Turnitin instructions for printing - students
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Submitting to Turnitin in mycourses.aalto.fi
Are you submitting a draft or a final version for grading?
Aalto University Code of Academic Integrity recommends that a teacher a rranges students a possibility to practice originality check before the final submission (which is graded).
Idea of practising is to prevent possible mistakes in using sources and writing in own words. If these kind of mistakes, like minor changes to the source text (which is one form of plagiarism), are found in a paper during grading, a teacher can not grade the paper before the case has been handled according to the procedure described in Aalto University Code of Academic Integrity .
A teacher can arrange practising in several different ways. If there seemed to be only one submission inbox for an assignment which will be graded, it can, however, contain a possibility to a draft submission before a final version, see more information in teacher's instructions. If you are not sure whether the submission inbox in question contains this feature, ask it from your teacher.
If a course workspace does not contain a possibility to practice Turnitin submission or your thesis supervisor has not arranged a MyCourses workspace for thesis supervision, you can also go to Independent Turnitin Originality Check which is a common workspace for all students in MyCourses.
Supported file formats and file sizeThe supported file formats for Turnitin originality check are
Microsoft Word® (.doc/.docx)
OpenOffice Text (.odt)
Hangul Word Processor file (.hwp)
Rich text format (.rtf)
Plain text (.txt)
Google Docs via Google Drive™
- Adobe® PDF
Microsoft PowerPoint® (.pptx, .ppt, .ppsx, and .pps)
Microsoft Excel® (.xls and .xlsx)
A LaTeX file should be typeset into PDF-format with PdfLaTex: run the .tex source code and a pdf file is created. If you write your thesis, use only the Aalto LaTeX templates for thesis and follow the given instructions: a template for basic degrees and licentiate thesis, and a template for the doctoral thesis (Link will be provided later). Otherwise the file may not be read by Turnitin.
A file should contain at least 20 words. The maximum file size is 100MB or less than 800 pages. If the file is bigger than that, you have to split it into two separate files and submit the first one into Part 1 and the other one into Part 2. By default, there is only Part 1 in a submission box. Teacher can add parts by editing the settings.
See a full description of restrictions in submitting files in Turnitin guides.
Submission in MyCourses workspace
Follow the steps 1-16 marked on the screenshots below.
1. Turnitin submission inbox is marked with a Turnitin icon in a MyCourses workspace.
2. Assingment instructions can be seen under Description. If you hide the description by clicking the green spot (turns +), the submission function (5.) can be seen more easily.
3. A submission inbox can contain one or more tabs for submitting as it is in this screen capture: Draft and Final version. By default, tabs are named Part 1, Part 2, ..., but a teacher can rename them. Check that you are submitting on the right tab.
4. The highest grade of a grading scale can be seen under the title Maximum mark. The default scale is 1-100, which can be seen also in cases when a teacher does not give a grade, but assesses submissions in other ways. If a teacher has attached assessing criteria to the assignment, an rubric icon can be seen next to the maximum mark.
5. Start submitting.
6. Write a title of your work.
7. Start choosing a file from your computer (alternatively, drag and drop a file).
7.1. Browse and select a file
7.2. Confirm your file selection.
8. Submission is not possible without checking the agreement box. Your agreement is asked even if papers are not stored in the Turnitin Student Paper Repository. Papers saved in the repository are protected against plagiarism. Teacher has chosen in settings whether submissions are stored in the repository or not. It is recommended that she/he informs students about the choice.
9. Add the submission. If you use Turnitin for the first time ever, you are asked to agree the Turnitin User Agreement.
10. A digital receipt appear on screen if the submission was succesful. If you get any other notification, read tips from Turnitin support.
11. A receipt of a submission is also available in the submission inbox.
12. - 13. Turnitin originality report is ready as soon as a similarity percentage appears in the inbox (12.). It takes from several minutes up to 24 hours. If there is a notice Pending instead of a percentage, click Refresh Submissions (nr 13) to see the latest state. A teacher might have changed the default settings. For example, a student can not see an originality report at all or a report will be generated only after the due date.
