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This FAQ is to support staff with their use of Turnitin plagiarism detection software at UCL. Unless stated otherwise these FAQs relate to the use of Turnitin via UCL Moodle. Please refer your students to the Student Turnitin FAQs page.
Turnitin is a third party tool, hosted externally and integrated with Moodle. It has a number of possible uses in different combinations here at UCL.
Find out more about Turnitin...
Turnitin is most helpful when it is used to streamline assessment procedures, give and receive feedback and support good academic writing. The full benefits of all forms of e-assessment becomes apparent when the process is entirely digitised, without requiring paper copies.
Benefits which Turnitin shares with other forms of e-assessment are:
Benefits specific to Turnitin:
Via Moodle. Staff set up Turnitin Assignments in the appropriate Moodle course area, and give students the necessary guidance about how to use them.
For students a confidential self-check is available in the Moodle area titled 'Plagiarism and Academic Writing'.
See our step-by-step guidance to setting up Turnitin Assignments in your Moodle area.
See separate guidance in conjunction with the relevant sections of Miniguide M09.
This is straightforward - but the important thing is to avoid students' work being checked against itself - this would necessarily yield a very high or 100% match.
So, set up a separate Turnitin Assignment as outlined in the step-by-step instructions above and make sure that in its settings you set Store Student Papers to No Repository.
This means that student submissions
Sometimes departments are tempted to located all Assignment submissions in a single Moodle course area. Below, we attempt to convince you not to do this. This may work well from an administrative point of view, but if we look at this set-up ffrom the markers’, students’ and technology’s point of view, it's a different story.
For the following reasons, Digital Education cannot offer support to departments whose problems arise due to using a single Moodle space for assignments from across the department. We simply do not have sufficient resource to support this practice.
Below is a summary of the reasons.
Digital Education understands the pressures on staff which make it tempting to put all Assignments in one place. But the fact remains - this doesn't work well for markers, students or Moodle. Talk with Digital Education about alternatives which recognise that staff and students need to protect their time and balance competing needs.
Instructor QuickStart: Part 3 from Turnitin on Vimeo.
Read step-by-step instructions on using the originality reports here...
The Similarity Score, expressed as a percentage match, simply indicates the proportion of text in a submission which matches text elsewhere. Detecting similarity is what Turnitin does, but similarity isn't the same thing as plagiarism - similarity can be entirely legitimate. It can reside in quotations, or in the language of a discipline. Work may have a high score because its author lacks confidence or knowledge and has over-quoted as a consequence. Work may have a low score but have used somebody else's idea or phrase without attribution - this becomes an even more significant concern if that idea is central to the work. For these reasons, it's impossible to point to a definitive threshold.
That said, a very high score means that the student's own words and original ideas are proportionally less. The principle of essay writing is that students need to evidence or illustrate their points with well-chosen quotations, but the more of their own ideas, expressed in their own words, they get into their work, the more chance they have to earn credit. The important thing is to ensure that ideas and quotations used are properly referenced in an appropriate academic style, not to aim for a particular similarity score.
You can set up a Turnitin assignment to exclude quotes, or you can filter these out when viewing the submission. However it is important to note that Turnitin will consider quoted material to be anything within double quotation marks only ("), anything within single quotation marks (') will not be considered a quotation. This can cause problems as the Harvard system of referencing, which is commonly used at UCL, requires double quotations for direct speech and single quotations for direct text. This means that a human eye will still be required to check references are accurately given at the end of quoted text, at which point they can then be disregarded. Turnitin is a text matching system based on a computerised algorithm and not a judgement engine, so human interpretations of results are always required regardless of quotes materials.
No, a Similarity Score of 0% does not guarantee originality. Turnitin uses a large database of web sites, books, journal articles and other sources, but does not (and cannot) include everything ever written. Although Turnitin can help with highlighting areas of poor academic practice, it can't substitute for academic knowledge and judgement.
No, all students in the class must use the same submission method to ensure fair treatment.
All papers should be treated equally throughout the submission process.
No, students must be informed of the method of submission. If you wish to run the papers through Turnitin after receiving them from a different submission method then students must be informed. Usually, they are informed of the submission method in the handbook for their module / programme.
Details of what Turnitin checks against.
If you would like to check if a particular book or journal is in the Turnitin database then you can check this on the iThenticate website.
