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Turnitin for staff

Turnitin is an academic support tool and is not freely accessible to students. For a student to use Turnitin, their lecturer must facilitate access. This enables students to submit assignments and view the results of "originality reports". Originality reports need to be interpreted by the assessor. A judgement about whether or not plagiarism has occurred can not be based simply on the percentage of matching text that is found.

"Using Turnitin within Blackboard" workshops are offered periodically through the Centre for Teaching and Learning and registration is available through the HR Staff Development Calendar. The animated tutorial "Setting up a Turnitin Assignment" will show you how to provide your students access to Turnitin.

Students re-enrolling or enrolling at the University accept as a condition of enrolment (via the online enrolment form) that any essays they submit may be checked for plagiarism, including through an electronic system, and may be held in the database for future matching purposes.

Student assignments submitted into Turnitin are compared against:

  • The Internet
  • Papers submitted to Turnitin by other students, including students of the University of Newcastle and many other universities
  • Proquest online journal collection databases

Turnitin does not match text against subscription based academic journals or textbooks, unless they have been already included in the Turnitin database as part of a previous submission.

You may receive a request from an instructor at another University via Blackboard to view student work. Providing a copy of student work to an instructor at another University could have implications in relation to privacy and personal legislation. University of Newcastle staff should not comply with email requests from Turnitin to grant access to student work to a third party

If you plan to use Turnitin then the Assessment Item Cover Sheet model which indicates the use of text-matching software, is required. Alternatively, you can include the appropriate reference from the student declaration section of the cover sheet model on your cover sheet. This states:

"I acknowledge that the assessor of this assignment may, for the purpose of assessing this assignment, communicate a copy of this assessment item to a text-matching service (which may then retain a copy of the item on its database for the purpose of future text-matching)."

Originality Reports

The analysis of the text in a piece of work generates an 'originality report' which will identify any portion of similar or matching text between the submitted work and items in Turnitin. You must enable students to view the originality report and resubmit their assignment at least once prior to the due date. You will need to change the Turnitin default settings to enable this.

It is important that students are trained in understanding how to interpret originality reports to improve their writing skills. Other services are available to assist students that will complement your instruction and are listed on the Academic integrity for students page.

Originality reports need to be interpreted by the assessor. A judgement about whether or not plagiarism has occurred can not be based simply on the percentage of matching text that is found.

Change the Turnitin default settings

It is extremely important that all staff who use Turnitin change the current default setting to ensure that students can 'pre-submit' work prior to final submission. Please follow the steps below when creating a Turnitin Assignment submission area in a Blackboard Course. This will give students the opportunity to view an 'Originality Report' and re-submit an assignment multiple times prior to the due date.

From the 'New assignment' options:

  • Enter the assignment name, points possible and select start and due dates
  • Click 'More options'

From 'More options':

  • 'Generate Originality Reports for submissions?' - select 'YES'
  • 'Generate Originality Reports for student submissions' - select 'Immediately (Can overwrite reports until due date)'
  • 'Allow students to see Originality Reports’ - select 'YES'

Saving settings as defaults

You will be asked the following question in relation to your assignment settings in Turnitin: "Would you like to save these options as your defaults for future assignments?"

Saving the options as defaults only applies to this particular course and any other assignments created for this course after the options have been saved. However, after making initial assignment settings for a course, changes can occur if more than one instructor changes settings for subsequent assignments.

It is recommended that the options are checked every time an assignment is set up for Turnitin and that course co-ordinators check the settings for all assignments in a course.

Related links and documents