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Staff Turnitin® FAQs

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.



How do I add a Turnitin® assignment drop-box to Moodle?

How do I set up a draft assignment submission dropbox, separate from the final submission drop-box?




Helping Students

On a PC:

On a Mac:

What is Turnitin®?

Turnitin® is one of the tools that UCL uses to help students learn about and avoid plagiarism and to help detect it when it does occur is Turnitin®. Read more...

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How do I log in to Turnitin®?

Via Moodle, unless you need advanced functionality such as downloading assignments in bulk. If you need direct access see: How do I bulk download Turnitin® assignments?

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 fully support direct access to Turnitin.

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How do I add a Turnitin® assignment drop-box to Moodle?

We recommend you attend the Deterring and Detecting Plagiarism using Turnitin https://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/students/e-learning/tools/turnitin/faq/indextraining *to learn how to use Turnitin with Moodle. *

To add a Turnitin assignment in Moodle:

  1. Navigate to your Moodle course. 
  2. Turn editing on
  3. Click Add an activity *and choose Turnitin assignment*
  4. Add an* assignment name *and *summary *describing the assignment and the submission process to students.
  5. Choose the number of files (Number of Parts) students will need to upload
  6. Choose whether or not to use Anonymous Marking
  7. Choose whether or not to allow students to view their own Student Originality Reports
  8. Change Allow Late Submissions to Yes (they will be flagged in red if late anyway)
  9. Change Report Generation Speed to Generate reports immediately, reports can be overwritten until due date
  10. Keep* Store Student Paper as Standard Repository *(unless you are setting up a draft drop-box separate from the final submission drop-box)
  11. Change Exclude Bibliography to Yes
  12. Change Exclude Quoted Material to Yes
  13. Click Save and display
  14. Click the pen icon on the right to change the start date, due date and post date.
    • Start date: the date the students can begin uploading their assignments and checking their similarity reports.
    • Due date: the due date of the assignment - all submissions after this date (if allow late submissions is enabled) will be marked in red
    • Post date: is the date anonymous assignments become un-anonymised and students receive their grades and feedback. We suggest putting this date far in the future and then changing it back to the actual grade release date when this is known.
  15. Click the tick icon to *save *these changes.

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How do students upload an assignment / dissertation to Turnitin?

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 fully support direct access to Turnitin. 

To upload an assignment in to Turnitin via Moodle students need to follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to your UCL Moodle course.
  2. Click on the assignment.
  3. Click on the My Submissions tab.
  4. Fill in the assignment details, browse for your file, agree to the declaration and click Add Submission.

Please refer to the following document for further information on using Turnitin® via UCL Moodle:Guidance for students submitting work via Turnitin in Moodle (PDF)

Further detailed information is available here: TiiUK_Moodle_Integration_Student_Manual.pdf

To upload an assignment directly to Turnitin® students need to follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to www.submit.ac.uk
  2. Register to Turnitin® using the Class ID and password provided by your tutor.
  3. Locate your class and paper and click Submit.
  4. Fill in your details, browse for your file and click Upload.
  5. Confirm your submission is correct and click Submit.
  6. A digital receipt will be shown and emailed to you.

Please refer to the following document for further information on using Turnitin® directly:Submit.ac.uk Student Quick Start Guide


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How do students view their Turnitin® assignment grade and feedback in Moodle?

To view Turnitin® assignment grades and feedback via Moodle students need to follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to your UCL Moodle course.
  2. Click on the assignment.
  3. Click on the My Submissions tab.
  4. Your grade will be displayed in the Grade column (alongside the apple).
  5. Click on the apple icon to view any feedback your tutor has left for you within Turnitin. The right-hand column will display any feedback your tutor has left - you can navigate through the different types of feedback using the 3 buttons below this column:
    • The 'General comments' button is selected by default and will display any comments the tutor has made about your submission overall.
    • Clicking on the second 'QuickMarks' button will show you any in-text comments the tutor has left. Comments within the document (in-text comments) will be also displayed when you place your mouse over the speech bubble icon alongside the highlighted text.
    • The third 'Rubric' button will show you how your assignment was graded against each criteria (if used).
  6. To return to Moodle, close down the assignment window.

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What percentage of the originality score is sufficient to indicate plagiarism?

The similarity score indicates text matches with other documents, including for example quotations that are used. We advise students that there is no score they should aim for as a target. 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.