Open the originality report and possible feedback by clicking the percentage. The view is opened on a new (browser) tab and it may take a moment, because Turnitin Feedback studio opens and MyCourses remains in the other tab.
Note! Do not pay too much attention to the similarity percentage. Similarities must always be interpreted. Some matches can be ok, like matches in a reference list, but some may not be ok. See tips for interpreting a report.
14.-15. Possible feedback and grade given by a teacher is available after the date Assessment available (14) when the pencil icon appears in the inbox (15). Click the pencil icon to enter Turnitin Feedback studio. See the next chapter Student views feedback
16. Possible resubmission is possible if Submit Paper link is available. See more information about resubmission below.
A resubmitted paper replaces the earlier file and the new report overwrites the earlier one. After 3 resubmissions a report of the fourth file will not be generated sooner than 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 submit a draft of an assignment at first, interpret the originality report of it, correct possible flaws and resubmit the corrected version for grading.
Removing a submitted file
If the file is stored in Turnitin student paper repository (comparison database), it will be stored there as long as Aalto University determines. Teachers may remove files from the inbox in MyCourses, but this action does not remove the submission from the comparison database. By default the submissions are not stored into a repository. But your teacher may have changed this setting. It is students' interest to save their submissions into the repository as they are protected against plagiarism.
If you want your submission removed from the repository, send a removal request with the paper ID to turnitin(at)aalto.fi. The work ID is on the digital receipt.
However, the paper submitted in a course submission inbox can not be removed for 8 weeks after submitting because of possible grading. A paper submitted in the workspace Independent Turnitin originality check can be deleted right away.
- Note! These instructions are available only online
How is the similarity report (originality report) interpreted?
Turnitin originality report has to be always interpreted as it can not show whether the text is written following guidelines on academic writing or subject spesific instructions. The report is a tool to help assessing and supervising by showing similarities between the text at hand and comparison sources.
Quick Guide of Originality View
Picture Originality view (below) is a quick guide to start examining the originality report.
Watch also a Demo video of Turnitin Originality Report (2:53, click "Demo").
Picture. Originality view. Click the picture to maximise it.
Take an Overview of the Report
Before reading the paper, spend just a minute for a quick overview by browsing through the originality match overview (number 1 in the picture).
Matches show up as colored. See if the matches with different sources, are
- small spots here and there → No need to react at this point
- bigger chunks in the middle of the text or → Are they properly marked quotations? Are they justified? If not, take a closer look before assessing the paper.
- bigger chunks in the bibliography → No need to react at this point
- making the overall similarity index percentage over 25% → browse through the originality check report more carefully.
Read the paper as usual and interpret similarities
After a quick overview, read the paper as usual. Interpret similarities in the context. At least now, it is time to recall what are the typical forms of plagiarism.
Teacher: click now to GradeMark view, where you can asses the paper and interpret similarities at the same time (number 4 in the picture Originality view). If you need to see the match details of the originality report, it is easy to go back and forth between Originality and GradeMark views.
What does the similarity index percentage contain and how to interpret it?
First of all, do not pay too much attention to the similarity percentage. It is a relative number and it does not tell relevance of found similarities. Similarities need to be interpreted in their context. This is why it is better to read and assess papers and interpret the similarities at the same time in Turnitin.
The percentage can contain both "good" and "bad" matches: it is necessary to read the paper and interpret the similarities in the context before plagiarism can be suspected.
"Good" similarities can be
- typical phrases, mathematical formulas or definitions of the field which can not be expressed otherwise
- citings and bibliography, when sources connected to them can be checked easily
- quotations marked with quotation marks (Turnitin identifies quotation marked with quotation marks, but it does not identify one marked with italics)
- a big part of the overall similarity percentage, see the chapter Filter Matches.
- can form only a small percentage of similarities, but if they are found in an important part of the text, they can be significant
- similarities here and there can bring forward the kind of plagiarism where only minor changes has been made to the source text.
