Ordering a workspace

The supervisor/advisor (supervisor will be used to refer to both roles in the rest of these instructions) or the student on behalf of the supervisor can order the personal workspace by filling in this form:  MyCourses workspace for thesis supervision

  • The form is also available in MyCourses after you have logged in: In the white ribbon on the top, go to Service links > Workspace for thesis supervision.
  • The workspace will be created within three working days. The workspace is ready for use with Turnitin submission boxes and instructions.
  • The life cycle of the workspace is 2.5 to 3 years. The closing date is the due date in the Turnitin submission boxes. A new workspace must be ordered well before the closing date if instructing students in their thesis work.


This ready-to-use workspace enables the thesis supervisor to

  • receive different versions of thesis drafts as well as the final submission,
  • comment on the submitted drafts,
  • grade the final submission,
  • get the Turnitin submission ID number that is necessary particularly for doctoral theses to be submitted for pre-examination,
  • obtain the Turnitin similarity report of all submissions, which is an aid to detect plagiarism, as well as
  • obtain an estimate on whether artificial-intelligence-generated text has been used in the thesis text.

Students submit their thesis here in order to

  • get the Turnitin similarity report of the drafts of their thesis before getting their supervisor’s comments on the submitted version in order to
    • improve the text in accordance with good academic writing practices and
    • prevent unintentional plagiarism,
  • get comments on their drafts,
  • get their thesis graded and
  • get the Turnitin ID number of the final version of their thesis required.

Turnitin usage is at its best when used for drafts as a natural part of the advising/supervising process (as a formative tool). This supports the learning of scientific writing and helps to prevent unintentional or intentional plagiarism.

The most important feature of the workspace is the Turnitin submission boxes for drafts as well as the final version of students' theses. Submissions made in the Draft submission boxes are not stored in Turnitin's comparison database, the Standard Repository. Also, submissions made in the submission box 'Version or pre-examination' meant for submission of doctoral theses are not stored in the standard repository. In addition to the Turnitin submission boxes, the workspace has a scheduler with which appointments can be made to set up meetings between the supervisor and the student. The snapshot below shows what the workspace template looks like in MyCourses. The workspace template is copied and renamed for each supervisor.

Homepage of the thesis supervision workspace.

Instructions for using the workspace

Submission-related instructions for supervisors:

Using the workspace:

  • Give your students the link to the thesis supervision workspace.
  • Ask them to enroll themselves in the workspace first to be able to submit their work.
  • Ask them to reply to the group-activity question, 'What thesis are you working on?'
  • Agree with your student on when you will comment on a submitted draft. They can use the draft submission box to obtain the Turnitin similarity report to check their writing for good academic writing practices before getting your comments on the draft.
  • Agree on how many times you will comment on their drafts.
  • After you have commented on a draft, tell your students to submit their next possible draft in a different draft submission box. This way, you will have all the commented versions available for future reference, if necessary, and they serve as a form of documentation of the thesis supervision process.

Interpreting the Turnitin similarity report (the interpretation differs for drafts and the final version):

  • The similarity report of drafts helps you assess the level of academic writing skills of the student. Use this to guide and instruct the student in good practices in academic writing and correcting other errors. In the process, you will prevent plagiarism before it has occurred.
  • The similarity report of the final submission (the version that is graded) helps you assess the ethical aspect of the work: is plagiarism involved? In the unfortunate situation where plagiarism is suspected, the investigation process will follow as described in the Aalto University Code of Academic Integrity.
    • The doctoral thesis submitted for pre-examination is handled and interpreted just like a final submission even though the submission isn't stored in Turnitin's standard repository.

Submission-related instructions for students

Using the workspace:

  • Ask your supervisor for the link to the thesis supervision workspace or use MyCourses's search utility to look for it using the search query 'thesis supervision firstname surname' (use your supervisor's first name and surname).
    • If the workspace isn't found, either ask your supervisor to obtain one or you may request one on their behalf. Inform your supervisor in the latter case. (see Ordering a workspace above)
  • Enroll yourself in the workspace: SyllabusSelf enrolment
  • Respond to the group activity question 'Which thesis are you working on?' You are now ready to submit your work in the Turnitin submission boxes.
  • Agree with your supervisor when and how many times they will comment on your drafts.
  • You can use the Draft submission boxes to inspect your work for good academic writing practices before getting comments on it from your supervisor.
  • After receiving comments from your supervisor on a draft, use a different Draft submission box to submit your next draft. This way, you will have a record of all the comments you received for your different drafts for future reference, if necessary. This also serves as a form of documentation of your writing process.

Turnitin paper ID number

The Turnitin paper ID number is a unique number used to identify the submission made in Turnitin. This number is visible in the submission box. It is also found via the submission information button available in Feedback Studio, the interface that opens when opening the similarity report (button label 4.2 in the similarity report snapshot).

Why is the paper ID number required? Doctoral students must provide this number in the respective form when submitting their thesis for pre-examination. The pre-examiners are given this number so that they know that the work has been checked for breaches in academic integrity. In most schools, the bachelor's and master's theses must be submitted in a Turnitin submission box. If a wrong version is submitted in the submission box for grading, which stores the submission in Turnitin's standard repository, this number is necessary along with the link to the submission box to get the wrong submission removed from the standard repository.

In the case of disagreement in the thesis assessment or in the more serious situation of suspected plagiarism, the Turnitin ID number is required so that the investigating officer(s) and assessors(s) can inspect the similarity report of the submission as part of the procedure for investigation of the suspected case of plagiarism.

Turnitin similarity report for the supervisor's own drafts

The supervisor may use the Draft submissions boxes to get the similarity report for drafts of their own work to, say, check an article manuscript before sending it to a conference or a journal. This feature is available in those workspaces created since summer 2020. The supervisor's name is visible in the Turnitin submission box.

Scheduler activity for booking supervision appointments

MyCourses's Scheduler activity on the home page is meant for making appointments for supervision activity. The supervisor can use it or hide it from students:

  • Using the scheduler: the supervisor can mark appointment slots in the scheduler that students can choose from to book an appointment, or mark the appointment just agreed on with the student (this is shared information about the appointment).
  • Hiding: Turn edit mode on > click the three dots next to the activity> Hide.
    Edit mode button.         Hiding an activity. Drop-down menu showing the Hide action.

The supervisor can also write down notes for an appointment that are visible to the student.

Editing the workspace

The supervisor can edit the ready-to-use workspace just like any other MyCourses workspace with the role of teacher. The workspace contains instructions in three languages: the user sees one language version depending on the interface language they have chosen. This must be taken into account if the instructions are edited.

Support and instructions