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A piece of work has a similarity score of 0%. Does this mean it is not plagiarised?

No, an similarity score of 0% does not guarantee the work is not plagiarised. Turnitin has a large database of web sites, books, journal papers and other sources, but does not (and cannot) include everything ever written.

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If students resubmit an assignment, won’t it show up as a 100% match?

* *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).

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How do I set up a draft assignment submission dropbox, separate from the final submission drop-box?

 *On the initial settings page choose *Repository: no repository. This means that student assignments will be checked against papers stored in Turnitin and other material on the Internet, but won't be stored in Turnitin themselves. 

Full instructions for setting up a new Turnitin assignment in Moodle are here: How do I add a Turnitin® assignment drop-box to Moodle?

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What file formats will Turnitin® accept?

* *Most common word-processing formats are accepted. Turnitin® will accept documents in Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, PostScript, PDF, HTML, RTF, and plain text. Microsoft Powerpoint and Excel documents, and formats for computer programming languages are not accepted.

Note: equations created in Word using Microsoft Equation are compatible with Turnitin®, but equations created in other applications and then converted to PDF are likely to cause problems when the document is displayed in Turnitin®. If students need to submit documents containing equations to Turnitin® please pass on the advice below: Will Turnitin® accept documents containing equations?

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Will Turnitin® accept documents containing equations?

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


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What is the maximum file size that can be submitted to Turnitin?

* *The maximum file size is approximately 20MB.

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How can students minimise the file size of their submissions?

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.

  1. Download and install *PDFCreator *from: http://www.pdfforge.org/pdfcreator
  2. Launch the PDFCreator.
  3. Drag your document on to the PDFCreator window OR click Document Add and locate and open the file.
  4. Click *OK *when the message appears saying: "It is necessary to temporarily set PDFCreator as default printer".
  5. Click save.
  6. Change the filename if you want to retain the original uncompressed version.
  7. Once the file has finished compressing the default printer will be changed back and the compressed PDF file will open.

On a Mac:

  1. Open the PDF in the *Preview *application.
  2. File > Save As...
  3. In the Quartz filter drop-down menu choose 'Reduce File Size'.
  4. If you want to keep the original uncompressed version, change the file name.
  5. Click Save.

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Why can't I (or some of my students) see the Turnitin assignments?

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.

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Why can't I mark or add comments to the assignments?

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:

  1. Click on the assignment name in Moodle
  2. In the Summary tab click the pen icon on the right.
  3. Change the Post date to a date in the future.
  4. Click the tick icon to save the change.

You should now be able to mark and comment on assignments.

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How do I bulk download Turnitin® 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). If you need to bulk download the papers along with the feedback you have provided using Grademark you will need to follow the old procedure of logging in to submit.ac.uk directly.

  1. Click on the assignment name in Moodle.
  2. In the Summary tab you will see 3 file icons in the Export column:
    • Word icon - downloads the original file (usually either Word or PDF formats).
    • PDF icon - downloads a PDF version of the original file.
    • Excel icon - downloads a spreadsheet containing each student's assignment grades and the overlap scores (or similarity match score).
  3. When the Download File page has loaded, click on the link to download the assignments in zipped file format.
  4. To unzip, locate the* turnitinuk_zip_download* file on your computer and follow the instructions below for the operating system you are using:

Windows XP

  1. Right-click on the file and choose Extract All..., then click NextNextFinish.
  2. A new folder with the same name will appear containing all the assignment files.

Windows 7

  1. Right-click on the file and choose Extract All... and click Extract.
  2. A new folder with the same name will appear containing all the assignment files.

Apple Mac

  1. Double click on the file.
  2. A new folder with the same name will appear containing all the assignment files.

Downloading Grademarked papers (from submit.ac.uk)

It is not yet possible to bulk download Turnitin assignments with Grademark feedback from within Moodle. You need to log in to Turnitin directly. Follow these steps to bulk download grademarked assignments directly from Turnitin:

  1. In Moodle make sure you are the class owner for the assignment (check the turnitin assignment's summary tab).
  2. If you are NOT the class owner for that assignment, click the pen (edit) icon alongside the current class owner and change it to your name. Turnitin will update so that you will now have access to the assignment via submit.ac.uk
  3. Visit www.submit.ac.uk in your web browser.
  4. Log in using your UCL email address and Turnitin® password. If you have forgotten (or never received) your password you can use the *Forgotten Password? *link to retrieve it.
  5. Once you have logged in, click on the Instructor tab in the top, left corner of the page. All your Moodle courses that contain Turnitin assignments will be listed. 
  6. Click on the relevant course (you may need to click on the [All classes] tab to see it).

  7. Click on the name of the Turnitin assignment for which you want to bulk download submissions.
  8. Click View to see each student's submission.
  9. Click on the first checkbox alongside author to select all the assignments.
  10. Click Download > Original File* or* Grademark paper *(the latter will contain any feedback you returned to the student via Grademark).

Note: Turnitin will have automatically created an account for you the first time yourself or one of your colleagues created a Turnitin assignment in any Moodle courses you teach on or administer.

* *If you don't get the option to download the original file you need to ensure the *Post date is set to be in the past. You can change this in Moodle using these instructions.

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Why do I get an error when I bulk download Turnitin assignments in Moodle?

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.
Error: 241
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:

  1. Go to the Turnitin assignment.
  2. On the Options tab, click on the edit icon alongside Turnitin Tutors.
  3. Under Turnitin Tutors, select your name from the list and click [Add Turnitin Tutor].

You should now be able to bulk download Turnitin assignments.

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Why do I get an "unable to download page" error when I try to download a Turnitin assignment from Moodle using Internet Explorer 8?

This is a known issue with Internet Explorer 8 with no available workaround. Please use Firefoxinstead or upgrade to Internet Explorer 9.

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I get a notice about duplicate copies of a Turnitin assignment with a link to another Turnitin assignment. How do I fix this?

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:

  1. Remove one of these assignments. You can recreate a new Turnitin assignment manually to replace it if required. OR
  2. Reset your course (with only the default Turnitin reset option selected!) so that Turnitin copies all the assignments on the course and creates new ones. NOTE: *DO NOT do this if you have any current assignments with submissions* anywhere in the course. After you reset, the links to all assignments in the course will be lost and new assignments will be created in their place.

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How do I backup Turnitin® assignments?

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.

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How do I reset my Turnitin® assignments ready for the next academic year?

  1. Navigate to your Moodle course.
  2. In the Administration block click on Reset.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the *Select default *button.
  4. The default option *Copy Turnitin Assignments (Create Duplicates, New Turnintin Class) *is recommended for course resets.

The three option 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. 

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How do I change the due date of a Turnitin® assignment?

  1. Go to the Turnitin® assignment in Moodle.
  2. Click on the Summary tab.
  3. Click the edit (pencil) icon. 
  4. Select a date and time for each setting:
    • Start date: *when the students can start submitting *
    • *Due date: *when the students should submit by
    • Post date:  when the students will receive their marks and the names of students are revealed for anonymised assignments (must be after the Due date)
  5. Click the* tick icon* to *save *the dates.

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How do I request to see the source of a matching assignment in Turnitin?

  1. Go to the Turnitin® assignment in Moodle.
  2. Click on the Submission Inbox tab.
  3. Click on the similarity score (shown as a % with a coloured bar alongside it)
  4. Click on the highlighted text in the document that shows a match to another source.
  5. Click on the name of institution the matching assignment was submitted to (e.g. Submitted to University College London)
  6. A note will appear explaining that you need to request this document from the author's instructor. 
  7. Click [send a request to view this paper] to submit the request.

  8. An email will be sent to all instructors connected to that assignment in Turnitin. For an assignment submitted to UCL Moodle that means all course administrators and tutors will receive the request via email.
  9. If the request is accepted you will receive the paper to your UCL email account. The document will be sent in plain text within the body of the email.

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How do students resubmit their assignments?

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 (or you can do this on their behalf).

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How do I submit an assignment on behalf of a student?

  1. Go to your Turnitin® assignment in Moodle.
  2. Click on the Submit Paper tab.
  3. Fill in the assignment title, browse for the student's file and click* Add Submission*.
  4. The student will now see this submission in Moodle as though they had uploaded it themselves.

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Why do grades I enter in GradeMark not appear in the Submission inbox?

  1. Go to your Turnitin® assignment in Moodle.
  2. Click on the Options tab.
    Check that the Use GradeMark? option is set to* Yes, use GradeMark to grade submissions*.
  3. Click Save Changes.
  4. Go back to the Submission Inbox.

You will notice that the tick icon will have changed to an apple indicating that GradeMark is now being used.

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