Supplied to UCL by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), Turnitin is an online tool used for deterring and detecting plagiarism.
It works by scanning students' work against a large database of websites, books, journals and previously submitted papers. It then establishes matches in students' work by producing a similarity score and an originality report.
- A similarity score identifies how much of the submitted work Turnitin can identify as being matched to another source
- An originality report identifies each match in more detail and allows a more thorough investigation of the original source.
The score and report provide valuable guidance in considering whether work has been plagiarised, although plagiarism remains an academic decision. This feedback process supports students in developing their own knowledge about plagiarism and referencing as well as their wider academic writing skills.
You can introduce Turnitin assignments within Moodle, where students can submit their work and view their submissions and reports.
In order to comply with data protection legislation, it is important to obtain students' consent before submitting their work to Turnitin. They should also be fully briefed about plagiarism and on the method of assignment submission being employed. Examples of assignment submission workflow could include:
- Students submit work through Turnitin and in hard copy for traditional marking and feedback
- Students submit work only through Turnitin and not in hard copy. The assignments may be printed out for marking and feedback or this may be done online.
To ensure fairness, you should either put all student work on a particular assignment through Turnitin or none at all. Submitting selected pieces of work to Turnitin cannot be allowed as this could be construed as discrimination.
Students' consent should also be provided if you are storing their work in the Turnitin database for future checks. If Moodle is being used for assignment submission then students will be asked to confirm acceptance of this before their work is submitted.
Resources and support
A range of Turnitin miniguides are available on the UCL wiki
Contact and training
To find out more, book onto the Deterring and detecting plagiarism with Turnitin course, which is run by E-Learning Environments (ELE).
For help and support, contact ELE.