Settings of the submission box influence on the similarity index percentage.
To exclude acceptable similarities in the Originality Check report you can change 3 settings while examining the report (see picture Filters)
- Exclude bibliographic materials from Similarity Index for all papers in this assignment? = YES
- Exclude quoted materials from Similarity Index for all papers in this assignment? = YES
- Note: if quoting has been made with indentation or italics, exclusion does not work
- If there is plenty of quotations in the text, quotations should be included in the report for checking if they are all indicated
- Exclude Small Matches = 1 (or 2) Words
Exclude Matching Sources
Any of the sources can be excluded from the originality report if needed. For example, if a latter version of the paper is compared to the earlier version, the earlier version can be excluded (see tips how submissions of several versions of the same paper can be arranged). To exclude a source, choose "All sources" view (see picture All sources -view) and choose the source which should be excluded. If different versions of the same paper are submitted into the same submission box, the versions are not compared to each other.
Picture. All sources -view.
Explore matching sources
When interpreting the similarity, you can explore how a match is located in a matching source. Click a number of a match (see nr 3 in the picture Originality view) to get the full source view.
Turnitin does not cover it all - Turnitin comparison databases
The originality report is a good tool, but it is not the whole truth. It does not find all possible similarities. See the description of Turnitin comparison databases (repositories). You can search for scholarly journals that are included in database of licensed publications (content partnerships). Although the content repositories of Turnitin are vast there are still contents which are not included. Naturally, non-digital sources are not there. More contents in Finnish have to be indexed in future.
Note: At the moment, Aalto University has not purchased the tool of checking translation plagiarism.
Teacher: if the writing style changes, but matches are not found, be aware of possible plagiarism. This is the traditional way of noticing texts that are not written in own words by the author.
Procedure if plagiarism is suspected
Read the chapter Aalto University Code of Academic Integrity about the procedure which should be followed if plagiarism is suspected.
How do I get feedback in Feedback Studio?
Open Feedback Studio to get feedback from a teacher
1. Possible feedback from a teacher can be seen only after the date Assessment available. Contact the teacher, if you should already get feedback but the date is in future.
2. Open the feedback view by clicking any of the links marked in the screen capture. Feedback Studio opens on a new tab.
Check different forms of feedback
A teacher can give feedback in three different ways and you should check all of them (numbers 1 to 3 in the screen capture):
1. A possible grade is located in the right upper corner. This grade can be seen also in MyCourses inbox.
2. Check that the feedback written on the document is shown: a black icon = instructor feedback layer is hidden, a blue icon = instructor feedback layer is shown. If the icon is black, click it in order to see feedback.
2.1 Click a speech bubble to see a comment in it. See also numbers 2.1.1 - 2.1.2. in the next screen capture.
2.2 Some parts can be crossed out from the text.
2.3 Some comments can be seen straight on the document.
2.4 A teacher might have highlighted parts of the text with a colour with a bubble comment next to it.
3. Click the blue speech bubble to see feedback concerning the whole document. Instructor feedback view opens on the right. See also numbers 3.1.-3.3. in another screen capture below.
4. If a teacher has highlighted parts of the text with colours, you can temporarily hide similarity colours (number 4.1 in the screen capture) by clicking the icon of the similarity layer (number 4). A red icon = similarity layer is shown, a black icon = a similarity layer is hidden.
5. You can download a pdf file of your document with all feedback put together apart from a possible audio feedback:
2.1. Click a white speech bubble to see the comment in it. You can see initials of the teacher next to the bubble.
2.1.1. A comment opens in a pop up window.
2.1.2. If a teacher has linked the comment with one of the assessment criteria, the criterion in question can be seen in the left upper corner.
3.1. Click View rubric to see the assessment criteria of the assignment in a pop up window (if a teacher has attached a rubric in this assignment).
