Use Turnitin for an assignment
Turnitin is a text-matching tool that can be used to identify similarities to existing sources or to help students learn how to avoid plagiarism and improve their written work.
Turnitin is used to check student written assignments submitted to Moodle and Tabula. This guide covers only setup within Moodle Assignment activities although the way Turnitin works is the same whether through Moodle or Tabula.
In this guide:
Enabling Turnitin for an assignment
Note that Turnitin will only work for the files and online text submission types.
- When creating a Moodle assignment activity, scroll down to Turnitin plagiarism plugin settings and click to expand the section.
- For Enable Turnitin, select Yes from the dropdown list.
- Set Display Similarity Reports to No to prevent students from viewing their similarity report.
- For formative exercises, you may want students to be able to view their report. If so, change this setting to Yes.
- Select When should the file be submitted to Turnitin -
- Submit file when first uploaded - the paper will be submitted for similarity check immediately. This is the default, and cannot be changed, if Require students click submit button, is set to No.
- Submit file when student sends for marking - the paper will be submitted when the student clicks on the submit button if Require students click submit button, is set to Yes.
- Set Allow submission of any file type to No.
- This will prevent students from uploading files that cannot be checked for similarity. See Turnitin's guide to understand permitted file types and sizes.
- Set Store Student Papers to Standard Repository.
- For formative exercises or draft submissions, change this setting to No repository so that the paper is not added to the Turnitin database and checked for similarity in the future, for example, when the student submits their final version of the paper.
- Set Check against stored student papers to Yes.
- Set Check against internet to Yes.
- Set Check against journals, periodicals and publications to Yes.
- Set Report Generation Speed to the appropriate setting -
- Generate reports immediately (Resubmissions are not allowed) – Similarity reports will be generated immediately, but only once the student clicks Submit assignment. Students cannot resubmit papers.
- Generate reports immediately (Resubmissions are allowed until cut-off date) - Similarity reports will be generated immediately on upload. Students may resubmit as often as they wish by clicking Edit submission. Only the latest submission and similarity report is available to the instructor or student. This option is typically used when students are self-reviewing and revising their submissions and able to view the similarity report. Please note that the cut-off date is the date after which students can no longer make submissions and is not the same as the due date.
- Generate reports on the due date (Resubmissions are allowed until cut-off date) - similarity reports will not be generated for any submission until the due date. Students may resubmit by clicking Edit submission as many times as they wish, until the due date without receiving reports.
- Set Exclude Bibliography to No.
- Set Exclude Quoted Material to No.
- Set Exclude Small Matches to No.
- Set the rest of the Assignment options, see Moodle Docs Assignment settings guidance.
- Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Save and return to course.
Viewing the Turnitin reports
- Click on the assignment activity link.
- Click on View all submissions.
- In the File submissions or Online text column (depending on the submission format you set) you will see the student submissions each with a coloured percentage score.
- Click the percentage to open the similarity report.
Interpreting Turnitin scores and similarity reports
Turnitin is not used in isolation to make a judgment on plagiarism, but it does provide information on which an academic judgment is then made.
- The score received does not automatically determine that plagiarism has been committed - there is no ‘score’ to aim for. The report is interpreted by the marker who compares the submitted paper and the suspected sources and uses academic judgment to come to a view on whether an offence has been committed.
- Turnitin will highlight quoted material, even if it has been correctly attributed. Provided they have been correctly referenced, this should not be penalised.
- Common phrases and short pieces of text may show as a match simply as they are in common usage and therefore do not need to be referenced.
- The sources identified by Turnitin may not be the only place that the material can be found - for example, Turnitin may identify Wikipedia as the source, although the material may also be published elsewhere, or a student paper from another institution because the same source text has been used.
See further guidance on understanding the similarity report from Turnitin's help pages.
The information on this page relates to Moodle v3.10 and was last updated December 2021.
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