Typically, you use Turnitin when submitting coursework or your thesis. In these cases, you will have access to the appropriate Turnitin submission boxes; for coursework the submission box is in the courses's workspace, and for theses as described below. For situations where you don't have an appropriate Turnitin submission box in use, you may use the one in the MyCourses workspace called Independent Turnitin Originality Check for Academic Year 20xx-20yy. Enroll yourself in the workspace first so that you can use the submission box there (there are instructions on the workspace's home page.


Turnitin is used by teachers to check for similarities in submissions to help them determine whether the text in them is plagiarised or not. You can use Turnitin to help you find similarities that you can then rephrase better in your own words and thus avoid plagiarism. You are expected to learn scientific writing and avoid plagiarising other people's work. Acquaint yourself with the forms of plagiarism, the consequences of plagiarising, as well as your rights and responsibilities when using Turnitin here.

Submission in a MyCourses workspace

First, ensure that the file type and size are acceptable for submission. See here for details.

Then, follow the steps below to successfully submit your work in a Turnitin assignment in MyCourses (numbered in the associated screenshots below the numbered items).

  1. A Turnitin submission box in MyCourses is identifiable from the logo and activity identifier encircled in the screenshot (1). Find the correct activity from the name of the submission box where you must submit your assignment. The name of the submission box in the screenshot below is "Homework assignment".
    Identifying a Turnitin assignment from its logo and activity name.
    1.  Assignment instructions given by the teacher are seen under Description. You can hide the description by clicking on the red '-' or make it visible by clicking on the green '+' that appears when the description is hidden. If you hide the description by clicking the green spot (turns to +), the submission function (5.) can be seen more easily.
    2. A submission inbox can contain one or more tabs to submit your work, as in this screenshot with Draft and Final version. By default, the tabs are named Part 1, Part 2, ..., which the teacher can rename. Check that you submit your work in the right tab.
    3. The marks you can get for the submission are shown under Marks Available. The default scale is 1-100, which is shown also when the teacher does not give marks but assesses submissions in other ways. When the teacher attaches assessing criteria to the assignment, the rubric icon appears next to the marks available.
      Student view of the Turnitin submission box with no submission.
  2. Referring to the screenshot above, click on the icon to open the submission dialogue box (see item 4 below).
  3. Give your submission a name
  4. Upload your file either by
    1. dragging and dropping your file in the designated area or
    2. using the File picker to (5bi) browse your computer and (5bii) upload your file.
  5. Check the box to confirm i. that the submission is your own work and ii. that you agree that the work may be stored in Turnitin's standard repository. Submission is not possible without checking the agreement box. Papers saved in the repository are protected against plagiarism. The teacher decides whether the submission is stored in the standard repository (as for final submissions) or not (typically for drafts). It is recommended that the teacher informs students about this choice.
  6. Upload the submission. When using Turnitin for the first time, you are asked to agree with the terms in the Turnitin User Agreement.

    Drag-and-drop dialog box of the Turnitin submission box. Also shown is the view of the File picker dialog box.
  7. You will see a digital receipt on the screen for successful submission. In case of problems making a submission, see the tips in Turnitin's support.
    The digital receipt of a Turnitin submission.
  8. Open the submission receipt here.
  9.  As soon as the Turnitin similarity report is ready, the similarity percentage and a coloured rectangle appear in the submission box. This can take from a couple of minutes up to 24 hours. If it says Pending instead of a percentage, the similarity check is still being processed. Once ready, click on the percentage number or coloured rectangle to open the similarity report in the Turnitin Feedback Studio in a new tab. Read Turnitin's pages for details on the ranges of the coloured rectangle on ranges of the coloured rectangle (the similarity icon) and on interpreting the similarity score. The similarity percentage on its own is not very meaningful; every similarity found must always be interpreted in the context it is written. Some matches, like those in a reference list, are perfectly OK. See here for tips on interpreting the similarity report.
  10. When the similarity status is Pending, you may click on Refresh Submissions to see whether the processing has ended. Click on Refresh Submissions if on resubmitting a new version the similarity report is not updated.
  11. Post Date is the date after which the teacher's feedback and assignment grade are visible to the students.
  12. The grade given by the teacher for the assignment is visible here too as also in the similarity report. It is visible only after the Post Date. A pencil icon appears alongside the grade that can be clicked to open Feedback Studio to see the teacher's possible feedback. See the details in Student views feedback.
  13. If allowed by the teacher, you can resubmit your work until the due date or later if late submissions are allowed by clicking on Submit Paper. See Resubmission below for details.

