Thesis supervision workspace in MyCourses

Personal workspace for advising or supervising theses and dissertations

A ready-made workspace is meant for

  • supervisors/advisors/supervising professors to receive and comment thesis or dissertation versions (from now on the term supervisor is used for these different roles in these instructions)
  • students to send their thesis versions to their supervisor
  • receiving Turnitin similarity reports
    • on thesis drafts in order to help scientific writing and its support - and preventing unintentional or intentional plagiarism
    • on the thesis version that is graded in order to detect possible plagiarism
    • on the version of doctoral dissertation that will be assessed for pre-examination.

The snapshot below shows what the workspace template looks like in MyCourses. The workspace template is copied and renamed for each supervisor.

Workspace order form

Supervisor: order the personal workspace by filling in this form. The form is also found in MyCourses after you have logged in: In the white ribbon on the top, Service links > Workspace for thesis supervision.

You will get the workspace in three working days. The workspace is ready for usage with its Turnitin inboxes and instructions.

A name of a workspace consists three parts: "Supervisors's name" + "Opinnäytteet - Theses" + years of the workspace in use. Names and contents of workspaces differ slightly depending on the time when they were created. Some workspace names contain only the year of creation. The life cycle of the workspace is appr. 3 years at maximum.

Find the workspace in MyCourses

A supervisor will find her/his own workspace on MyCourses dashboard and in My own courses -dropdown menu after logging in to MyCourses.


  • inform your students by sending them the link of the workspace for submitting their thesis drafts.

A student can find her/his supervisor's workspace also independently:

  • by navigating: Schools > his/her own school > Thesis supervision > student's supervisor's workspace
  • by typing supervisor's name in MyCourses course search.

Students enroll themselves to the workspace before submitting

Students are informed on the homepage that they need to do two tasks before they can submit:

  • enroll to the workspace (Self enrolment on the Syllabus page)
  • answer the question about the level of their thesis.

Students submit and a supervisor receives on Thesis versions section (used to be Submissions)

Thesis versions section contains "Turnitin assignment" activities for submitting and giving feedback:

  • a student sees her/his own submission in the inbox, but a supervisor can see a list of all students and their submissions
  • Activities named as "Draft - Luonnos":
    • if a student submits more than 5 drafts (especially when writing several articles for the doctoral thesis), a supervisor can copy a "Draft ..." activity and rename it for the next version
    • in draft activities submissions are not copied in Turnitin student papers repository.
  • Other activities are named for versions that will be assessed (a version for pre-examination) or graded. Activities can be added or hidden if needed. For example, in the School of BIZ students should submit their thesis versions for grading in a certain workspace in MyCourses. Then the activity "Master's thesis - version for grading" can be hidden.

A Turnitin similarity report is generatad automatically on each submission in 24 hours at the latest.

A student is assisted to send a link of the submission inbox to his or her supervisor after submission.

Supervisor: automatic notifications of Turnitin submissions are off by default. You can turn them on in MyCourses: Your name > Personal preferences > Notifications > Turnitin assignment > Turnitin Assignment Instructor Digital Receipt notifications.

Unfortunately, notifications can not be set for a single Turnitin assignment activity. The setting involves all Turnitin activities in the workspaces where you have a teacher's role. If you have several courses with Turnitin activities in progress at the same, consider if notifications can be put on.

NOTE! A clear difference between the activities for drafts and versions for grading is needed, because the meaning of a Turnitin similarity report differs depending on the phase of the thesis process:

  • a similarity report on a draft is a help with supervising scientific writing, correcting errors and preventing plagiarism in time
  • a similarity report on the version that is graded is a help with assessing ethics of the thesis. If plagiarism is suspected during assessing, a handling procedure will begin according to the Aalto University Code of Adademic integrity. Dissertation version for pre-examination is handled in a similar way as a "version that is graded".

Feedback on a submission and interpreting a Turnitin similarity report

A submitted paper can be read in a way that a Turnitin report is seen as a similarity layer on the paper (Similarity layer) when possible similarities between the paper and other sources are seen as coloured parts on the text. It is recommended to read the paper with the similarity layer on as the similarities can be interpreted while reading. You can also turn the similarity layer off if needed.

In order to give student feedback you can

  • paint or strikethrough a part of the text and comment it or attach a drag-and-drop phrase on it
  • reuse your saved comments, so called quickmark comments from your personal QuickMark sets
  • attach an assessing rubric (or a list of criteria)
  • link your comments to the rubric
  • add a voice comment on the whole document (3 minutes at maximum)

A student can view his or her submission, the Turnitin similarity report and possible comments from the supervisor.

Detailed instructions:

For iPad users there is Feedback Studio for iOS app.

Turnitin paper ID needed, for example, for a pre-examination form

A Turnitin paper ID is used for pointing a specific Turnitin similarity report. The paper ID is seen in the submission inbox on the submission row.

The Turnitin paper ID is recommended to be added into pre-examination form in order to infor the pre-examiners that the Turnitin similarity report has been used as a help in assessing the ethics of the dissertation paper.

The Turnitin paper ID can be added to any other assessment where the assessor wants to point out that Turnitin similarity report has been used as a help during the assessing process. If a handling procedure of suspected plagiarism takes place, a Turnitin paper ID can be referred in it.

Turnitin similarity report on supervisor's own draft

A supervisor can get Turnitin similarity reports also on one's own drafts (of an article for example). A possibility to submit in Draft - Luonnos activities is arranged in the following way (this feature is instantly available in workspaces that were created as of the second half of May 2020) :

1) open a Draft - Luonnos inbox > choose Permissions from the settings (drop down menu) > add a permission for Advanced teacher to Submit to Turnitin Tool Assignments

2) add a role of an Advanced teacher to the supervisor in Participants section

3) supervisor's name can be seen now in the inbox among students. Submit a file by clicking the cloud icon (=submit paper).

Scheduler activity for booking supervision appointments

There is Appointment booking for supervision activity on the home page. A supervisor can use it or hide it:

  • Using: you can mark your regular appointment slots to the scheduler where students can book them, or you can mark the appointment you just agreed on with the student (it is a shared information about the appointment).
  • Hiding: Turn editing on > click Edit next to the acitivity > Hide.

You can also write down notes for an appointment which are visible for the student.

Editing the workspace

A supervisor can edit the ready-made workspace as any other workspace with teacher's role in MyCourses. A ready-made workspace contains instructions in three languages: a user sees one language version depending on the interface language he/she has chosen. This has to be taken into account if those instructions are edited.

A life cycle of a workspace is 3 years at maximum

A workspace is deleted after three years. It is recommended to order a new workspace well before the deadline.