Turnitin (accessed directly through Moodle course spaces) is widely known as ‘the plagiarism detection service’. While it is true that Turnitin does support and streamline the detection of a range of plagiarism offences, it offers many more benefits to the staff and students at Royal Holloway, and almost every other UK H.E. institution, many schools, and a number of examination bodies. These include electronic submission, online marking, rapid feedback, archiving, and peer review of submitted work.
What is Turnitin?
Turnitin plagiarism prevention and originality checking service is recognised as the worldwide standard for detecting, deterring and ultimately preventing web-based plagiarism, collusion, ‘assignment recycling’ and ‘essay banking’.
It also protects students’ original work from being used without citation by another person, and serves as a learning tool to help academics and students better identify and correct unintentional plagiarism, poor referencing and other information literacy issues.
Turnitin’s comprehensive plagiarism prevention system allows marker to quickly and effectively check students’ work in a fraction of the time necessary to scan a few suspect papers using a search engine.
Turnitin allows markers to check students' work for poor academic practice; including improper citation, poor research, and potential plagiarism, by comparing it against continuously updated databases.
How Turnitin works
Each course assignment should have a Turnitin activity associated with it.
Upon submission to Turnitin, each student's submission is compared with a 7PB (petabyte) database containing:
- Over 734 million previously submitted student papers - including over half a million submitted by students at Royal Holloway
- Over 62 billion indexed web pages
- Over 165 million academic documents from books and publications
The output of this checking, the ‘Originality Report’, is a visual, numerical and textual indication of the similarities between a submitted piece of work and content stored the Turnitin databases.
A key component of the report is the Originality Index, a figure which indicates the percentage of a submitted text which matches content in the Turnitin databases.
The Originality Report is a portable document which provides markers with the opportunity to teach their students correct citation methods, as well as to check and further investigate the academic integrity of their students’ work.
Turnitin assignment creation, roll-over and archiving
Turnitin assignments are created in Moodle course spaces. In most departments, this is the responsibility of the Departmental Administration team. Creating an Turnitin assignment in Moodle automatically links it to the Turnitin system and databases for originality checking and reporting.
It is highly likely that your course is already using Turnitin, and that your Departmental Administration Team has added Assignment inboxes to the Moodle space. There is generally no further action required to start using Feedback Studio, once the assignments have been submitted.
We recommend that as a marker you:
- Contact your Departmental Administration team to confirm that your courses are using Turnitin
- Contact the E-Learning Team for further information, advice and training
- Visit the 'Using Turnitin Feedback Studio' resource in Moodle for information, demonstrations and helpsheets
- Consult the Turnitin FAQs (in Moodle)
When Moodle courses are rolled over - in Late June - the links to Turnitin assignments are removed. This is because they cannot be re-used with a new cohort, as this can cause licencing, performance, and administration issues.
After Rollover, Moodle courses from the previous year are accessed via the Moodle Archive. Previous Turnitin assignments can be accessed from the archived Moodle course spaces.
Turnitin assignments from previous years can be archived by named Departmental Administrators in Turnitin Native.
"Turnitin does not have access to books"
Technically speaking, Turnitin does not have the ability to read analogue content. It can however access an increasing number of digitised books, and content which has been copied by students from books into essays which are then submitted to the service.
"If I use Turnitin, it will damage the trust between me and my students"
Turnitin does in fact reward hard-working students, of which there are many here, and in a number of ways:
- by validating the originality of their work
- by flagging up content in essays which matches that submitted or published elsewhere so that it is not treated equally to original content
- by protecting and retaining the value of a degree from Royal Holloway, University of London