Turnitin instructions for printing - teachers
Turnitin for Teachers
Start printing by choosing Tools > Export to Pdf (on the right). Please, note that if this page is printed, the latest updated version of these instructions is seen only online: https://wiki.aalto.fi/display/turnitin > Turnitin for Teachers. Date of printing:
Course assignments or thesis (Case A)
Motto: It's better to prevent than to detect!
Add a Turnitin Assignment activity
Log in to mycourses.aalto.fi and go to your course workspace.
Add a Turnitin Assignment as follows (see the same steps numbered 1-10 in) :
- Click Turn editing on and Add an activity (Note: do not add Turnitin assignment activity by copying an existing activity. More information about "Duplicate copies..." notification)
- Choose T urnitin Assignment from the list, and Add it.
- Add a name and a summary and click Save and display in the bottom of the page.
- Edit dates by clicking the pencil icon.
- Start date = Submission box is availabe for students.
- Due date = Submission box is closed.
- From the Post date on students can see feedback and grades given by the teacher.
- To set a grade scale or change the default settings, click Update this Turnitin Assignment. It is recommended, that you inform students about the chosen settings in Summary.
Please read also the chapter "Arrange students a possibility to practice" after screenshots.
Picture series. Creating a Turnitin submission box
File types for Turnitin similarity check
File types that are that are accepted for Turnitin similarity check are listed in students' instructions.
Turnitin Assignment settings explained
Note! If you change default settings, inform students about chosen settings in the Turnitin Assignment Summary.
The following settings are spesific for a Turnitin assignment. There are also settings under titles Grade, Common Module Settings and Restrict Access that are common for all Moodle activities. Remember to set the "Grade" (the default value is "100" which means the grading scale 1-100).
|Settings of Turnitin Assignment||Default value||Some cases when settings need editing (chosen value bolded)|
|Submission Type||File upload||Text submission: if a file type is not accepted by Turnitin, plain texts can be copied into the editing box (online text)|
|Any Submission Type, if both files and online texts are allowed|
|Number of Parts||1 part|
2 or 3 Parts: if file size can is bigger than 40 MB, it has to be splitted into two or more files.
2 parts: the first part for a draft and another part for a final version of an assignment
|Student similarity reports||Yes|
|Allow Late Submissions||No||Yes, if the due date is only a recommendation but not strict|
|Report Generation Speed||Generate reports immediately, reports can be overwritten until due date||Generate reports on due date, resubmissions are allowed until due date for the final version, if there has been another submission box for drafts.|
|Store Student Papers||No Repository||Standard Repository (= global repository), if submitted papers should be compared against each other and protected against plagiarism globally. Standard Repository is recommended instead of Institutional Repository. After Due Date submissions are compared to each other and all similarity check reports are updated if they were formed right after submitting.|
|Institutional Repository (= Aalto repository), if submitted papers should be compared against each other and |
protected against plagiarism inside Aalto University. After Due Date submissions are compared to each other and all similarity check reports are updated if they were formed right after submitting.
|Check against stored student papers||Yes|
|Check against stored internet||Yes||No, if papers submitted are compared only against each other|
|Check against journals, periodicals and publications||Yes||No, if papers submitted are compared only against each other|
|Exclude Bibliography||No**||Yes, if the following three conditions are valid at the same time: a big file size (= it would take too long time to change this setting while viewing the similarity report), a bibliography will result a significant part of overall similarity percentage, you want to see the percentage concerning only the rest of the paper|
|Exclude Quoted Material||No**|
|Exclude Small Matches||No**||Yes, if you know from experience that typical phrases or definitions of the field cause "useless" matches in the similarity check report. For example, matches up to 3 words are excluded or matches under 1% of the paper are excluded.|
** These settings can be changed also on the fly while viewing the similarity report.
Arrange students a possibility to practice
There are alternative ways to arrange students a possibility to practice similarity check before the final submission (which is graded).
1) Create only one Turnitin assignment acitivity with default settings.
Only one due date for an assignment can be set, but a student can submit a draft well before the due date. A student sees the similarity report, interprets it, edits the draft if needed and resubmits a final version before the due date. The latter version overwrites the earlier version and its similarity report. Students can consult the teacher in interpreting the report if needed. Remember to write about this possibility in Summary of the submission box. A disadvantage in this way is that if a teacher gives feedback on a draft version, it is overwritten when student submits another version.
2) Create only one Turnitin assignment activity with altered settings.
Choose "Number of Parts = 2" in the settings. The first part is for a draft and the other one for the final version. Separate due dates can be set for each part. Teacher can give feedback about drafts and possible issues found in the similarity report.
If papers need to be compared against each other, choose the setting "Store student papers = Standard repository". A student's draft (saved in the part 1) is not compared against his/her final version (saved in the part 2).
3) Create two Turnitin assignment activities, one with default settings and the other one with altered settings.
Separate due dates for a draft and a final version can be set. Teacher can give feedback about drafts and possible issues found in the similarity report.
If papers need to be compared against each other, choose this feature only for final versions (choose the setting "Store student papers = Standard repository"). A disadvantage in this way is that possible issues between papers in the same inbox comes out only in final versions.