Instructors have the option to allow students the ability to resubmit papers to an assignment and get updated Originality Reports for the newly submitted drafts (e.g. the assignment must be set to “Generate Originality Reports for student submissions: immediately (can overwrite report until due-date).” The report that is immediately generated and provided to the student (i.e. *before* the due date of the assignment) does NOT include matches to other student papers in the SAME assignment. Before the assignment due date passes, the report only includes matches to existing student papers on the Turnitin database, journals and publications, and internet sources. The Originality Report is completely and automatically re-generated for ALL papers in the assignment after the due date has passed, thus comparing papers between students in the *same* class/assignment. This may result in the Similarity Index (percentage), displayed to the student at the time of submission, to be different to that which is displayed after the due date has passed. For example, if a student had collaborated with another student in the same class/assignment, there would be a match between those papers, so the percentage may increase.
If late submissions have been allowed to be made after the due date of the assignment, the late-submitted paper will be added to the database immediately. The report generated for that late submission *will* search every other paper already submitted to the assignment (i.e. the papers submitted on-time). The assignment will *NOT* regenerate reports for the already-submitted papers just because a student submits late. So, the reports for the "submitted-on-time" papers will not consider or include the late-submission in their assessments.
Unfortunately, although tutors and course admins enrolled on a Moodle module site can delete a student's submission from a Turnitin submission portal, if either portal is set up to store submissions for comparison with future submissions, then the similarity report for the second submission of the same paper to a Turnitin portal on a different module site, will include a match to the first submission of this paper.
Only Turnitin can permanently remove items from its repository so that they are not used for future comparisons. Hence, we would need to submit a request to Turnitin for this to be done which could take some time.
For a quick fix, you can simply exclude (i.e. filter out) the student's own submission with which the submission to the correct portal is matched. See Turnitin's guide to excluding sources.
A crafty way of eliminating the high similarity index appearing on one of two submissions of the same paper would be to:
No, work submitted within a single assignment by a particular student will never match another submissions within the same assignment made by the same student. An assignment will only match work by the same student across multiple assignments (unless you have set it up as a draft assignment to not submit work to Turnitin).
Please refer to Turnitins guidance on accepted file formats.
Turnitin only accepts documents containing images if those documents also contains a minimum of 20 words. See Turnitin's guidance to students on File requirements.
As long as students use Word (with Microsoft Equation) to create their documents, Turnitin should have no trouble displaying their assignments. Word is available to all UCL students free of charge via WTS: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/students/windows/wts/access
The maximum file size is 100MB, though tutors may choose to reduce this for an individual assignment. The maximum number of pages is 800 pages and the minimum number of words is 20 words. (See: Turnitin's compatible File types and size).
It may be necessary to compress a document so it is small enough to be uploaded to Turnitin. This is especially true for long documents (such as dissertations) and documents that contain many images.
Saving Word documents to PDF format will often compress the document to a small size, but if your file is still above the maximum upload limit you can follow these instructions to compress the PDF further.
To compress or minimise the file size of large PDF documents:
On a PC:
If you don't already have software to compress PDF documents you can install the following free software and then follow the steps below.
On a Mac:
If you can't add comments to or grade assignments, this is usually caused by the Post date having been reached. The Post Date is the date students receive their feedback and marks and anonymous assignments become un-anonymised.
To mark or add comments you need to change the Post Date to a date in the future:
You should now be able to mark and comment on assignments.
It is now possible to bulk download Turnitin assignments from within Moodle. You can bulk download the original files, PDF versions of the original files and grades (along with the matching scores). You can also download the papers along with the feedback you have provided using Grademark from within Moodle.
If you are trying to download after the post-date:
To download original files, in an anonymous assignment, or before the post-date:
If you would like to download Grademarked papers:
It is possible to bulk download Turnitin assignments with Grademark feedback from within Moodle. Follow these steps to bulk download grademarked assignments:
The individual files will contain any text based feedback you returned to the student via Grademark including Quickmarks, general comments and rubrics.
Because Turnitin assignments are stored in an external system it is recommended that assignments are bulk downloaded at the end of term and securely archived in line with current practice for electronic assignment storage within your department. For undergraduate courses, all submissions made in the course of the academic year will be captured in the Moodle archive. This takes place mid-June. As postgraduate courses have different timetables, not all submissions are captured in archiving process, so we recommend you manually archive your Moodle course to retain submissions, please click here for more information about manual archiving.
The three Turnitin assignment reset options are described here:
Copy Turnitin Assignments (Create Duplicates, New Turnintin Class)
This will create a new Turnitin class and a new assignment within the class for the assignment link in Moodle. The old class and assignment will remain associated with the Moodle editors' Turnitin accounts, so can still be referred to in future via Turnitin and the Moodle archive. This is the most appropriate option for a new cohort of students (e.g. a new class).
Replace Turnitin Assignments (Replace Assignment Parts, Reuse Turnitin Class)
This will add a new assignment in the same Turnitin® class and removes the pre reset assignment from view in the class. This option does not create a new class, so the students from the previous year would have access to this new assignment.
Leave Turnitin Assignments Untouched
This will leave the assignment link in its current state and not remove any associated users. This would mean that when students are removed from the Moodle course during a reset their submissions in the Turnitin® assignment will still be displayed as non enrolled users, hence not really resetting the course properly. You will need express permissions from students to retain their work in this manner.
Turnitin allows an instructor from another university or institution to make a paper view request. This happens when similarities have been found in text with a submission made at our institution.
When an tutor receives one of these requests, they can choose reply to the email, which would give the 'requesting' instructor a copy of the matching paper. But they are not required to reply. They can just ignore the request if they choose.
If the tutor replies to the email, the 'requesting' instructor will only get a copy of the matching paper. They receive no other information regarding the student or the instructor. More information regarding paper requests can be found on the Turnitin guide Managing paper requests.
There is no way to double blind mark using GradeMark in Turnitin. One way to double mark using GradeMark is to put initials such as M1 and M2 next to comments made by each marker. However, this is not blind as the markers will be able to see the previous markers comments. Students will be able to see these comments when their marks are released, unless they are deleted first.
The submission inbox can take time to load as it has to synchronise data with the Turnitin servers and check all of the originality reports. This is a particular problem when there’s a high number of students enrolled on a Moodle course. There are two ways to reduce the loading time, either preventing the submission inbox from auto refreshing or setting up multiple inboxes.
To prevent the submission inbox from automatically refreshing each time you enter it, go into the Turnitin assignment and then click the ‘Options’ tab (located next to the Submission Inbox tab). Located the ‘Auto refresh Grade/ Score’ setting, and from the drop down menu (which should be set to ‘Yes, automatically refresh originality scores and grades’ by default) select ‘No, I will refresh originality score and grades manually’. Once you have done this you should click ‘Save Changes’.
NB This will change the setting for the submission inbox for everyone using it. Make sure that other tutors/ administrators know to click ‘Refresh Table’ at the top of the submission table to refresh the grades/ originality reports.
If you set up multiple inboxes then ensure there are no more than 100 students submitting to one submission inbox. You will also need to set up a new Turnitin assignment for each inbox, and clicking the duplicate button will simply produce multiple links to the same inbox.
Windows 8 is currently unsupported by Turnitin. Advice to users is to use Internet Explorer in conjunction with Windows 8 for best performance.
Firefox and Chrome do not allow the marker to select text to make comments.
This may be due to one of the reasons below:
1. Every Turnitin class (moodle course with Turnitin assignments) has an end date. This is usually 6 months after the Post date of the latest assignment in the Moodle course. When the end date is reached, the assignments on the course expire and are limited to read-only access. Student’s and Tutors will still be able to view assignments however they will no longer be able to submit papers, peer reviews or mark any of the papers using GradeMark.
2. UCL is nearing its student limit and requires to ‘free up’ user accounts. We will always communicate details about this.
There are two ways of doing this depending on the Post date of the assignment you wish to make active.
• If the Post date has passed and anonymity of the assignments has been lifted follow Method 1 below
• If anonymity has to be maintained follow Method 2
1. Login to Moodle
2. Navigate to the relevant Moodle course
3. Open the relevant Turnitin assignment on the course
4. Edit the Post Date to a date in the future. This will cause the class end date to be extended so the class becomes active again. You should then switch back to the original Post date.
Create a new Turnitin assignment on your Moodle course and then delete it immediately. This will make active all the assignments on that Moodle course.
If you get the following error when you try to bulk download assignments from Moodle, you are probably not specified as a Turnitin tutor for that Moodle course.
The user does not have the specified role in the class.
To add yourself as a Turnitin tutor for assignments on a particular Moodle course:
You should now be able to bulk download Turnitin assignments.
This is a known issue with Internet Explorer 8 with no available workaround. Please use Firefox instead or upgrade to Internet Explorer 9.
If you restore a backup containing Turnitin assignments or import them from a Moodle course you will see the following warning message:
Duplicate copies of the same Turnitin assignments were found, duplicates occur when one or more Moodle Direct assignment is connected to the same one Turnitin assignment via the Turnitin API. This is known to cause issues, most notably submissions made to one of the duplicates will show up in the submission inbox of the others. To fix this you should either delete the duplicate assignments or reset the course where the duplicate assignments are.
The following duplicates were found:
To fix this you need to either:
You will notice that the yellow pencil icon will have changed to a blue pencil indicating that GradeMark is now being used.
The new Turnitin 2 document viewer is not compatible with older versions of Internet Explorer. Use a more recent version of IE8+ or use Firefox instead.
Sometimes students may not name their submission title correctly (forgetting their candidate number, or including their name for anonymous assignments).
When they next upload their assignment they can rename it (providing this is done before the due date).
Turnitin will only display the new assignment title when the next report is generated. As Turnitin will only generate a new report every 24 hours, it may take up to 24 hours for the new assignment title to display.
It is possible on occasion, normally due to an error with Turnitin, that assignments within an inbox can appear in duplicate. In this case DO NOT delete either assignment as this will in fact delete both the duplicate and the original. The assignment is not actually duplicated, it simply is displayed as such. To rectify the issue you should display all of the assignments, then filtered by the paper ID. Next scroll down the list looking for duplicates (comparing the final number can be a good way to do this). When you find the duplicate, refresh that assignment by clicking on the refresh icon to the right of it. This will rectify the issue and you should see the number of submitted assignments decrease.
There is currently a bug which will not allow you to access submissions this way. Please click on the title of the submission in the inbox, this will load the paper correctly.
If a tutor clicks on the grade pencil icon next to a student's name in a Turnitin inbox when they haven't submitted anything, the student receives an email 'digital receipt' with paper ID. Turnitin are aware of this issue and the Digital Education Services team have asked them to resolve it.
Turnitin requires there to be at least 20 words submitted, so if students need to submit scanned work or images you should provide a coversheet containing at least 20 words that students can attach to the start of their scanned PDFs. In order to merge these in to one document students on a PC can use PDFMerge and students on a Mac can use the pre-installed Mac Preview . If you are using Desktop@UCL see: How to merge PDF documents. Note. scanned work or images cannot currently be checked for plagiarism by Turnitin.
Please clear your browser's cache, this should remedy the problem.
Your Turnitin inbox has a 'Notify Non-Submitters' link, which will send an email to all students yet to submit. This may work best when you allow submissions after the Due Date.
However, sometimes it's hard to reach students with email, and for pastoral outreach to happen a member of staff may need to find out who those students are.
Note. Course Administrators and Tutors should try to avoid submitting on behalf of a student.
If the assignment is anonymous, a Course Administrator who is not directly involved in marking the student's submission can request the Turnitin Paper ID number and the submission file from the student. The Turnitin Paper ID appears on the assignment upload page to the student. The Course Administrator can then:
If the assignment is not anonymous:
UCL recommend using Turnitin via Moodle, rather than directly, as it is the easiest way to enable multiple staff to access an assignment.
Note: UCL support staff are unable to support direct access to Turnitin.
The student wiki provides guidance for how students submit.
To view Turnitin assignment grades and feedback via Moodle students need to follow these steps:
Ensure you setup the assignment to accept multiple submissions and generate multiple reports by setting Report Generation Speed to Generate reports immediately, reports can be overwritten until due date.
In the past, students had to delete old submissions before resubmitting. With the new version of the Turnitin plugin they now just upload over the top of their old submission instead.
NOTE: Once the due date has passed, students will not be able to resubmit. Only those students who have submitted nothing will be able to submit, assuming you have enabled late submissions in the settings. To allow a student to resubmit after the due date, you will need to delete their existing submission first using the delete (rubbish bin) icon and they can then upload another file.
No, there is no automatic notification. If you set the Post Date to the expected Post Date, and stick to that, then students will know (from the Turnitin Assignment's landing page aka Summary) when to check back. Otherwise, tutors can always send a News Forum post saying ‘Your marks are now available to view’.
When an instructor receives an email like that, they are receiving a 'Paper View Request' from another instructor who is also using Turnitin.
When a paper is submitted to Turnitin by a student, only that student, and the instructor of the course where the paper was submitted have direct access to that paper. That is part of the Security and Privacy policies that have been set up.
In this case, Iram Sohail, an instructor from Pakistan, has a report for one of their students showing a match to a paper that was uploaded to one of Sanaz Zolghadriha's courses.
When an instructor receives one of these requests, they can choose reply to the email, which would give the 'requesting' instructor a copy of the matching paper. But they are not required to reply. They can just ignore the request if they choose. According to the Product Managers here at Turnitin, we leave that decision to the Instructor who received the request.
If the instructor replies to the email, the 'requesting' instructor will only get a copy of the matching paper. They receive no other information regarding the student or the instructor.
Sometimes we have Instructors who always reply to the emails to help out the 'requesting' Instructor, while other times we have Instructors who will just ignore these requests. We also have some schools that dictate to their Instructors what to do with these requests. Basically, we leave the decision to the Instructor and the school.