3.2 Listen a voice comment (the icon is not shown if there is none).
3.3. A text comment on the whole document can be seen here.
Aalto University Code of Academic Integrity
Important about rights and responsibilities
Use of Turnitin is regulated by Aalto University Code of Academic Integrity
Using Turnitin similarity check (or originality check) is regulated by Aalto University Code of Academic Integrity viewable in Into.
It describes rights and responsibilities of students and teachers, typical forms of plagiarism and how to handle suspicions of plagiarism and possible consequences of plagiarism.
Rights and responsibilities
|As a student||As a teacher|
Typical forms of plagiarism
- Quotations or word-for-word citing without clear indication
- Minor changes to the source text
- Inadequate citing or referencing
- Copy-pasting from an online source
- Direct translation without quotations
- Collusion – co-workers are not mentioned or peers’ work is included in an assignment that should have been produced independently
Sometimes the division between plagiarism and bad academic writing is not black and white, but grey. What can be considered as minor changes? How long can the quotation be? What if a reference is found in the reference list, but the citation is missing or vice versa? The starting point is, that everything has to be written in own words, but of course, concepts and terms of the field have to be used. See some writing tips in the chapter Writing is a skill.
Procedure of Handling and Consequences of plagiarism
The procedure in case of suspicion of plagiarism and possible consequences are described in full detail in the Chapter 4 of Aalto University Code of Academic Integrity.
Plagiarism suspected during supervising
If plagiarism is suspected during supervising, teacher can asisst the student without implications.
However, if the student has been remiss about the academic integrity again during the thesis writing process or a course, teacher can contact the investigator even before the grading phase.
Plagiarism suspected during grading
The process of handling suspicions of plagiarism is condensed in a flow chart picture.
The same points are also presented in a PowerPoint presentation (as pdf-file)
Picture. Procedure of handling suspected plagiarism as a flow chart. Click the picture to maximize it.
If plagiarism is suspected during grading, teacher interprets if the violation seems to be
a) unclear, when he/she asks the student an explanation either in writing or orally. If the explanation is
- a "minor negligence or misunderstanding, the teacher guides the student on correct working methods" and asks student a resubmission.
- not convincing, she/he passes the plagiarism suspicion to the investigator for handling. Teacher gives investigator a pdf version of a see number 4 in the overview of Feedback Studio to get a pdf version of the report ) and an interpretation of it as an argument (
Note: suspicions of plagiarism can not be handled by lowering the grade. Nor can teacher fail the work her/himself before the case has been passed to the investigator and "a misconduct has been verified by the dean or the university president or board". The aim is to educate students avoiding plagiarism.
b) strongly suspected
- the teacher informs the student about suspicion of plagiarism. It is good, if the teacher goes through the similarity report with the student before contacting the investigator. The Teacher passes the case to the investigator of the school for handling. Teacher gives investigator the Turnitin similarity report and interpretation of it as an argument
- the student is interviewed during the handling process
- possible results of the handling are the following:
- the case is not considered as misconduct or it is considered a minor one, and teacher is advised how to evaluate the assignment/thesis
- the case is considered as misconduct and the student gets caution and/or the fixed-term suspension. The teacher is advised to fail the assignment/thesis because of a misconduct.
A teacher can consult the investigator, if it is difficult to decide what kind of violation it is here.
Investigators and decision makers
Heads of student affairs/learning services (or Head of Academic Affairs) work as investigators. Their contact information (people.aalto.fi, log in with your Aalto account to get contact information):
- School of Arts, Design and Architecture: Iiris Kauppila
- Anni Rintala :
- Pia Lahti :
- Mari Syväoja :
- School of Electrical Engineering: Perttu Puska
- School of Engineering: Milla Vaisto-Oinonen
- Mari Knuuttila :
Investigator leads an investigation process, but a decision of violation handling process is made by a dean or a president depending on how severe the case is or what is the level of studies concerned.
How to aim at skilful writing and avoid plagiarism
Writing and academic writing are skills and therefore need practising. No one is born a master. Aiming at skilful writing is improving your thinking and vice versa.
Practise to become a skilful writer
Notice risks of plagiarism
Know information-seeking techniques. Select authoritative sources. Gather sources into a reference manager. Copy-paste but keep them in a separate file and attach citings. Write notes with citings.
Copy-pasted parts from other sources are mixed with writings of your own. Source information is lost.
Reserve time for thinking, choosing your personal views on the topic. Write in own words without looking the reference or copy-pasted parts in the separate file.
Procrastination, not enough time for writing. Modifiying copy-pasted parts, too long quotations.
Give credit to the sources you use as support or an argument of your view. Cite and form a list of references with help of a reference manager.
Forgetting where the ideas came from. Managing citings and a reference list manually in the last minute.
Co-operate in good way, discuss, get feedback.
Make use of the help of peers, asking ready solutions.
Writing as a process
Every writing task is a process with several phases. In a short assignment phases take less time. Due dates between the phases help with time management. You can set the due dates for yourself or they can be set by the teacher. Instead of a single due date for an assignment, having several due dates for draft and final versions may be helpful. For a large paper, more steps can be added: e.g. rough draft, polished draft, final submission.
Picture. A model of a writing process by Lannon (2006) where Turnitin and a reference manager are added as tools. (Click the picture to enlarge it)
Information seeking and managing references
- A guide to Information-seeking by Aalto University Learning Centre includes the following themes:
- Decide where you store references before you start seeking information
- RefWorks is the reference manager supported by Aalto University Learning Centre.
- See a comparison of several reference managers in wikipedia
Handling references - examples of plagiarism and non-plagiarism
- Already when making notes from the original text, always summarise in your own words or mark quotations and citation when copied
- Keep the original texts and your own texts in separate places. A reference manager is a good place for the original texts of others.
- See examples of plagiarism and non-plagiarism published by University of Helsinki: Don't copy! Be a good writer! Instructions for Students
- Do a quiz about types of plagiarism
Co-operation in writing
- During writing it's good to ask feedback on drafts. Also discussing with peers can be fun and helpful. Learn to make good use of comments and the feedback you get. Do it from your point of view and in your own words.
- When writing a work together with a group, follow the criteria given for the work: what is your contribution to the work and what can you expect from others?
Lannon, J. M. 2006. Technical Communication. 10th ed. New York: Pearson Longman.
Contact your teacher or supervisor in the following issues:
- features of the Turnitin submission inbox in your course
- interpretation of the Turnitin originality check report.
Contact turnitin(at)aalto.fi in the following issues:
- Technical problems in Turnitin submission inbox
- A request of removing your paper from the Turnitin student papers repository. You need to provide the paper ID to be removed. It can not be removed until the assignment has been graded.
- Suggestions to improve these instructions or usage of Turnitin in Aalto University.
Contact turnitin(at)aalto.fi for pedagogical and technical support:
- Ask for a 1-3 hour Turnitin training
- Request consulting for course development or thesis supervising with Turnitin
- Report technical problems
- Request a paper removal from the Turnitin student papers repository. You need to provide the paper ID to be removed.
- Ask questions or suggest improvements to these instructions.
Available Turnitin and MyCourses trainings are listed here: https://www.aalto.fi/en/services/training-to-support-digital-teaching
Check also MyCourses instructions if needed.
If plagiarism is suspected, contact the investigator of your School (Head of Academic Affairs).
Turnitin provides newsletters about best practices, resources etc. You can sign up to Turnitin Newsletters and Communications mailing list.
Students - Frequently Asked Questions and Known issues
1.1. "Turnitin Error" notification when agreeing Turnitin User Agreement
1.2. I don't manage to submit a paper without checking the consent box although the paper should not be saved in the repository. I wonder, whether my paper is saved in the Turnitin student papers repository (comparison database) or not?
1.3. "Exception - User not found" or "API Warning Error: 212" notification prevents paper submission.
E-mail the notification to the teacher. Teacher can fix the issue.
1.4. "The email address needs to conform to Internet Standard RFC822" notification prevents paper submission.
Students of Open university get this notification if they have not activated their email connected to their Aalto account. The problem is solved after a student activates his/her email in the service https://password.aalto.fi/ and logs into MyCourses again.
1.5. 1Why does file upload into MyCourses Turnitin submission inbox last so long (over 2 minutes)? It seems "frozen".
1.6. "Error in uploading" prevents me submitting a file. What went wrong?
Check that the file type is among the accepted ones: Check the accepted file types in Turnitin and other tips for solving the uploading error.
1.7. "There was an error trying to create the submission in Turnitin. Message: Your submission must contain 100 characters or more. | Code: 0"
There should not be more than one dot (the dot just before the file extension such as .pdf) in the file name
1.8. What if I do not give my consent to save my paper in the Turnitin student papers repository? How can I submit?
Contact your teacher or supervisor how to submit your paper. However , the teacher can check your paper with Turnitin Originality Check without saving it in the repository.
1.9. How long do I have to wait for the originality report of my paper?
1.10. The originality report does not appear in the browser window that was opened.
If you are using Firefox browser, open the Turnitin report by clicking the similarity percentage with right mouse click and choosing "Open link in new tab" or "Open link in new window".
1.11. My paper was saved in a repository and I want it removed.
You can send the paper ID (it is found in the submission box) and a request to remove the paper from the comparison database to firstname.lastname@example.org
Faculty - Frequently Asked Questions and Known issues
|Issue||What kind of problems does it cause?||How to deal with the issue?|
1,1, The originality report does not appear in the browser window that was opened.
User waits something to happen but the browser window stays empty. This seems to happen with Firefox browser.
If you are using Firefox browser, open the Turnitin report by clicking the similarity percentage with right mouse click and choosing "Open link in new tab" or "Open link in new window" or try another browser.
1.2. Student's consent is required although submissions are not saved in Turnitin student papers repository (while submitting in MyCourses)
Students might find it confusing that they can not submit papers without checking the consent box even if submissions are not saved in the repository.
Papers are not saved in the repository by default. If teacher changes this setting, students should be informed in Summary.
1.3. students get the error notification "Exception - User not found" while submitting their papers into Turnitin submission box in MyCourses.
Some students can submit their papers fine, but some can not.
Teacher can enroll students manually in Submission Inbox > Enroll All Students.
1.4. A notification "API Warning Error: 212" appears when one tries to open a submission or when a student tries to submit.
Submitting or opening a submission is not possible. A connection between MyCourses and Turnitin does not work.
A teacher can click Enroll All Students button in the Submission inbox in order to refresh the connection between MyCourses and Turnitin. This action can last dozens of minutes, if there are plenty of students as workspace members.
1.5.An error notification "Duplicate copies of the same Turnitin assignments were found..." appears. This happens, when a Turnitin activity (or several) has been copied or imported to this workspace or this activity has been copied to another workspace. The copied Turnitin activity is still connected to the former workspace (or activity) in Turnitin's end of service.
The copies of the activity can not be used.
Note! There are 2 possible solutions: Create a new Turnitin activity (or several) or email a link of the course workspace to email@example.com and ask to reset Turnitin activities.
1.6. Duplicate submissions are shown in the submission inbox and at least the other one has the status Pending. Duplicates appear after the originality report of the paper is generated, if Turnitin view of the submission is opened earlier while an originality report is still waited for the paper.
How to make the duplicate disappear.
Click the refresh icon for either submission row in the submission inbox. Note, that clicking the Refresh Submissions button at the top does not fix this.
1.7. Sorting submissions in the submission inbox at the MyCourses end does not sort the submissions at the Turnitin end of the service. Submissions at the Turnitin end are sorted out according to similarity percentages so that the biggest one is the first.
Assessing submissions according to alphabetical order of students' names or according to submission times is not supported in Turnitin GradeMark view.
Assess papers in GradeMark view following the order what it supports. Given grades are also seen at the MyCourses end in Submission Inbox and in Grades (automatic summary of assingments and their grades) where they are sorted according to alphabetical order of students' names.