See pedagogical tips for supporting writing of an assignment by dividing it to subtasks
View and manage students' submissions
In order to see a submission and its originality report do the following (same steps are presented in the picture series below):
- Go to your course workspace in MyCourses and open the Turnitin assignment (submission box) by clicking its name
- Choose Submission Inbox
- Open a student's document and its originality report by clicking a percentage under Similarity column. Turnitin view opens in a new browser window. If there is a notice Pending instead of a percentage, the originality report is not ready yet. Click Refresh submissions to see the latest state of it.
- After clicking the percentage a new window opens. It is the Turnitin Originality view on the student's document.
- The next step: Interpret the originality report
Note! If some students inform that they can not submit and they get User not found notification, the issue can be resolved by a teacher: click Enroll all students. If you click this button before students start to submit, this problem can be prevented.
A tip: If you want to find a paper by a certain student among dozens of papers, type student's surname into Search field.
Picture series. Teacher views submissions and originality reports.
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.
Give Feedback in GradeMark view
Overview of Feedback studio (click the picture to maximise it):
Links to the Turnitin Instructor guides:
Rubrics and grading forms
- The following rubrics that are used in Aalto University can be uploaded into your own Turnitin Feedback Studio. Note, that the contect of the file can be viewed only in Feedback Studio
See also how students view feedback in Feedback Studio.
- Rights and responsibilities - Use of Turnitin is regulated by Aalto University Code of Academic Integrity
- Supporting scientific writing during program
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.
Other papers (Case B)
Examples: You would like to check originality of your own papers as a faculty member, or papers that are written by people outside Aalto University.
Note! There is a known issue with turnitin.aalto.fi: functions will end in error notifications. Furthermore, if you log in with your Aalto acccount, your Turnitin account may be inactivated.
Turnitin can be accessed via MyCourses.aalto.fi. In order to get a Turnitin similarity report of your own paper, you can use workspace "Independent Turnitin Originality Check" in the same way as students do.
If you need assistance or if your access to Turnitin via MyCourses is not successful, please contact turnitin[ät]aalto.fi.
Note about rights and responsibilities
If papers are written by Aalto University students, it is recommended to follow the Case: Course assignments or thesis instead of this practice.
Reasons for avoiding submission of students' papers via turnitin.aalto.fi based on the Aalto University Code of Academic Integrity
- equal treating of students is endangered, if only some of thesis or assignments are checked by a teacher instead of all students submitting papers by themselves in MyCourses
- students may not be informed about Turnitin beforehand
- does not support student’s timely learning if Originality Check is done only while grading - Turnitin is used for detecting rather than for preventing
- if Originality Check is done only while grading, more investigating processes are likely to start compared to preventive practices
- assignments can not be compared against each other, because they can not be saved in the Turnitin student repository without author's consent.
- more workload for teachers compared to the Case: Course assignments or thesis when students submit themselves.
Create a submission inbox and submit
Before you can submit files for Turnitin originality check, create a workspace and a submission inbox.
Important! If you check a paper written by an another author or written together with other authors, you must choose "No repository" in the submission box settings (see nr 15 in the screen capture below).
Log in with your Aalto account and password in turnitin.aalto.fi.
If you use Turnitin for the first time ever, you are asked to agree a Turnitin User Agreement in a pop-up window. If you can not proceed, check that pop-ups are allowed in the browser.
After logging in follow numbers 1-25 in screen capture pictures.
See instructions how to interpret the originality report.
Interpret the originality report
Developing writing skills during degree programs
It is described in the chapter Writing is a skill that students need training in writing and information acquisition. They also need support.
How do we ensure this during degree programs?
It is good to remember that new students start not only in a candidate program but also on other degree levels. If there are writing assignments and Turnitin submission boxes in the beginning of every degree program, we can ensure that all students get familiar with criteria of writing and the code of academic integrity. It is also valuable experience about writing before starting a thesis.
Why do people plagiarise and how do we prevent it?
|Why do people plagiarise?||What can we do about it?|
All people break rules, if they consider it harmless.
Make integrity policies and tools visible. Use Turnitin for submissions.
Writing under pressure can make anybody deceit
Students lack writing skills (it is emphasized if they write in foreign language) and deep understanding of the code of academic integrity
Let students experience Turnitin originality check with drafts before submitting papers for grading
Assignment types that encourage writing in own words
Ideas for designing writing assignments that encourage students writing in own words are presented in the KTH publication Guiding students away from plagiarism (Carroll and Zetterling, 2009, 42-50). Read illuminative examples of assignments from the guidebook. A summary of the ideas is compiled in the following table:
problems that already have an existing answer
action verb like rank, plan, alter, invent > it stimulates interest that work has to be done
questions that make it easy to copy from other students
questions individualised with data or resources
generic or worn out questions
spesific questions about more general topic
assignments that require skills that are not taught yet
assignments that are divided into parts that train pointed skills
too hard assignments
a suitable challenge
open criteria about what aspects are valued
Writing process and tools for writing
See the chapter Skilful writing and plagiarism avoidance in students' Turnitin instructions:
- Writing as a process
- Information seeking and managing references
- Handling references - examples of plagiarism and non-plagiarism
- Co-operation in writing
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.