Turnitin FAQ for Faculty

Overview: Turnitin is an anti-plagiarism tool which is integrated into Canvas for all courses and works with Assignments that are set to accept Online Submissions. It provides originality checking, online grading and peer review to prevent plagiarism prevention and engage students in the writing process. Turnitin encourages best practices for using and citing other people’s written material and offers instructors ways to save time and improve their feedback. Turnitin offers a complete web‐based service to manage the process of submitting and tracking papers electronically, providing better and faster feedback to students.

Please be sure to follow these best practices recommended by CMC’s faculty Turnitin committee:

  • Include in your syllabus information about Turnitin and links for the Turnitin website for more information
  • Have students upload their own work to Turnitin
  • Let the students know that they can upload their essays without their name and information if they like
  • If you submit students’ papers, remove their names and information from the documents first
  • Make sure you understand how to read the Originality Report—don’t just look at the numerical score and assume it’s the final word


Turnitin FAQ

How does Turnitin work?

Institutions license Turnitin on an annual basis. To use Turnitin, an instructor should set up an Assignment in a Canvas course, which has the Turnitin service and the option for online submission enabled. Students then submit their work via file upload (more detailed instructions for faculty are below on this page; for students, the online submission of their work remains the same as it would be for any Assignment collecting digital files.)

Turnitin’s proprietary software then compares the student’s submission to a vast database of 20+ billion pages of digital content (including archived Internet content that is no longer available on the live web) as well as over 220 million papers in the student paper archive, and 110,000+ professional, academic and commercial journals and publications. The Turnitin database is updated frequently.

How can I use the Turnitin anti-plagiarism tool with my Assignments?

The Turnitin anti-plagiarism tool is integrated into Canvas for Assignments that are set to accept Online Submissions. Turnitin originality checks are only available for online submissions of student work collected through an Assignment with Turnitin enabled. Be sure as you create your Assignment to  check the box for “Enable Turnitin Submission Evaluations.” You will then be able to access Turnitin reports on students’ work that was submitted via such an assignment in the gradebook and SpeedGrader. Once an assignment submission has been evaluated a Turnitin icon will appear as part of the submission details. The color of the icon is an indicator of the general level of the Originality Report. Possible colors are green, yellow, orange, red, blue (no score) or gray (score pending). However, it is critical with Turnitin as with all such anti-plagiarism tools, that the instructor carefully reads the Originality Report for each student’s submission. Long quotations, even if properly cited, can sometimes be marked as plagiarism, for example.

My students already submitted their work, how can I use Turnitin to analyze it?

Unfortunately, you cannot enable Turnitin on an Assignment after students submit work and have it analyze their files: Turnitin must be enabled for an Assignment before students upload their files. There are two possible options: either students could re-submit their work via an Assignment that has Turnitin enabled or you can work with the Office of Innovations in Teaching and Learning to submit the files in question via the Turnitin.com website.

I need tech support with Turnitin.

CMC instructors can call Turnitin at 1-866-816-5046 ext. 241, Monday-Friday, from 7:00am-midnight, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00am to midnight. CMC students and instructors can submit a ticket by visiting turnitin.com and then hovering over “Support” and clicking on “Help Center.” Then, once you’re on the Help Center screen, look for the red button at lower left labeled “Create a ticket.” Click on that button to create your request for tech support.

Students and Turnitin

Student tutorials and FAQ about Turnitin can be found online here.

Please note: only the course instructor with the ability to view the Gradebook can see a student’s paper that is submitted to Turnitin. If a match is found between the student’s paper and another student’s paper, the instructor can request the matching paper from the other student’s instructor. The instructors decide whether to share the matching paper depending on the circumstances.

If you use PeerMark, an additional tool for peer review which comes with the Turnitin license, then things are slightly different. The only exception to the rule that students’ work is not available to anyone other than the course instructor is in the case of peer review assignments. Students using PeerMark will be allowed to view the text of the papers they are assigned to review from within the context of the peer review assignment, though the instructor can choose to distribute the papers anonymously.

Turnitin agrees that students should own the copyright to their original work. A common misconception is that students relinquish their ownership rights when they submit papers to Turnitin. This isn’t accurate: students who submit papers to Turnitin retain the copyright to the work they created. For more information on privacy and Turnitin, please click here.

Where can I learn more about Turnitin, PeerMark and GradeMark?

Please visit this website to learn more about Turnitin and its suite of companion tools such as PeerMark and GradeMark.