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Keywords: assessment, feedback, grading, marking, plagiarism, referencing, reference. 



What is it?

Turnitin, used via Moodle, is a platform for setting, receiving, marking and giving feedback on assessments. Turnitin accepts a range of media. For text submissions it can be set to generate an Originality Report which highlights matches with other sources.

Turnitin allows original and marked submissions to be downloaded for printing or storage, however marking occurs online, unless you are using an iPad, which enables offline marking. Each submission is private between that student, their marker(s), and staff in the Moodle space.

Moodle Assignment allows you to do many of the same things as Turnitin. One exception is the Originality Report - however, all students have  access to a confidential check on Moodle and so may generate their own Originality Report.

Why use it?

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To summarise the video, Turnitin enables markers to give many kinds of feedback, including:

  • Inline 'bubble' comments;
  • Quickmarks - frequently-made comments which markers decide to store for future use;
  • Rubrics - a matrix of criteria and levels of achievement, optionally with numeric marks attached.
  • Marking guide - criteria each of which receives its own, optionally weighted numeric mark, along with optional typed feedback;
  • The option to link any comment to a criterion;
  • Typing directly onto the submission, for emphasis.
  • Summary feedback;
  • Spoken, audio summary feedback.

Turnitin's Originality Report highlights matches which can shed light on students' quoting, paraphrasing and referencing practices.

Turnitin allows blind marking, lifting student anonymity on the Post Date i.e. the date marks and feedback are released to enable conversations.

Who can use it?

Staff can set up assessments, generate and view Originality Reports, see, give marks and feedback, download submissions, and export marks and summary feedback.

Students can view and interact with feedback, download their marked work, and optionally view Originality reports. What students can do, and when, depends on settings chosen by staff.

Before I start...

  • Set up some Test Student Accounts so that you can try out your assignment from a student point of view. Only this will allow you to anticipate what instructions students will need, and where they should be displayed.
  • Consider the kinds of feedback you will give. If you have a Quickmark Set or Rubric you are expected to use, ensure you have access to that. 
  • Organise a hands-on demonstration session for any other colleagues who will be using Turnitin in the way you anticipate, but are unfamiliar with Turnitin (students are sensitive to inconsistencies of marking approach).
  • Think about the instructions you will give students, including about engaging with their feedback.
  • Have the agreed dates for deadlines and release of marks to hand.
  • If you are marking anonymously and need to keep copies of still-anonymous submissions e.g. for External Examiner use later, then write a diary note to download these before anonymity is lifted when marks are released.

How do I set one up?

  1. To add a Turnitin assignment to your course, Turn editing on, then click on the Add an activity or resource link and select Assignment (Turnitin).
  2. Enter a Turnitin Assignment Name and Summary (use for brief instructions - displays at the top of the Assignment page).
  3. Some settings we'd particularly like to flag up:
    • Anonymous Marking - Student names will be anonymised until the post date and can only be de-anonymised individually and by providing a reason. Once a submission is made, anonymous marking cannot be disabled.
    • Originality Report Options > Store Student Papers :

      • Standard Repository: student papers submitted to this assignment are stored in Turnitin and checked against other students' submissions within this assignment, as well as other sources.

      • No repository - (not stored in Turnitin, for drafts/testing): student papers are checked against other sources, but not against other submissions to this assignment and the paper is not stored in Turnitin. Use this for testing Turnitin and for drafts, so other  (standard repository) submissions won't be matched to it.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save and display.


  • Students need guidance to find any feedback you give using a Rubric. Let them know it exists and where to find it.
  • The percentage match on the Originality Report cannot be used as any indicator of plagiarism.
  • If you have a large cohort and wish to divide it into manageable marking loads, set up these groups on Moodle first (and include the marker in the group).
  • Ensure both colleagues and students know what to do in Turnitin.
  • Turnitin is currently oriented towards single markers. Digital Education can suggest some workflows to manage multiple markers. For example, if you need to keep submissions anonymous for some roles e.g. external examiners but not for others e.g. markers meeting with students, then somebody needs to log into before the marks are released, and bulk export the submissions in their original anonymised state.
  • Turnitin's word count may be different from that of the original word-processed document, and different again from a PDF export of that original.
  • Students may not generate more than one Originality Report in each 24 hour period; this is to promote engagement with the reports and avoid gaming.
  • To orientate Turnitin to development rather than policing, support students to engage with their Originality Report before making their final submission. 
  • Avoid creating Turnitin Assignments by duplicating existing ones, since the new instance will be linked to the inbox of the original instance.
  • iPad users, be aware that because syncing overwrites data, multiple markers need to coordinate with extreme caution. ISD is unable to offer technical support for the iPad app.
  • Turnitin only recognises quotations within double quotation marks i.e. not inverted commas. This may inflate the percentage match. 
  • Peer marking is possible, although not necessarily recommended due to some outstanding functionality issues (see separate guidance) - staff configure how work should be allocated and set up questions for student markers to answer.

Examples and case studies

Helping students to understand plagiarism.

Questions & Answers

See Staff Turnitin FAQs.

Further information

Also see our related guides: