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This guide is for staff using the Turnitin iPad App to mark students' work in Turnitin.


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.

On this page:

First things first: caveats and notices

The public-spirited University of Northampton have posted on an instance of data loss. In short:

  • Lack of internet connectivity may result in the app refusing to sync papers.
  • Changing the iPad settings (moving from ‘TurnitinUK’ to ‘Turnitin’) will irretrievably destroy any local data stored on the iPad.
  • It's important to sync as often as possible.

It is recommended that you disable Auto-lock so that it does not interfere with syncing your ipad with Turnitin. 

When you use the Turnitin iPad app you bypass Moodle entirely; your iPad connects directly to Turnitin server and vice versa,

What Turnitin refers to as 'syncing' doesn't merge - it overwrites that entire submission inbox. Read on for examples of how this could affect you.

  • More than one marker for an essay? See guidance further down the page. Syncing from the app actually overwrites any existing marks and comments. In other words, marks will be saved from the last device that marks were synced from. If the marker on the iPad app didn't have the markings of the other markers synced to the iPad app prior to creating his or her markings, then only the marker who used the iPad app will have their markings synced and saved. If more than one marker is using an iPad app, the one who syncs last overwrites any other markings in the submission inbox. This is because Turnitin is designed for only a single marker at any one time (though there are plans to support multiple marking). We make some suggestions below.
  • Sharing marking of a cohort between colleagues? If one of you is using an iPad, this gets complicated because 'syncing' to the iPad brings over all the submissions on the assignment, and 'syncing' from the iPad overwrites the entire inbox. So if you synced an inbox before your colleague had done their marking, then when you synced your markings back to Turnitin, you'd overwrite any marking they had done with the corresponding unmarked submissions on your iPad.
  • Want to mark partly on your iPad and partly on your desktop or laptop? Again, take great care because 'syncing' from your iPad will overwrite any existing markings on Turnitin's server. If those markings were synced to your iPad in the first place, then no problem. But if they weren't, then you'd lose them.

Digital Education isn't promoting this app and can only support it on a best-efforts basis. As third-party software used on personal equipment, and consequently a varied and changing setting, we in Digital Education can't assume a standard iPad model, iOS version, or app versions, can't become experts, and can't test updates in advance of their release. That said, we know the app is out there and being used, which is why we've produced this guidance.  We'd also recommend signing up for alerts directly from Turnitin. Precise instructions further down this page.

How is the iPad app useful?

You can now mark students' work offline, and you have more choice about where you mark.

Like the web version, the app provides Turnitin's suite of marking tools - bubble comments, quickmarks, voice comments, rubrics, highlights, text comments, strike-throughs, grades and the rest, along with originality reports, and the full sources of any matches.

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Is it just for iPads?

Yes - Turnitin don't plan to support any other type of tablet or computer for offline marking at this stage.

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Is it compatible with all iPads?

Turnitin recommends that the app be used on iPad devices that are second generation or higher with iOS6 or higher (though it reports fixing issues with IOS5.1) .

Note that installing Apple iOS upgrades before Turnitin has released a compatible upgrade to its iPad app may interfere with the running of the app. There are alternatives for avoiding this. One is to delay upgrading iOS until Turnitin has caught up and released a compatible version; the other is to upgrade iOS but avoid using the app until there is a new version. A third is to upgrade one or the other and then proceed with caution, testing dummy submissions first, syncing a few at a time and checking carefully.

To keep informed, check Turnitin’s System Status alerts or on Twitter to @TurnitinStatus)

How can I install the app?

First install the app on your iPad - in the usual way from the iTunes AppStore. It's simply called 'Turnitin'.

Upgrading your app? To reduce the possibility of crashes, uninstall the existing app before installing any new version.

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How do I get work from Turnitin onto my iPad?

First do a trial run

Since this is third-party software on personal equipment, we in Digital Education cannot assume a standard iPad model, iOS version, or app versions - these are personal rather than institutional will vary between people.

Consequently, following the instructions below, we strongly recommend starting off with some test submissions first.

After that, begin with just one or two actual submissions at a time, syncing frequently and checking that marks and feedback upload to the server as expected. Hopefully this will go smoothly and you can gain confidence in the app.

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How do I link the app with my Turnitin assignment?

Before you do anything else, link your app to TurnitinUK - to do this see Turnitin's guidance on 'Access for TurnitinUK users'.

Before you start,

  • make sure the assignment in question has at least one submission in it (otherwise you can't get to its Document Viewer to generate a unique access code)
  • and have you linked your app to TurnitinUK yet? Do that first - Turnitin has instructions.

Next Turnitin has step-by step guidance for generating the code and entering it into the app.

You'll notice that when you get an access code, it will add all Turnitin assignments on that Moodle course.

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My assignment doesn't have any submissions - can I get an access code?

The only reason we can think of that you'd need to do this is to test out the app before your students submit - for this kind of familiarisation we've provided some test assignments for you to work with. 

The answer is yes, if you log into your Moodle course using a Test Moodle Account and submit a dummy submission. Contact digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk for details.

(By the way, you can generate the access code from your iPad using the web browser - no need for a computer.)

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Will the app let me filter student work by their Moodle Groups?

No - because the app itself connects directly with the Turnitin servers, bypassing Moodle entirely.

Groups only come into effect if you mark in the web version of Turnitin.

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Can I link several assignments at once?

Yes - you can add multiple access codes, and therefore multiple Turnitin submission inboxes. 

Note that the amount of storage space Turnitin takes up on your iPad depends on the amount of work you're downloading. 

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Can I unlink an assignment?

Only by unlinking all assignments:

Make sure you've turned Sync Papers on, otherwise your marking will be lost.

  1. tap the Profile icon (top right); Profile then loads
  2. tap the red 'Unlink iPad from Turnitin' button.

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How do I find the assignments on the app?

How do I get to the assignments?

At the top of the app screen is a button - depending on your context it is labelled Accounts, or Classes, or Assignments. Tapping this displays a sidebar.

  • Accounts - select University College London
  • Classes - select the name of the Moodle course area containing the assignment you want to mark.
  • Assignments - select the assignment containing the submissions you want to mark.

To hide the sidebar, tap elsewhere on the screen.

Or to display the sidebar again, tap the button labelled Accounts, or Classes, or Assignments.

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How do I switch between assignments?

See 'How do I get to the assignments?' above.

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Can I mark offline?

Yes - in fact the iPad app is the only way to mark offline in Turnitin.

Remember to Sync when you connect again, to upload the marked work to Turnitin's servers so that colleagues and students can access it.

Note that several of Moodle's own assignment types allow anonymous submission and offline marking, too.

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How do I mark?

To quickly get started marking papers in Turnitin for iPad, you need to know "TPS" - Tap, Press, Swipe:

  • Tap on the paper for most interactions such as leaving marks
  • Press to select text or marks
    • Drag to move marks or change the selection length
  • Swipe across with one finger to access the Grade Overview
    • Tap to change grades, mark rubrics, and leave general and Voice comments in the Grade Overview
  • Swipe with two fingers to move between papers

For more in-depth information about using Turnitin for iPad, check out the interactive tutorial using the “Try Tutorial” button inside the app.

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Does the app allow multiple markers at once, or shared marking for a submission inbox?

This needs care and attention because syncing from your iPad isn't 'syncing' in the strict sense of the word; although Turnitin technically allows different markers, it hasn't designed the software for them. So rather than merging marks and comments, syncing will overwrite any existing marks and comments. Marks will be saved from the last device marks were synced from.  If the marker on the iPad app didn't have the markings of the other markers synched to the iPad app prior to creating his or her markings, then only the markers who used the iPad app will have their markings synced and saved. This is because Turnitin only provides for a single marker at any one time.

Let's consider the following scenario. You have a large cohort submitting to a single assignment and have divided them into, say, thirds so that you can allocate each third to a different marker. One way to reduce risk of iPad overwriting marks and feedback is to use Moodle Groupings and as many separate Turnitin assignments as there are markers, each made available only to one Grouping of students.

What is a Grouping? Whereas enabling Groups for an Activity still means that the Activity is available to all students, creating a Grouping of one or more Groups allows an Activity or a Resource to be made available to just some students. The grouping that each Turnitin assignment is available can be set on the Turnitin Assignment's settings page and will then appear in brackets after the Assignment name (visible to staff only) so you can tell which students will be able to see it.

The instructions below first divide the cohort into three without the confusion of displaying three alternative Turnitin Assignments to students - each student will see only their respective Assignment. Next, the instructions match each Turnitin Assignment with its marker - this means that if that marker uses the iPad app and then syncs markings back to Turnitin, they will not overwrite any other marker's markings (as long as each marker is the exclusive marker on that Assignment).

  1. First, create Groups (see the M13 guide) based on which students are allocated to which markers - i.e. one Group per marker. It makes sense to use each marker's name as a Group title.
  2. As well as adding students, add the marker to the Group.
  3. Next, create Groupings (see the M13 guide) - again one per marker. Since in this case, they map directly onto the Groups you made above, you can give the Groupings the same titles.
  4. Add each Group to its respective Grouping.
  5. Next, create (in this scenario) three separate Turnitin assignments.
  6. For each, enable its Grouping, and check the Available for group members only box to restrict access to just that Grouping.
  7. Yes, it's a bit confusing the first time round.

Alternatively, you can use the Bulk Enrolment block to assign students to groups and groupings en masse, by uploading a CSV file of the students and the group they belong in (see the M06d guide: Using the Bulk Enrolment block for instructions).

Second marking? Ensure that the first round of marking is completed before allowing the second marker access to each first marker's cohort. That way when the second marker syncs to the iPad, that sync will include the first marker's markings.

How can I see an Originality Report?

To view matches from the OriginalityCheck in Turnitin for iPad:

  1. Tap on the OriginalityCheck button at the top right of the paper
  2. Slide the switch at the top of the source list to “On”

Matches to sources will then be highlighted within the paper. Tap on the numbered flag at the beginning of a match highlight to view the glimpse (view of the source text) for a match.

NOTE: Setting exclusions and inclusions such as excluding quoted material, viewing of alternate sources, requesting to view student source papers, and refreshing Originality Reports must be performed through Turnitin directly or through the Turnitin integration in your LMS.

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How do my marks get from my iPad onto Moodle and Turnitin?

You need to Sync.

  1. Check to be certain that your iPad is online (try going to a new page in Safari)
  2. Open Turnitin for iPad
  3. Click the Sync button at the top right (arrow in a circle)

    It's a good idea to sync as often as you can, as insurance against worst case scenarios such as a baboon making off with your iPad or capsizing in your kayak and watching it float irretrievably over the 150 metre waterfall, etc.

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What about security?

Even when the app is closed it still remembers all classes that have been accessed. You simply need to open the app to access them. This means the security to the device itself is paramount, and the only protection for student papers and grades.

Turnitin recommends using Apple's passcode lock feature (found under the General settings in your iPad’s device settings). This passcode will need to be entered to wake up your iPad whenever it goes to sleep and should keep anyone from being able to access any of your information (i.e. email or Turnitin for iPad papers).

You should also be aware that you can remotely delete data from an iPad.

For tighter security - but only if you're online and can Sync first - you could log out of Turnitin when you aren't using it. When you log in again, link the assignment and run a Sync to resume marking where you left off.

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Is it healthier?

Any long spells in the same position or making small repetitive movements has its occupational health implications - whether online or on paper. iPads are no exception.

Consult the Health & Safety Executive's Assessment of Repetitive Tasks Tool which includes guidance on repetition and posture.

Take plenty of breaks and exercise.

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How can I keep up to date with Turnitin developments?

You can follow Turnitin developments directly via:

Where can I get further help?

More help and FAQs are available on the Turnitin iPad page.

Please note that UCL Digital Education team cannot guarantee to support this iPad app, so guidance from us will be on a best-efforts basis.

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