associated with a specific class or assignment. Enable this option by activating the quick submit feature.

Grade a Turnitin assignment

You can mark and provide feedback on student submissions directly in Turnitin. However, no grades are sent from Turnitin to Canvas, as no integration is available at this time.

  1. Once students have submitted assignments, log in to Turnitin at turnitin.com and click the name of the class.
  2. From the "Assignments" dashboard of the class, click View next to the assignment you wish to review.
  3. Click the title of any individual student assignment to launch the Feedback Studio. The Feedback Studio allows you to add marks and feedback to the submission, as well as view and run similarity reports.
  4. To enter a mark overall, enter a number in the box at the top of the assignment. It will save automatically.
  5. To directly annotate the submission, highlight any part of the document. A menu will pop up with options for adding QuickMarks (reusable feedback), comments, and strike-throughs.
  6. You will also see a toolbar on the right-hand side of the assignment. The blue part of the menu relates to the instructor feedback options. Each icon corresponds to a grading option:
    • QuickMarks - The first icon in the toolbar gives you access to reusable feedback. Explore and apply options from the existing libraries, or build your own by adding comments as you write them to the QuickMarks library.
    • Feedback Summary - The second icon in the toolbar will let you summarize your overall feedback for the student in audio or text.
    • Rubric - The third icon in the toolbar will let you add specific marking schemes to the submission. Click the cog icon at the top right of the panel to explore and apply rubrics and grading forms from existing libraries, or build your own.
  7. When you are finished reviewing the report for this submission, you can click the arrow icon in the top right corner to advance to the next submission.

Tips

Turnitin FAQ

Find UBC-specific answers to frequently asked questions by clicking any bar below.

FIPPA requires that all personally identifiable information about your students remain in Canada, to protect students’ privacy and identities. But for pedagogical reasons, you may in some instances want to use learning technologies such as Turnitin that are hosted outside of Canada.

The UBC Office of the University Counsel specifies that, if use of a non-Canadian-hosted technology is required for a course, to comply with FIPPA you must seek consent from students and allow use of an alias for those who opt out.

Yes, teaching assistants can also review similarity reports for the sections to which they are assigned. Follow the steps to create a new section for your class, which will include adding a TA to the section.

Note that you will have to set your Turnitin class type to "Master" to create sections. If you initially set the class type to "Standard", you can convert from standard to master.

Yes, you can use Turnitin to check work that is not associated with a specific class or assignment. Enable this option by activating the quick submit feature.

Yes, you can submit on behalf of your students:

  1. In Turnitin, from the dashboard for the class or class section, click More actions and select Submit.
  2. At the top of the page, select the submission type from the "Submit" dropdown.
  3. Select the student you are submitting for and upload or paste in the assignment.
  4. Click Upload, then click Confirm.

Please note that if you upload on the behalf of a student who is not enrolled in the course, they will not be able to see their submission or any marks or feedback you provide on it.

Unless you change the default assignment setting, student submissions to your assignments are saved to the Turnitin standard paper repository database. The benefit of saving to the database is that, if the work or parts of it are submitted again, Turnitin will flag this as potential plagiarism.

If such a flag happens on a new student submission, know that the original student submission will not be accessible to any instructors or TAs from other classes or institutions. In other words, if a student submits an assignment in your class in Term 1 and another student submits this same assignment in another instructor's class in Term 2, the Term 2 instructor won't be able to see the first student's assignment. The Term 2 instructor will only see that a match was found by Turnitin.

Where can I get more support with Turnitin?

Technical support

If you have trouble with Turnitin:

Learn more


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