    Student view of the submission box after the submission made has been processed and the similarity report created.


A resubmitted paper replaces the earlier file and the new report overwrites the earlier one. After three resubmissions, a report of the fourth file will be generated only after 24 hours. Resubmission may also be disabled by the teacher (setting "Report Generation Speed  = Generate reports immediately, resubmission not allowed").

If resubmission is allowed before the due date, you can first submit a draft of an assignment, inspect the resulting originality report, correct possible flaws, and then resubmit the corrected version for grading.

The similarity report

The similarity report is accessed via Feedback Studio by clicking on the similarity percentage or coloured rectangle in the submission box. Clicking on the document title opens the submission in Feedback Studio, but now the report must be turned on by clicking on the toggle switch 3 shown in the figure below. Activate the feedback-giving features by clicking on the location of the document where the feedback is to be given or on switch 2 shown in the figure below.

The similarity report viewed in Feedback Studio

Links to Turnitin's pages contain the details of the functionalities in the similarity report view:

Removing a submitted file

If the file is stored in the Turnitin standard repository (the comparison database), it will be stored there for the period determined by Aalto University. Teachers may remove files from the submission box in MyCourses, but this does not remove the submission from the comparison database. By default, submissions are not stored in the standard repository. However, your teacher will probably have changed this setting, especially for the final submission of different assignments. Also, the final submission of your thesis is stored in the standard repository. It is in your interest to save your submissions in the standard repository since in this way the submissions are protected against plagiarism.

If you want your submission removed from the repository, send a removal request with the link to the submission box and the paper ID to turnitin (at)aalto. fi. The work ID is on the digital receipt (item 8 above).

Note that the paper submitted in a course submission box cannot be removed until eight weeks after submission in order to allow for possible grading. However, papers submitted in the MyCourses workspace Independent Turnitin Originality Check for Academic Year 20xx-20yy can on request be deleted right away.

Thesis work

Bachelor's thesis

Typically, the drafts as well as the version to be graded (the final version) are submitted to your school's bachelor's thesis seminar course's MyCourses workspace. Ensure that this is the case with your thesis advisor or supervisor. You can check your drafts in the drafts submission box before the deadline and resubmit a corrected version. The earlier version will not affect the similarity report of the new version (see Resubmission above).

Master's thesis

Your thesis advisor or supervisor should have a personal, dedicated workspace for thesis instruction whose name has the form "Thesis supervision Name Surname 20xx-20yy" (see Thesis supervision workspace in MyCourses). Use MyCourses's search utility to look for the workspace using the workspace name and your advisor's or supervisor's name in the search field, that is "thesis supervision name surname" (leave out the year). If this workspace doesn't exist (=not found), you may request one on your advisor's or supervisor's behalf after informing them.

Enroll yourself in the workspace (see the instructions here) so that you can submit your work. Use the Draft boxes, for example Draft 1 to check your work before asking your advisor or supervisor to comment on your work. Agree on when they will comment on the work. Once you have received feedback, check the next draft of your thesis in another Draft box, say Draft 2. Agree on how many times you will receive feedback before making your final submission to be graded in the submission box for this purpose.

Work cycle for drafts of thesisNote: Drafts are not saved in Turnitin's standard repository (the comparison database).

Doctoral thesis

Follow the same procedure as above for master's thesis work. Use the draft submission boxes for your drafts. Submit the final version to be sent to the pre-examiners in the dedicated box for this purpose. The submission in the box for pre-examination is not stored in the standard repository; only the final version that is published is.

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